The Longhorns fell to BYU 41-7 Saturday, a score that marks their worst home loss since 1997. The defeat was Texas’ second embarrassing loss to the Cougars in two years — its first under head coach Charlie Strong. Here are some key takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
Offensive line woes:
Texas entered the game with one of the least experienced offensive lines in the country, boasting a combined four starts under its belt. This inexperience showed, as BYU held the Longhorns to only 82 yards on the ground through 35 carries. The line was unable to open up holes and failed to properly protect sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.
With junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle’s and senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison’s suspension lengths still undecided, the Longhorn offense may continue to struggle this season. The upside: Now the line will enter the UCLA game with 10 combined starts, doubling the experience it brought
Swoopes shows promise:
Not only did Texas have an inexperienced line for this game, it was also the first start of Swoopes’ career. Swoopes responded with a solid performance, completing 20 of 31 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. He threw one interception and rushed seven times for 25 yards.
Swoopes threw eight straight completions to start the game, and, as the running game continued to struggle, he played a major role in moving the chains.
“He did a great job,” fifth-year senior wide receiver John Harris said. “He took his opportunity and took advantage of it. He just came out there and played how he wanted to play. He looked great starting off. Hopefully, we can see more of that the rest of the way through the season.”
Texas keeps kicking itself:
Junior placekicker Nick Rose missed his only field goal attempt Saturday night from 43 yards out, which would have given Texas a 3-0 lead to start the game. Rose is now only 1-for-3 on field goals for the season. Placekicking continues to be a major concern for the Longhorns, who lost starting kicker Anthony Fera after last season.
Third quarter woes doom the Longhorns:
Texas entered halftime trailing 6-0 but fell behind 34-0 after BYU’s first four possessions of the second half. The Longhorns surrendered a 75-yard touchdown drive to start things off in the third quarter, after BYU’s junior quarterback Taysom Hill hurdled redshirt sophomore safety Dylan Haines for the touchdown.
Things just got worse for Texas from there, as the Longhorns’ next three drives consisted of six plays for a loss of three yards and a lost fumble. This allowed BYU to score touchdowns on four straight possessions and turn a competitive game into a blowout that even surpassed the 2013 debacle in Provo, Utah. For the entire quarter, the Longhorns only forced the Cougars to third down twice and failed to get them off the field both times.
Texas managed to finally put points on the board late in the quarter, but, by then, the game had already been decided.