Malcolm Brown scored the lone touchdown for the Longhorns on Saturday.
AUSTIN, Texas – Instead of Saturday being an afternoon where the Texas Longhorns could bask in the glow of a seventh-straight win, the gray skies surrounding the city during the team's 38-13 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys represented the darkness that's now settled over the program.
Gone is the chance for the Longhorns (7-3, 6-1) to win the conference championship outright. All but gone is the chance the Longhorns will play in a BCS bowl.
And the 25-point loss – Mack Brown's worst home defeat ever and the program's worst since the 34-12 drubbing at the hands of UCLA – won't do anything to quiet the folks who feel like Mack should be gone as the Longhorns head coach.
Things that the Longhorns had done so well during the six-game winning streak that pumped new life into the team failed them on this day.
Case McCoy, who had avoided the big mistake since taking over for David Ash for good in the second half of the Kansas State, threw three interceptions. Two of them were critical and led directly to points for the Cowboys (9-1, 6-1).
“No,” McCoy said when asked if he was surprised the Longhorns lost. “When your quarterback goes out and throws three picks you're not going to win a ball game. That's on me.”
McCoy's first interception of the day was the most critical.
The Longhorns trailed, 14-10, with 3:39 to go in the first half after a seven-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Brown. The Cowboys then used great field position after a questionable decision by the Texas coaches to squib kick the ball to drive 67 yards in six plays, ending the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Clint Chelf to Tracy Moore.
That's when McCoy, with time winding down in the second quarter, threw the ball into the Texas boundary only for the ball to find the waiting hands of Justin Gilbert. The senior cornerback made the easy theft and dashed 43 yards for the score to put the Cowboys ahead at halftime, 28-10.
McCoy's second interception of the day, this one by Cowboys' linebacker Caleb Lavey, was followed one play later with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chelf to Charlie Moore. Moore was pushed out of bounds by Duke Thomas but made a heads-up play to stay on his route and make the grab in the end zone for a 38-13 advantage for the Pokes.
The defense, which had been lights out for weeks after looking like hot garbage through the first three games of the season, was unable to get to Chelf or impose their will on him in any way. After piling up 24 sacks in its six previous wins the Longhorns failed to record a single takedown of Chelf behind the line of scrimmage while Chelf accounted for four touchdowns, throwing for 197 yards and rushing for 95.
“We didn't play well at all in the first half. We really didn't,” Greg Robinson said of his defense. “That team took advantage of it. I have to give them credit. They made their things work and we didn't react properly.”
The Longhorns only lost the rushing battle by 32 yards with Malcolm Brown's 73 yards on 25 carries leading the way for Texas. Joe Bergeron rushed for 49 yards on ten carries. But the turnovers were the theme of the day for the Texas offense.
"I was forcing things," McCoy said. "No doubt about it."
It all added up to the Longhorns suffering a loss that – depending on what happens in the Baylor-Texas Tech game tonight and the Oklahoma State-Baylor battle next week – means the Longhorns have to win out to think about having any shot at the Big 12 title.
“They won in about every way you can win,” Mack said. “Very disappointing night. All we can do is go play Texas Tech, beat Texas Tech and Baylor and go win the Big 12 title.”