The Texas football team played from behind for the second week in a row on Saturday, but the Longhorns couldn’t manage a comeback this time around.
Texas had 3 minutes and 13 seconds left in the game to overcome a 15-point deficit against Texas Tech last week. The Longhorns had 4 minutes and 1 second to do so in their 31-33 loss to TCU at home on Saturday, but they failed, literally fumbling the game away.
Junior running back Keaontay Ingram’s fumble at the TCU 1-yard line near the end of the fourth quarter was just the final nail in the coffin on a day riddled with errors. But make no mistake, Ingram did not lose the game for Texas, senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger said.
“I reminded (Ingram) that as much as we love this, it is just a game,” Ehlinger said. “It’s not life or death, but I told him it’s certainly not on him. There were a lot of different things that happened and everybody made a ton of mistakes, and it’s more on me than it is on him.”
Ehlinger’s numbers Saturday might tell a different story . He threw four touchdowns, but his performance and that of the Texas offense left much to be desired. The quarterback completed less than 50 percent of his passes, partly due to mistakes from Longhorn wide receivers.
Wideouts senior Tarik Black and sophomore Jake Smith dropped passes that could have had the potential to turn into large gains.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Joshua Moore, who starred in last week’s game, did not record a single catch. A miscommunication between Moore and Ehlinger in the second quarter on a pass initially intended for senior tight end Cade Brewer led the quarterback to throw his second interception of the season, which TCU converted into a field goal to go up 20-14 to end the first half.
“Their safety actually made a great play, came down and he knew exactly what we were trying to do there in a hot situation,” Ehlinger said. “I shouldn’t have gone to Josh. I thought he was going to break it off quicker, but that’s on me.”
Texas’ defense was the team’s Achilles’ heel last week, while the offense saved the day. The roles switched Saturday, as the defense kept the Longhorns in the game with crucial red zone stops.
The defensive unit, however, is not blameless. TCU sophomore quarterback Max Duggan rushed 26 yards to the end zone to put the Horned Frogs up 33-29 with four minutes to go.
“On that drive, I wasn’t in at the time, but just on the sideline,” Keondre Coburn, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman said. “I mean I don’t know if it was a missed error or what. I didn’t watch it, but they’ve got big ball players, like we’ve got big ball players. And they just made a big play there.”
TCU entered the game with a 6–2 record over Texas since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012. Saturday showed they still have the Longhorns’ number.
Coburn said he was heartbroken after the loss, but Texas can only look forward, with the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma next weekend and a whole season ahead of the team.
Head coach Tom Herman feels similarly. Longhorns fans may say otherwise, but he said this first loss did not end the season.
“The cool thing about the Big 12 is the teams with the two best records at the end of the season are going to play for the championship,” Herman said. “ And so we’ve still got a long way to go.”