In coming up with descriptors for the Texas Longhorns getting shut out by the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames on Saturday night, embarrassing would seem like an apt choice.
Not so for head coach Charlie Strong, who doesn't believe the term applies to the underwhelming effort:
But playing hard probably isn't enough to avoid describing the loss as an embarrassment. Is it not embarrassing to go 2-of-13 on third down? To give up 15 third-down conversions in 24 attempts? To see the Cyclones more than double the offensive output by the Longhorns, all while possessing the ball for nearly twice as long?
Is it not embarrassing that Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads admitted after the game that the Cyclones probably shouldn't beat the Longhorns?
"I don't know how this comes across," Roads said after the game, "but I'll say it anyway. We shouldn't beat Texas, probably. We shouldn't beat Texas, probably. Every kid that they recruit, if I go recruit them, I'm not going to get them. I'm not going to get them. But we did (beat Texas). And we have twice because the program is moving in the right direction."
Certainly, Iowa State doesn't represent a recruiting competitor for Texas with only two consensus four-star prospects on the roster. And the Cyclones are also a perennial underdog against a program it had beaten only once heading into Saturday's game, which was the first win for Iowa State over Texas at Jack Trice Stadium.
Strong's comment prompted some follow-up questions for the players during Monday's media availabilities and junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway seemed rather taken aback by his head coach's statement:
Told that Strong didn't think the Iowa State was an embarrassment, DT Hassan Ridgeway said, "He said it wasn't?"— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) November 2, 2015
Senior running back Johnathan Gray flat-out disagreed:
Gray: "It was a huge embarrassment. We went out there and laid an egg...it was an embarrassment to us and to this organization."— Ricky Doyle (@RickyDoyle) November 2, 2015
What happened, according to Gray?
Johnathan Gray on how Saturday happened: " I think we took that team for granted. It's Iowa State. We felt we had a better team."— Bob Ballou (@KEYESportsBob) November 2, 2015
For a team that had already been blown out twice this year and nearly shut out on both occassions, taking the Iowa State game lightly is an embarrassment in and of itself, not to mention inexcusable. Texas simply isn't good enough to adopt that attitude.
Strong has been better with the media than some suggusted he would be after his hire and hasn't taken a lot of criticism for his unpolished moments, but as the bad losses pile up, he has to be more precise with his word choice.
As a handful of poor performances over the last two years serve as strong competition for the worst loss of the Charlie Strong era in Austin, getting shut out by a program that admittedly shouldn't be able to beat Texas arguably serves as the new low point.
And there's only one way to describe a game like that -- as an embarrassment.