Say what you want about the Longhorns' last TD (fumble?) of the game.
That is NOT why Oklahoma State lost this game.
I could wax poetic about stats, but that would leave you (and me) really empty, just like Arizona. Once again, we were the better team in many respects, but the failures were crucial and, in the end, fatal.
Brown and Gilbert are quickly finding out that hype doesn't make plays on the field.
Bill Young's "play just far enough off on 3rd down to let them move the chains but don't give up the big play" defense did exactly that.
Just to revisite some predictions...
- Score...41-38 Texas;
- A lot of Ash bashing will likely guarantee that he'll look like a Heisman candidate against us;
- If I'm a Texas fan, I would be concerned about big plays;
- Our offense should be able to move the ball;
- Our defense will have a hard time getting off the field and will get physically pounded;
- Gilbert & Brown will get singled up a lot as the OSU defense tries to contain the UT running game;
- Texas averages 33 minutes of possession, and 10 possessions per game. Expect those to go up because of OSU's pace of play...(36/11)
Hate to say I told ya so...
Ok, I said I wasn't going to wax poetic about stats....I lied...
Both teams had 11 full drives (not counting UT end of half & OSU end of game)
- OSU scored on 7 of 11 (4 TD's, 3 FG's)
- OSU scored on every possession in the 2nd half
- OSU's non-scoring drives...INT/PUNT/PUNT/MISSED FG
- OSU had 4 scoring drives of 7 or more plays...3 of 4 were FG's
- UT scored on 6 of 11 drives (6 TD's);
- UT's non-scoring drives...PUNT/PUNT/PUNT/INT/PUNT
- UT went 4 consecutive drives w/o scoring to end 1st and start 2 half;
- UT had 7 drives of 7 or more plays, and 3 of those were scoreless
- OSU ran 69 plays for 576 yards (8.4 per play)
- UT ran 82 plays for 440 yards (5.4 per play)
Before I set about bashing the defense over the head, I just want to add that the offense also contributed to the loss.
- 3 FG's (1 of these came inside the UT 10 following 3 conservative play calls after a 1st and 10 at the UT 13)
- The 1 missed FG (53 yds) came when a good looking drive went south after lousy 2nd & 3rd down plays resulted in adding 5 yards to the attempt;
- The interception...and I still put this on Jackson. That kind of receiver doesn't let smaller DB's cut in front of him for the pick;
- The play calling. Gundy and Monken have continually said that, while they will try to work towards Walsh's strengths, they are going to run the offense. Well guess what...after the interception, one or both blinked, because the next 5 plays were rushes, and resulted in a punt. On the drive after that, Walsh throws nothing but passes, and we get a TD on 3 plays.
Now for the punching bag...
I don't think I am alone when I say that I am sick and tired of soft coverage on 3rd downs. It seems like everyone on the field is aware of where the first down markers are EXCEPT our DB's. I know OSU is green at safety, and also at the backup spots for the corners. But last I checked Gilbert and Brown were supposed to be two of the best in the country. I don't think they are quite that good, but I'll go out on a limb and say they would have a good shot of starting at West Virginia or Baylor. Without going back through the tape, I think they got beat on all but one throw when singled up. In fact, Gilbert did his best impression of an Ole Miss DB when the "lob" finally came. If I didn't know any better, I would think our secondary is experimenting with some new fangled "stealth" pass coverage.
Who woulda thought that the defensive line, long the whipping boys of teams like Texas, would absolutely dominate. Calvin Barnett and James Castleman have effectively forced teams outside, and until we got tired and started missing tackles in the 4th quarter, the LB's were fantastic in shooting the gaps and staying home on the sweeps and reverses. Ash's scrambling was contained all night. The Longhorns had less than 90 yards rushing through 3 quarters. They ended up with 42 carries for 136 yards...that's 3.2 yards per carry. That's good.
I will again give credit where it is due...David Ash should get the game ball for the Longhorns. He only had three "bad" plays...the INT, the intentional grounding, and an errant pass that, if our DB is looking up instead of looking at the receiver, would have been another pick. Otherwise, in the critical moments, he threw balls on the money. The 4th down pass on the last drive was one of the best pressure throws I've seen. If he continues to operate that efficiently, Texas will be tough to handle, as the Longhorns just faced one of the best run defenses in the Big 12. Anyone else think West Virginia is holding UT to under 100 yards rushing for 3 quarters? OU? Baylor? And if anyone says Texas Tech, we will have your flogged for stupidity. The Red Raiders stance as a top defense in the country is about as legit as beating an opponent on a bye week...or Savannah State...
On the other hand, I am definitely NOT giving a Texas game ball to Manny Diaz. Enough with the excuses. Last year it was the new system and understanding where to be. This year it is young players understanding where to be...AND tackling. Good God. Tackling is teachable. He's got the talent, now it's time to do what was expected when he came over from Miss State. The Cowboys pummeled the Longhorn defense and produced a number of big plays. I should do my analysis again of how many plays they gave up over 20 and 40 yards. You would think the Texas defense would have at least stopped or slowed down one part of the OSU offense...it did neither. D.J. Morgan, our secondary, and David Ash bailed the Longhorn D out.
And after all that, after all the knashing of teeth over a close one we let get away, DON'T FOR ONE SECOND BLAME THE REFS.
If you are going to leave it up to them, they will screw it up sometimes. Would we have benefited from that review going our way...of course, but I said right away there wasn't enough to overturn the call, and the key is the word definitive. Did UT fumble...yes. Had the ball already crossed the goal line...I think we all KNOW it didn't, but the replay angles weren't good enough...REAL close, but not good enough. The call on the field is all important, and anything the refs called would have been confirmed, whether TD, down at the 1, or fumble. That's only a 1 out of 3 chance for us. That is not THE reason we lost.
OSU had ample opportunity to not only win, but win by a couple of scores. Take away the Walsh INT that led to a TD (although the D gets some of the credit) and the KO return, and OSU could have won by at least a TD. I'll say right now that if you think there is a better overall offense in the Big 12, please, attempt to persuade me.
So here we are, after 4 games, with the worst case scenario record...2-2...and a LOT of season left. While OSU now will need a little help to defend (that is not unreasonable to believe in)...and I think we will all be fans of whoever Texas is playing, at least for the time being...they will also need to get the secondary figured out. Somebody back there needs to either wake up or grow up, or both.
Because those guys hold the keys. Pick the right one, and this team can run the table, no problem. Pick the wrong one, and we could just as easily have a losing season.
Which will it be, boys...5-7, or 10-2.
It's up to you.