Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas’ Big 12 Championship chances slip away on heartbreaking senior day

Katie Bauer

The gloomy haze hanging over Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon captured the heartbreak Texas players and fans must have felt as they watched Cameron Dicker’s field goal from 58 yards scrape the left upright to end the matchup on senior day.

Had the junior’s kick been good, the Longhorns would have tied Iowa State and went into their fourth overtime game of the season. Instead, the Cyclones won 23-20, securing a Big 12 Championship bid. If they win in December, it will be their first conference championship since 1912.

Unlike the budding program in Ames, Iowa, the Longhorns can no longer hold these aspirations in 2020. Even with two games left in the regular season against Kansas State and Kansas, both on the road, Texas doesn’t have much more to play for now that the team is effectively out of Big 12 title contention.

“The feeling of being eliminated, it hurts a lot,” redshirt junior defensive back Josh Thompson said. “I came here with this senior class, and seeing the hurt on everyone’s faces … I came into this game highly prepared just for them.”

Head coach Tom Herman’s squad lost the game well before Dicker lined up to kick. Still up 20-16 with a little over eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Herman decided to be aggressive rather than kick a field goal. If the Longhorns converted, fans might have praised the coach for his decision. Herman trusted the analytics, but things didn’t go as planned.

On fourth-and-1, Ehlinger leaped for the first down, finishing just short of the marker. Iowa State scored soon after on what would have been the game-winning touchdown — a 3-yard rush to the end zone from sophomore running back Breece Hall.

“I got tripped up,” Ehlinger said.


That’s when Texas found itself racing against the clock to score with just over a minute left in regulation. This kind of discomfort has become a familiar feeling for the Longhorns this season.

A failed fake punt attempt by the Longhorns, then up 20-10, late the third quarter set up Iowa State with good field position, though the Cyclones did not score on the subsequent drive. Penalties and blown coverages on the Texas defense in the first quarter gifted Iowa State with yards that would help the Cyclones score.

The Longhorns didn’t win, but they showed promise throughout. Ehlinger, with help from the offensive line, ran hard like he always does and threw the ball down field as well as he has all year. 

Freshman running back Bijan Robinson’s stardom continues to rise — he helped Texas out on the ground early. Brennan Eagles snagged some of Ehlinger’s best passes this season. The defense held the Cyclones to field goals on several drives. 

But it didn’t matter.

“We didn’t do enough in this game to win it,” Herman said. “Iowa State did just enough to do that. We will lick our wounds and wipe the tears out of our eyes and understand that this is not the last game.”

The coach managed to stay optimistic postgame, even as he fielded questions about his job security. 

Bottom line, Texas is a better program now than when he got here, Herman said. The Longhorns won’t reach their goal of winning a Big 12 Championship, but senior defensive end Ta’Quon Graham still has his coach’s back.

“I respect coach Herman, and I think he’s fit to lead this team,” Graham said. “People can say whatever they want about him, but he brought me in here and I’ve been under him for four years. I’m going to continue to have his support the whole way.”

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Texas’ Big 12 Championship chances slip away on heartbreaking senior day