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Texas Longhorns Football

The good, the bad, and other thoughts from thrilling win over Oklahoma State

Photo: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

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It was a big night for the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 opener at home against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Sep. 21. An undefeated Oklahoma State team that had momentum made their way onto the Forty Acres over the weekend. But the Longhorns were able to stop them in their tracks. Head coach Tom Herman was also able to halt a four-game losing skid for Texas to head coach Mike Gundy and the Pokes.

Texas entered this game with a record of 2-1 and coming off of a 48-13 win over the Rice Owls. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State entered with a 3-0 record, coming off a win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Week 3. Now each team holds a 3-1 record, and could be trending in very different directions.

Herman was 2-0 in Big 12 openers in his initial two years coaching the Longhorns. He extended his undefeated record against a team Texas hadn’t beat at home since 2008. Texas is now in a position to potentially make their way back into the top 10 by the time the Red River Showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners arrives on Oct. 12.

For now, the Longhorns should be proud of snapping the losing streak to the Pokes both at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and in the past four meetings in general. They finally got the Oklahoma State monkey off their back and can carry more confidence through the thick of conference play.

Here’s a deeper look into the good, the bad, and the most interesting moments from the Longhorns 36-30 win on Saturday night over Oklahoma State.

The Good

Sam Ehlinger in clutch time

This is a broad subject to cover since junior star quarterback Sam Ehlinger is already having a huge season. But this is one of the better moments in Big 12 play for Ehlinger that we’ve seen when he sealed the victory for the Longhorns late in the fourth quarter. His scramble for 29-yards on a third and long with less than two minutes to go was crucial to locking up the win.

Battle in the trenches

This is another broad point, but one worth noting for Texas. On both sides of the ball, the Longhorns were a force to be reckoned with. Sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram rushed for more than 110 yards while averaging well over five yards per carry. Ehlinger and freshman Roschon Johnson then combined for another 100 rushing yards and one score.

Oklahoma State couldn’t get much of anything going for the nation’s leading rusher coming into Week 4, redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard. The front seven played well, limiting Hubbard to an average of 3.3 yards per carry on a whopping 37 attempts.

The Bad

Lack of pass rush

This is either a mark on the Longhorns defense or on the elusiveness and raw athleticism of Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders, but he wasn’t contained much. Sanders was the most efficient rusher for the Pokes with more than 100 yards on the ground and one score.

He was sacked twice, but there were plays that he had three or four seconds minimum to go through all of his reads before eventually escaping the pocket when nothing was open.

Special teams

Both teams had fluky plays that had an impact on the outcome of the game. From the horrible fake field goal try from the Cowboys to the muffed punts from the Longhorns, special teams wasn’t a strong suit for either team. The fumbled punts from Brandon Jones and Jake Smith set up two quick Oklahoma State scores and made this one a close game late.

Other Thoughts

Very special atmosphere

DKR had one of the better home crowds we’ve seen in the last five or six years for a Big 12 game against an unranked opponent. The stadium sold out and presented the Pokes with a very raucous atmosphere in Austin. This was the second prime-time nationally televised game with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit on campus in the last three weeks.

The Journey moment late in the game with all the lights out was amazing, per usual.

Tom Herman’s antics

Herman is becoming well-known for his antics against Oklahoma State and Gundy. Last year, it was running onto the field when Breckyn Hager tried to charge Oklahoma State when they were lining up in victory formation.

This year, it was an overly excited celebration on a third-down stop early in the first half. But if it gets the team going and it wins him games, more power to him.

That was among a couple other interesting moments for Herman.

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