The Longhorns are riding a three-game winning streak as they seek to end a rough 1-5 start in true road games under head coach Steve Sarkisian while the Cowboys try to bounce back from a double-overtime defeat by the Horned Frogs last week in Fort Worth.
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The injury report for Oklahoma State is a lengthy one:
#OKState will be without...— Cody Nagel (@CodyNagel247) October 22, 2022
Jaden Bray (WR)
Braydon Johnson (WR)
Thomas Harper (DB)
Preston Wilson (OL)
Brock Martin (DE)
Brendon Evers (DT)
... against Texas, Dave Hunziker on the Cowboy Sports Network.
Braydon Johnson, a senior, is the leading wide receiver for the Pokes with 20 catches for 398 yards and three touchdowns while Preston Wilson is the starting center who entered the season with 12 starts over the previous two seasons. The losses on defense are significant, too — Thomas Harper is one of the starters at safety and has an interception this season, Brenden Evers is a starter at defensive tackle, and Brock Martin starts at the hybrid Leo position and has five tackles for loss, three sacks, and seven quarterback hurries this season.
Quarterback Spencer Sanders was named as a captain by head coach Mike Gundy and is expected to play, but is likely to be less than 100 percent because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.
Robert Allen with some big news on the radio broadcast: Spencer Sanders practiced this week, which he says “is an improvement on what we’ve seen”. Also says Preston Wilson is suited up and will try to play. Wearing a brace on his foot and will test it out.— Carson Cunningham (@Carson_OKC) October 22, 2022
After Oklahoma State won the toss and deferred, Texas redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers sailed a 3rd and 6 pass that was intercepted by Cowboys cornerback Jason Taylor.
On the sudden change, the Longhorns inflicted a tackle for loss on first down when the Pokes tried to run a running back screen and then forced two incomplete passes. But after Texas declined a holding penalty on third down, Oklahoma State was able to connect on a 48-yard field goal.
With Ewers off target on his first two passes, junior running back Bijan Robinson moved the chains on the first play of the second Texas drive. A screen pass to junior running back Keilan Robinson moved the chains again before Ewers missed high on another throw. Behind a strong block from sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, Bijan Robinson ran through an arm tackle for a 42-yard touchdown run.
Oklahoma State picked up a first down on a pass-interference penalty on Texas cornerback Ryan Watts before Sanders completed a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Bryson Green on 3rd and 9 for the first chunk play by the Cowboys. Two offside penalties on the Longhorns moved the ball deep into the red zone, setting up 1st and goal inside the 10-yard line. On second down, Dominic Richardson scored on a four-yard touchdown run.
Texas went three and out on its third drive, but the ensuing punt was ruled to hit the Oklahoma State punt returner’s leg and the Longhorns recovered. On replay, the call on the field stood, giving Texas the ball on the Oklahoma State 35-yard line. Three runs by Robinson only gained seven yards, setting up an attempted fourth-down conversion by the Horns that failed.
But the Texas defense came out with a third-down stop when safety Jerrin Thompson made a strong break on the football to knock down a pass from Sanders to force the punt. A 25-yard punt return by sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy once again afforded the Longhorns strong field position, this time near midfield. Under heavy pressure and taking a hit on the throw, Ewers delivered a 30-yard strike to Worthy, followed by a 13-yard run from senior running back Roshon Johnson to set up 1st and goal. A false start by the Longhorns put Texas behind the chains, but Sarkisian dialed up a big-time play call on a return motion pass to Worthy behind the line of scrimmage that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown behind an impressive block from Robinson.
The Longhorns were able to get off the field on third and long, but lost the field position battle when junior safety Jerrin Thompson dropped a potential interception that hit him in the hands. A seven-yard run by Robinson and a 23-yard catch by junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington flipped the field, but the drive stalled following three incomplete passes.
With Oklahoma State pinned deep following a 52-yard punt by senior Daniel Trejo, two passes produced 18 yards. On a 3rd and 2, Texas forced its sixth fumble of the season, but weren’t able to recover it for the fifth time. The next set of downs, however, forced a punt by the Pokes and sophomore safety Morice Blackwell came up with the punt b lock to give the Longhorns excellent field position.
Texas quickly took advantage on a rail route to Robinson, who scored on a 41-yard touchdown catch to give the Longhorns some separation at 21-10.
That's now ✌️ touchdowns on the day for Bijan Robinson— BetMGM (@BetMGM) October 22, 2022
Texas (-6.5) leads Oklahoma State, 24-17, in the 2nd quarter pic.twitter.com/ZHzPYwbBYr
Texas had trouble tackling Sanders on the ensuing drive with senior safety Anthony Cook picking up a targeting penalty on the second long scramble by Sanders. On review, the targeting call was overturned, allowing Cook to stay in the game, but the unnecessary roughness stood. A 20-yard screen pass to Brennan Presley set up another short touchdown run by Richardson to cut the Texas lead to 21-17.
When Keilan Robinson returned the kickoff 38 yards, the Horns started with strong field position and Bijan Robinson helped capitalize on the first play with a 15-yard run through another big hole. An unblocked blitzer helped save a Texas touchdown when Ewers had to deliver a throw early that missed Worthy long, but a 32-yard screen pass to freshman wide receiver Brenen Thompson — his first catch in college — moved the Longhorns into the red zone. When Robinson lost two yards and sophomore tight end Andrej Karic had a false start, Texas got behind the chains, exacerbated by a miscommunication between Ewers and Worthy on second down and another false start. A short gain on a screen pass set up a field-goal attempt by redshirt freshman Bert Auburn, who hit from 37 yards.
With Oklahoma State driving thanks to a 25-yard catch by Stephon Johnson and a pass interference penalty on Texas, junior cornerback Ryan Watts was finally able to get his head around and find the football while in phase, intercepting a pass in the end zone, his first pick with the Longhorns.
After two more misfires from Ewers, Sanders came up with a huge catch on 3rd and 10 in traffic to move the chains and Johnson finished the drive with a 52-yard touchdown, a huge play for the Longhorns to take a 31-17 lead.
A 51-yard run by Jaden Nixon set up another short touchdown run from Richardson following a pass interference penalty on Texas junior cornerback Jahdae Barron. When Texas couldn’t pick up a first down, Oklahoma State got the ball back with 1:49 remaining and was able to move the football in small increments past midfield and then into Texas territory, but some poor clock management almost resulted in an interception and ran the clock down towards 10 seconds remaining. With three seconds left, Tanner Brown lost his streak of consecutive made field goals at 16 with a miss from 48 yards.
Following big hits from Johnson and redshirt freshman safety Michael Taaaffe on the opening kickoff, junior linebacker Jaylan Ford notched his second sack of the season on third and long to force a punt and give the Longhorns good field position.
Aided by another Ewers overthrow, however, Oklahoma State picked up a sack of their own on third down. And despite a questionable pass interference call on Longhorns senior cornerback D’Shawn Jamison, heavy pressure from senior nose tackle Keondre Coburn forced an incompletion from Sanders and a punt by the Cowboys.
Once again, the Texas offense stalled thanks to incompletions by Ewers, punting after three plays. Oklahoma State was able to move the chains once, then chose to punt on 4th and 5 in opposing territory, ultimately failing to net much yardage following a touchback.
A 27-yard gain by Worthy on a shallow cross started the drive for the Horns, but two runs by Robinson netted zero yards and Ewers had another incomplete pass on third down. The punt by Trejo put Oklahoma State in trouble at their own 1-yard line before two runs produced six yards and Texas forced a punt after Sanders had to strain to corral a poor snap and was hit behind the line of scrimmage.
Worthy returned the punt 29 yards, setting the Longhorns up at the 20-yard line. The first run by Robinson gained four yards, but the second only produced one yard and Ewers misfired on third down, forcing a 33-yard field goal from Auburn.
Poor coverage from Barron produced a 36-yard gain by gain before freshman nickel back Jaylon Guilbeau missed a potential interception on a throw impacted by a hit on Sanders, ultimately resulting in a 40-yard field goal.
When Texas went three and out gain, Oklahoma State converted a 3rd and 8 and a 3rd and 9, moving into the Longhorns red zone. A failed trick play resulted in a five-yard loss, but Sanders found Presley for a 10-yard touchdown on the next play.
A tough run by Robinson picked up 11 yards to start the drive, but a two-yard run and a throw away forced a 3rd and 8 and the third-down pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage. When Trejo shanked the punt for 23 yards, the Cowboys were in strong field position with the momentum, but the Longhorns defense responded with a three and out.
Ewers opened the key drive for Texas by connecting with senior tight end Jahleel Billingsley on his first catch with the Longhorns and Robinson gained 22 yards on his two ensuing carries. On 3rd and 7, Worthy couldn’t quite maintain his footing on a play that should have been a touchdown and Auburn badly missed a 46-yard field goal.
Another third-down conversion for the Cowboys came over the middle, the only place where Sanders had the arm strength to complete passes, and resulted in an injury sustained by Guilbeau. When Jamison missed a tackle on a slant by Green and Ford and Thompson both stopped on the play, the Oklahoma State wide receiver went 41 yards for a huge touchdown.
A holding penalty on senior right tackle Christian Jones negated a 33-yard scramble by Ewers and put the Longhorns well behind the chains on a key drive. Sanders picked up 18 yards over the middle to set up a fourth-down attempt derailed by a false start penalty on Sanders that negated a potential pick six by the Cowboys. Now at 4th and 8, Ewers did throw an interception on a lofted pass intended for Robinson.
Texas was able to get the ball back late without any timeouts. Ewers connected with senior wide receiver Tarique Milton and Sanders to move the football. On a 3rd and 15, Sanders caught another pass to move the chains, but the next pass went off his hands and was intercepted to effectively end the game with eight seconds left.
In the Longhorns loss, the Cowboys scored 21 of the final 24 points.