Rivalry games are different than normal games. Players move faster, fans seem louder and the outcome means more. Texas plays its rival in the middle of the season, which is different than other programs that typically play their rivals at the end. This structure, combined with a loss, can derail a team. Yet, the Longhorns feel their loss to Oklahoma will only bring them together and show the country what they’re made of.
“We had two choices,” junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger said. “To let it affect us and separate us or let it bring us together and learn from our mistakes and get better.”
Following the loss, one of the biggest words to come out of the Longhorns’ mouths is resiliency. It is a trait they feel is a strength of theirs, as well as one that is necessary to continue on their path to remaining an elite program.
Ehlinger referenced the 24-hour rule Texas has in place when he discussed getting over the loss. He felt that despite losing to the Sooners, Texas shouldn’t have a difficult time shifting their focus over to Kansas.
“No, I don’t think it should be harder,” Ehlinger said. “If we say we want to do the things we want to do and we truly believe in that, then we’ll approach everything with a winning mentality.”
The Longhorns are at the midpoint of their season. With six games left, they still have room to make up ground in the conference. The only top 25 opponent they have left to face is undefeated Baylor — which has surprised many with its success.
“We definitely have enough time to bounce back,” senior wide receiver Devin Duvernay said. “We still have everything out in front of us.”
Head coach Tom Herman reminded everyone that “the sun came up,” and similarly to the week following the LSU loss, the energy around the program suggests they don’t feel the season is lost.
“We know what we want to do,” Duvernay said. “We want to win the Big 12, (and) we feel like we still have a chance at that, so we’re just positive.”
The positivity has been instilled into the fabric of this team. They feel as if they can handle anything thrown at them despite what anyone on the outside says.
“At the end of the day, people are entitled to their own opinions, and like coach Herman tells us all the time, the only people’s opinions that matter are the guys that are in our bunker and on this team,” senior safety Brandon Jones said.
Texas’ loss to Oklahoma was its second loss to a top 10 team this season. In both games, Texas was an underdog, but Jones doesn’t feel like the difference between the teams is in their skill level.
“Anytime you get a situation like that, where both teams are ranked … people’s emotions kind of get in the way of a lot of stuff,” Jones said.