Texas Football: 4 overreactions from Longhorns’ tough loss to OU

Jaylan Ford, Texas football
Jaylan Ford, Texas football /
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Steve Sarkisian, Texas football
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football /

Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian suffered one of the most heartbreaking defeats in recent memory for this team. Texas couldn’t hold on late in a battle with the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game last weekend, falling by a score of 34-30 on a last-minute game-winning drive from quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

The Longhorns were caught off guard early by an Oklahoma team prepared on both sides of the ball for what Texas had to throw at them. Head coach Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby had ample time to prepare for the Longhorns with the easy early-season schedule.

As a result of Oklahoma’s successful early tactics in this game, the Sooners jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Oklahoma lured redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns into two early turnovers, including a pick on his second passing attempt of the game.

Overreactions from Texas football’s upset loss to Oklahoma in Red River

Texas responded with adjustments to counter Oklahoma’s game plan that pressured Ewers to pick apart the base Sooner coverage. After Sark and the Longhorns averaged just 3.6 yards per play on 18 plays in the first quarter, it averaged over six yards per play in each of the final three quarters.

But the defense had issues shutting down Gabriel and the Sooners on multiple drives. Texas allowed Gabriel to rush for over 100 yards and one rushing score. Oklahoma converted when it mattered late in this game, namely when Gabriel led the Sooners down the field for the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

Here are four overreactions from the Longhorns’ 34-30 loss to Oklahoma in Red River on Oct. 7.

Texas’ defense is doomed against dual-threat quarterbacks for the rest of the season

While Texas’ offense made the necessary adjustments to keep this game close after the first quarter, Texas’ defense didn’t have the same fortune down the stretch. Oklahoma’s offense took advantage of the threat of Gabriel using his legs as a weapon to beat the Texas defensive front as the game wore on.

Gabriel’s dual-threat ability proved to be the difference in this game, amassing over 400 total yards and two total touchdowns with no turnovers.

Texas’ defense looked vulnerable against a capable dual-threat quarterback, who helped the Sooners put up nearly 500 total yards of offense, 28 first downs, and six yards per play. This is the first time this season the Longhorns allowed over 400 total yards, 20 first downs, and six yards per play against the Sooners.

Pete Kwiatkowski and the Texas defensive staff planned to beat the Oklahoma offense by forcing the Sooners to run the ball and work the short and intermediate passing game to move the ball down the field. And that’s exactly what Gabriel and the Sooners did to wear down this Texas defensive front.

PK and the Longhorns have work to do to figure out the defensive issues against dual-threat quarterbacks. Multiple remaining opponents on the schedule in the second half of the season boast dual-threat quarterbacks, including Texas’ next opposition out of the bye week in Donovan Smith and the Houston Cougars.