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Still unable to get over the hump, Texas must turn close losses into victories

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A close loss against the Oklahoma Sooners puts Texas at .500 on the season and desperate for a big time win.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns lost another heartbreaker against a top-tier opponent this past Saturday as they fell 29-24 to their arch-rival Oklahoma Sooners.

A slow start put the ‘Horns down into a 20-0 hole, tasked with the challenge of climbing out of it the rest of the game. An impressive comeback fell short, but the team certainly took a step in the right direction. The fight and effort while facing adversity was in full effect but the ability to finish just isn’t quite there yet.

Texas is now 3-3 (2-1 Big 12) with two gut-wrenching losses against then-No. 4 USC and Oklahoma — a pair of programs that still house College Football Playoff hopes.

A brutal start coped with questionable coaching decisions and busts in coverage led to the loss on Saturday. The same problems that have haunted Texas football in the past.

It’s the little things.

Take the points. Yet again, the decision to go for it while in field goal territory ended up hurting Texas in the end. Of course, it’s not a guarantee that Joshua Rowland hits the field goal, but at least give him a chance, especially considering how Herman raves of Rowland’s consistency in practice settings.

Herman and the rest of the staff have to learn from these costly mistakes.

Oklahoma exploited a very solid Texas defense with multiple big plays down the field. This was quite uncharacteristic considering how exceptional the defense has been since the Maryland game, but all things considered, Oklahoma does boast one of the best offenses in the nation. That’s how it’s going to be playing in the Big 12 against explosive offenses with several more still to come.

The ability to bend and not break to force field goals was a major positive. The bend-don’t-break method doesn’t always work, but with the Texas’ offense struggling in the first half, it was crucial.

Offensively, Texas simply must be more efficient and consistent. It’s essential to success in the Big 12.

The run game still looks very abysmal outside of Ehlinger, but the success on screen passes to the running backs was great to see. Tim Beck and the offense can build on that.

There were plenty of both, negatives and positives on Saturday, but the progress made from from Week 1 to now has been immense. Going forward, though, the close losses against good teams must turn into close victories as the season goes on.

It doesn’t get easy from here on out. Texas hosts No. 10 Oklahoma State next Saturday. Oklahoma State’s offense is just as good as Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Justice Hill and company pose another major test for this Texas defense.

There’s little margin for error if Texas wants to have a shot at the Big 12 championship, and even a simple bowl berth, which has eluded the Longhorns for the past two seasons. With Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech still looming on the schedule, it may seem like a long shot. But, this team certainly has the ability to win every single one of those games. They just just have to put it all together.

Want some major optimism heading into the week ahead?

As Sooner fans chanted “Texas sucks” while the Longhorns walked off the field of the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, Sam Ehlinger held the ‘Horns up high and proud heading back into the locker room.

The future is quite bright with this young man at the helm for the next three-to-four years.

Junior defensive end Charles Omenihu also had some encouraging words after the loss.