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Initial thoughts from No. 21 Texas’ 55-48 collapse vs. No. 6 Oklahoma

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Disclaimer: This was a bad loss, and the takeaways are just as bad.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas looked great, then looked horrible.

I have a few (probably reactionary) thought from the Texas Longhorns 55-48 Red River Showdown loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Texas collapsed. There’s no other way to put it. This was a game that swung entirely in Texas’ favor early. Save for the officials aiding Oklahoma to an early score, quite literally everything was going Texas’ way en route to a 28-7 lead. And even as OU chipped away at a bit of that momentum, Texas entered the half with a fairly comfortable 18-point halftime lead.

Then OU made a quarterback change at halftime, Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense absolutely couldn’t adjust, allowing Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma offense to score 35 second-half points to total 54 points and 662 yards of offense, which is almost entirely unwinnable in any game in sports history. To be sure, Steve Sarkisian’s offense didn’t help matter’s much in the second half, as the offensive line simply looked bad and allowed Oklahoma to completely swarm the line of scrimmage, limiting Texas to just 10 second-half points. But 48 points and 516 yards of offense usually should be enough to win a game.

In any case, this was a very bad loss for Texas.

And it wasn’t just that Texas lost to the No. 6 team in the country. That’s not the issue.

Texas should have won this game quite easily. Save for a couple Spencer Rattler turnovers that likely gave way to the Caleb Williams era, the Texas defense was nearly non-existent and couldn’t come up with a single late stop that could have altered the outcome, and behind an offensive line that was completely overmatched, Sark’s offense mostly stalled.

Long story short, this should have been a comfortable Texas win, but instead, it’s another bad loss.

Pete Kwiatkowski needs to do better. As noted about, his defense was next to non-existent in the second half and gave up one critical score after another, including the game-winning touchdown run on a drive that his defense could have salvaged a horrible showing and forced overtime. Instead, his defense gave up big play after big play, allowing Oklahoma to rush for 339 yards and four touchdowns, which highlights a clear deficiency in his scheme as teams have been able to gash Texas on the ground all year long. Again, 48 points and 516 yards should be enough to win a game, but not when your defense allows 54 and nearly 700 yards of offense.

Can Texas respond? To me, that’s the biggest question at this point. Texas has now played two truly big games — one ended with an embarrassing blowout loss and the other ended in an embarrassing collapse. Now, Texas looks ahead to games against a ranked foe against No. 12 Oklahoma State and what will soon be a ranked Baylor squad. If Sark’s team can learn from this loss and put it in the rearview, they’ll be fine, but this is the kind of loss that can be difficult to recover from, and if Texas doesn’t, those losses could add up quickly.