Simply put, this 2020 Texas Longhorns football season has been defined by 55 minutes of mediocre play followed by Sam Ehlinger’s late-game heroics in effort to win games they don’t deserve to win. That sure isn’t the blueprint for success in college football.
And to think Texas is struggling this much in the fourth year under head coach Tom Herman behind a senior-led team — that says it all.
In order to win Saturday’s game, Texas had to capitalize on the numerous mistakes Spencer Rattler made in the first half. Instead, they failed to take control of a very winnable game and got absolutely dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Yet somehow, thanks to a heroic comeback by Ehlinger, the Longhorns had a chance to win with the ball in their hands.
In the end, deciding to not go-for-two in a game they didn’t deserve to win proved to be costly.
This group wasn’t supposed to regress like this under offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. The offense was lifeless for the majority of this game. Rattler and backup quarterback Tanner Mordecai each had a better quarterback rating than Ehlinger in the first half.
It’s hard to have much success through the air when you’re constantly in third-and-long situations — Texas’ three running backs combined for a whopping 29 yards on 11 carries.
By my count, excluding the final three offensive drives in regulation, the offense averaged 2.2 yards on 1st-and-10 plays. This is all way too familiar to the offensive struggles Texas experienced under Tim Beck last season.
For the second straight week, Chris Ash’s unit did their job in regulation and put themselves in position to win this game. If it weren’t for the ineptitude on offense, this defense would be praised for their effort. Even with their backs against the wall down by 14 points, the defense never gave up and made the necessary stops to give the offense one last chance.
Ossai, Foster, Jamison and Overshown all played their tails off.
Once again, punter Ryan Bujcevski had a disaster of a game. His decision to pump fake a punt cost Texas a touchdown. This season’s special teams play is reminiscent to when Charlie Strong was coaching at Texas. It’s comparable on many levels — blocked punts and kicks, constant holding penalties on returns, poor punt coverage. Remember when Herman constantly emphasized the importance of playing his best athletes on special teams?
The QB1 deserves much, much, much better than this. From willing this team to a Big 12 title game to beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl as a sophomore, you simply couldn’t script a more disappointing finish to Ehlinger’s career at the Cotton Bowl. And he’s the absolute last player to blame for the problems on offense. Poor coaching and line play have done him no favors this season.
Following Red River Rivalry games, Herman’s combined record against remaining conference opponents is 13-9. Texas still has yet to play Kansas State, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State. This season could easily spiral into four or five losses based on the quality of play so far.
What’s next for this program?
There’s been no answer for that question ever since Colt McCoy graduated.
Oh, and to make matters worse. Texas A&M defeated a No. 4-ranked Florida Gators team at home and Mack Brown’s No. 8-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels are currently 3-0. Matt Campbell’s Iowa State Cyclones and Chris Klieman’s Kansas State Wildcats are leading the way in the Big 12 at 3-0.