That the free-falling Texas Longhorns fell even further — maybe to rock-bottom — by losing to Kansas shouldn’t have come as too big a surprise. It was that kind of day around the Big 12, coming after Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff hopes were seemingly dashed in Waco and Texas Tech downed Iowa State on a 62-yard field goal.
Let’s face it. Texas, which was a 31-point favorite, lost 57-56 to the 1-8 Jayhawks, who now are the 2-8 Jayhawks and wishing this one had been played in Lawrence so they could take down a goal post. It would have made sense, considering this season already has the 2016 smell and is not yet Thanksgiving.
This was the Longhorns’ fifth straight loss, and it came in frustrating, heartbreaking fashion — in overtime, on a two-point conversion pass. Losing five in a row hasn’t happened since 1956 — Ed Price’s final season as head coach, when Texas parted ways with him and hired Darrell Royal.
If you missed it, things basically went down like this:
• After trailing 35-14 at the half and 42-21 in the third quarter, the Longhorns had fought back and had one last shot, getting the ball back with 44 seconds left at the Kansas 34, trailing 49-42 with no timeouts. With 22 seconds remaining, Cade Brewer’s touchdown catch by Cade Brewer sent the game to overtime.
• In the extra period, Texas went up 56-49 on its first possession. Kansas answered with a touchdown of its own to make it 56-55 — and then rolled the dice and went for the two-point conversion to win the game. It was a 57 to 56 win for the Jayhawks.
Here are some takeaways from Texas’ loss
Hudson Card got his chance but Casey Thompson is the one for him
Although Thompson was the first to start the game, it seemed like Steve Sarkisian had planned for both quarterbacks to be involved throughout. Thompson was on two drives and directed the Horns to the touchdown. Card took over on the third drive.
Card’s night ended on the second and third drives. He lost a fumble and was sacked. Thompson then finished the game. Thompson was 33 of 43 and ran 358 yards for six touchdowns with one interception.
Here’s how the drive charts of each quarterback turned out:
Thompson: Thompson, fumble, and TD.
Card: TD, fumble, pick-six
It is 2016 again
It’s easy to see the similarities. In November 2016, Charlie Strong needed one win in his final three games to make a bowl game — and lost each one, the most shocking one a 24-21 stunner in Lawrence. One week later, he was unemployed.
To make it to the first Steve Sarkisian season, Texas had to win two of its last three games. You would have thought this game was one of the W’s with Kansas, West Virginia, and Kansas State all gone. Nope.
Texas will finish the season with a record 4-8, 5-5, or 6-6. The Longhorns’ (4-6, 2-5 Big 12, and 6-6) best chance for a regular season of.500 is a good one.
Why are the Longhorns so bad?
Let’s count them all.
Steve Sarkisian (and Kyle Flood) need more talent to fill the roles of offensive and defensive linemen. This can be done through recruitment and the transfer portal. You can see when the Kansas Jayhawks are controlling your front line. It is urgently in need of more depth on the defensive line.
All of these issues with the offensive lines lead to other offensive issues. From Bijan Robinson struggling to make holes, to third down conversions being harder. This was apparent tonight.
There is no rush for passes. There is a need for more playmaking defensive linebackers. It is necessary to replenish the stock of secondary linebackers.
Who will be the quarterback for next season’s game? Thompson and Card are still around (if one or both of them transfers), but it’s possible that the starter won’t be on campus at all.