4 takeaways from the Longhorns second half meltdown against No. 16 Baylor

Riley Glenn, Sports Reporter

The Longhorns surrendered a double digit second half lead, as the offense failed to string together consistent drives and the defense failed to put any pressure on the opposing quarterback. That sentence could have been typed any time in the past month, as Texas has now lost three consecutive games in similar fashion. This isn’t a fluke —  it’s a structural flaw. A different game, but the same story.

4 takeaways from the Longhorns loss:

The defense doesn’t make opposing offenses uncomfortable

Texas’ defense doesn’t execute its most important job — making the opposing offense uncomfortable. While the unit forced two turnovers Saturday, that didn’t stop Baylor from doing whatever it wanted on offense. The Bears moved the ball with ease, both through the air and on the ground.

The Bears’ offensive line bullied the Texas defensive front. Baylor’s junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon completed easy throw after easy throw due to the Texas pass rushers’ inability to apply pressure. Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski made minimal adjustments in the second half, as the Longhorns ran two-high safeties when they needed stops on the ground while trailing in the fourth quarter. Outside of forcing turnovers, the defense does little at a high level. Texas simply fails at making opposing teams adjust from what they want to do offensively.

Joshua Moore had a rough day 

Junior receiver Joshua Moore had a tough second quarter against the Bears. Moore caught the first touchdown of the game from junior quarterback Casey Thompson on a well designed run-pass option, but his second quarter performance prevented the Longhorns from extending their first half lead. Moore fumbled in Baylor territory early in the second quarter after making a nice move to pick up the first down on third-and-6.

On the final offensive drive of the first half, Moore dropped a touchdown from Thompson on a perfectly placed deep ball. The following play, Moore let another pass bounce off his hands, resulting in an interception and generating momentum for the Bears heading into the locker room. Both turnovers robbed the Longhorns of opportunities to strengthen their hold on the game.

The offense remains maddeningly inconsistent 

The Longhorns’ offense remains a mystery. Sometimes it looks like one of the best offenses in the nation. Other times, it can be difficult to watch. Sophomore running back Bijan Robinson had a very quiet day, only accumulating 43 rushing yards on just 2.5 yards per carry. Casey Thompson has developed a bad habit of throwing off his back foot, possibly caused by the performance of the offensive line which struggled again Saturday.

Thompson also missed freshman receiver Xavier Worthy on a wide open touchdown, who once again showed why he is one of the best young talents in the Big 12 with a statline of 115 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches. The offense seems to be all or nothing from drive to drive, where Texas either scores a touchdown or goes three-and-out. Between missed throws, penalties and drops, the Longhorns left a lot of potential points on the field.

Groundhog day

The Longhorns have now lost three consecutive games where they held sizable leads over their opponents in the second half. It is the same story every week. The offense loses balance and struggles to put together long drives. The defense just goes through the motions and fails to make open-field tackles.

At this point, this might just be a mental block rather than a schematic fix. Every time the Longhorns get punched in the mouth, any time they face any adversity, they fold. They have not shown that they are mentally tough football team. Whether that is due to youth or inexperience, who knows. Sarkisian needs to prove that he isn’t just a good play caller, but a leader as well.