For the second time in as many weeks, Texas has suffered a demoralizing defeat at the hands of an Oklahoma team.
And, also for the second time in as many weeks, said loss came after the Longhorns jumped out to a significant lead.
No. 25 Texas lost 32-24 to No. 12 Oklahoma State on Saturday — a loss made worse considering the Longhorns enjoyed a commanding 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Following that, however, the Cowboys outscored the Longhorns 29-7. That includes a 16-0 fourth-quarter advantage that was part of four straight unanswered scoring drives to end the game.
Texas’ loss follows a similarly disheartening outcome against Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown. There, the Longhorns jumped out to a 14-0 lead in two minutes of play before lengthening that lead to 28-7 at the end of the first quarter. But the Sooners, spurred by backup quarterback Caleb Williams, completed the largest comeback in the history of the rivalry en route to a 55-48 win, capped with a last-second go-ahead touchdown.
Following Texas’ loss to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns fell to 4-3 on the season. That not only knocks them out of the top 25, but also likely eliminates them from Big 12 championship contention.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said following Saturday’s game that his team “lost our focus” and that moving forward they needed to stay aggressive, even with a large lead.
“We can’t play trying to hold on, and I think that we do that,” Sarkisian said.
With that, Sporting News breaks down how Texas blew big leads in consecutive weeks, eliminating itself from the top 25, College Football Playoff contention and Big 12 championship:
The events surrounding Texas’ loss to Oklahoma in the 2021 Red River Showdown are well documented. Starting Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler committed two turnovers against the Longhorns, both of which resulted in Texas touchdowns.
Following the second of those touchdowns — which gave the Longhorns a 35-17 lead — Williams took over at quarterback, leading the Sooners to a field goal to end the half. Prior to taking over as the starter, however, he also sparked the comeback with a 66-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 to make the score 28-14.
In the second half, Texas was outscored 35-10 by the Sooners. Oklahoma finally tied the game at 41-41 with 7:25 remaining in the game after an incredible toe-tapping, 52-yard touchdown by Marvin Mims. Rattler also came on to attempt the successful 2-point conversion. A fumble by receiver Xavier Worthy on the ensuing kickoff immediately led to an Oklahoma go-ahead touchdown by Kennedy Brooks. Texas managed to score one final time to tie the game at 48-48, but surrendered a last-second 33-yard touchdown by Brooks to ultimately fall 55-48.
Texas dominated in the early goings against the Cowboys, forcing three punts and an interception on six Oklahoma State drives. But Casey Thompson threw an interception returned 75 yards for a touchdown by Jason Taylor II with 5:13 left in the half. That allowed Gundy’s squad back into the game at 17-10:
Texas went three-and-out on its next drive while Oklahoma State scored on a field goal to end the half. It was all downhill from there for Texas, which was outscored 19-3 in the second half of the losing effort. Bijan Robinson got the Longhorns on the board for the final time, taking it in from 38 yards out to give his team a 24-13 lead. Texas finished the game with four straight three-and-outs, a turnover on downs and an interception.
Conversely, Oklahoma State scored on a field goal on its third drive of the half. Following that, the Cowboys had three straight scoring drives to take the lead: a Brennan Presley 7-yard pass from Spencer Sanders, a Tanner Brown 29-yard field goal and a Sanders 10-yard run to give the game its final 32-24 score.
Texas’ fate was sealed following an interception by Thompson with 1:57 left to play. It burned two timeouts on the Cowboys’ final drive, but an 8-yard run on third-and-6 allowed them to run the clock out.