Texas’ away uniform was once called the best uniform in college football. The sleek all-white jerseys with burnt orange lettering were considered “iconic” by head coach Tom Herman in 2017. It’s the color Texas wore in 2018 when they beat the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Showdown and then Georgia in the Sugar Bowl later that year.
Against Baylor, it was the same scene but a different stadium when the Longhorns came out of the McLane Stadium tunnel in their white ensemble. But for senior safety Brandon Jones, it would be the last time wearing the getup in the regular season. It was all he could think about after Texas’ 24-10 loss to the Baylor Bears.
“I think the biggest thing that’s going through my head is (this) potentially being my last time playing in these white jerseys,” Jones said.
Texas has closed a chapter in their season and has played their final road game of the regular season. Unfortunately for the team and its seniors, it was not the outcome they wanted. Texas came into this matchup with the right mindset according to Herman, but they are once again leaving a game defeated.
It marks the last time senior defensive lineman and captain Malcolm Roach will wear white in the regular season. His reaction matched the one he has after every Texas loss: upset.
“It's a feeling that I never get used to, that this team (never) gets used to,” Roach said. “You never get comfortable in this feeling at all. That's why it eats you up every time it happens. It's not comfortable. It's not something you want. We put in so much work. Winter, summer (for) the 12 guaranteed, the 12 of these (that are) guaranteed. When you win, you're on top of the world and when you lose, you feel like you hit rock bottom because we put in so much work every day.”
Following the loss, the Longhorns headed back into the locker room and took off their jerseys. Some were stained with dirt and sweat, others still crisp and shiny. But the feelings were different from when they had left hours earlier. In four hours, those feelings morphed from excitement to disappointment.
“There are guys in that locker room that are hurting more than me,” Roach said. “Guys step on that field and every Saturday we step on that field and play with that emotion. Everybody in that locker room is hurting from this, because we've been together for so long. We do so much together, so everybody's hurting right now. It's not just one person feeling bad. It's everybody.”
This loss follows Texas’ performance pattern in the last six weeks — a program that is in free fall. A team that once was averaging 42 points per game has snowballed into one that only got into the red zone one time Saturday. The Longhorns have disintegrated into a program that has allowed their quarterback to get sacked 22 times in the last six games.
All the players are on a rollercoaster of emotion and are disappointed by what their season has turned into.
“There are a lot of emotions,” Ehlinger said. “Certainly didn't expect it to be this way.”
Next Saturday, before Texas’ last home game and senior day, their signature burnt orange jerseys will hang in their lockers. It will be a chance to end the regular season with a win for the seniors and for a program that is no longer a beacon in the Big 12 this season.
It hasn’t hit Jones yet that there is only one game left, but he hopes this week will give the team a chance to turnaround and compete fiercely next Saturday.
“It’s tough to think about that just from all the stuff (the senior class) has been through,” Jones said. “It's tough. I guess it really hasn't hit me yet because obviously the season is not over and just the quick turnarounds, so to say. I just really hope we get everything together and come strong and pull through.”