Another road game, another loss for the Texas Longhorns under head coach Charlie Strong. Another heartbreaking loss that looked too much like 2015 with the 50-43 defeat.
Here’s three thoughts on the defeat:
The Texas defense missed the flight to Berkeley
It was no secret that Cal was going to attack Texas through the air a lot, and it did, with virtually no resistance from the guys wearing white and burnt orange.
We knew Davis Webb-to-Chad Hansen was a duo that had to be stopped, yet they connected 12 times for 196 yards and two scores to headline 396 yards of offense through the air for Cal.
Busted coverages and arriving to plays a step too slow were commonplace for the 'Horns on a night in which the Golden Bears often appeared to be competing against a practice squad secondary.
Yes, the Texas secondary is full of youth, but Cal's ability to exploit exactly what the Longhorns knew was coming isn't good.
What seemed even more concerning was while Cal rushed 40 times for only 111 yards, it seemed the majority of Cal's runs came in short yardage situations and the Bears were able to impose their will to keep Texas' defense on the field, which obviously proved to be a nightmare.
In short, the pass coverage was atrocious without much help from the pass rush and the front seven couldn't make stops in key moments. Now slated to enter the Big 12 schedule following a bye week, things need to improve and in a hurry on the defensive side of the ball before the Longhorns end up on the wrong side of a few more shootouts.
Shane Buechele is mortal, after all
After his first two impressive outings had placed the true freshman in elite company, we learned Saturday night/Sunday morning that Shane Buechele is, in fact, human.
As noted, he's a true freshman and that was evident at times throughout the night, though it's unclear how much of that may or may not have been due to any lingering effects from the hit that sent him to the locker room in the first quarter.
Buechele completed only 19-of-33 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown and an interception, which could have easily been two or three picks.
And without giving way to excuse, it's hard to place much blame on the 18 year old — he still quarterbacked an offense that put up 43 points, which is typically enough to win a game, while being forced to make decisions while folks like myself are exhausted just watching the game.
Texas still has work to do in closing out beatable opponents
This was a reoccurring theme in 2015 — just look at Cal's 45-44 victory over Texas in Austin last season.
The 'Horns had opportunities to win this game, or at least put themselves in position to win down the stretch and just weren't able to capitalize. The seemingly countless defensive breakdowns after taking leads, crucial penalties throughout, the inability to recover a forced fumble on a kickoff during the final drive that could have essentially sealed the deal for Texas, along with being unable to even get a first down with an opportunity to regain the lead followed by giving way to Cal's offense once again.
For as frustrating as the defense was at times, and even offense, especially during the third quarter, Texas had plenty opportunities to take control of the game and fell just short too many times.
Considering that the Longhorns will likely experience a few shootouts like Saturday night once conference play begins, there's much to improve upon and learn from going forward.