Deja vu anyone? Texas blows 3rd straight second-half lead in loss to Baylor

Matthew Boncosky, Sports Reporter

Another game, another halftime lead for Texas.

After taking a 14-10 lead into the locker room at the break, the matchup against No. 16 Baylor  presented the Longhorns with an opportunity to squash their second-half woes that have cost them in two straight losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Only that did not happen. Not in the slightest.

Instead, the Bears continued their winning ways, improving their  record to 7-1 with a 31-24 victory over Texas at McLane Stadium.

“I’m frustrated for our players because I know what they put into this,” Sarkisian said. “I know the intent that they come to work with every day, and I know the intent that they go into the games with every week. When you don’t ultimately get the result that you’re looking for, that’s disheartening for them.”

Saturday’s showdown on the banks of the Brazos River, the 111th meeting between the two schools, dropped the Longhorns to 4-4, hardly the way head coach Steve Sarkisian expected his first season to go. After discussion surrounding Texas football has centered on the team’s inability to finish games, those same struggles continuing for a third straight game suggests that Sarkisian’s work in turning the program around is still in its infant phase.

While the Longhorns marched down the field on the opening drive of the second half, extending their lead with a 1-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore running back Bijan Robinson, Baylor responded in quick succession with an equally dominant drive of its own.

After Baylor quarterback Gerty Bohanon’s 6-yard touchdown run, Texas came out and quickly stagnated, a familiar sight to Longhorns fans who have watched the offense struggle in situations just like that, where moving the chains is a necessity to keep momentum rolling.

Instead, the Longhorns were forced to punt. As the fourth quarter rolled around, Texas still clutched to a four-point lead, but Baylor was driving down the field. Faced with a second-and-goal from the Longhorns’ goal line, Baylor tight end Ben Sims ran one in for a touchdown.

Another double-digit second-half lead was gone as Baylor took its first lead of the game.

Deja vu anyone?

Oh, and then Sarkisian ran a fake punt on fourth-and-11.

Wait, what?

Yes, with momentum squarely in Baylor’s favor, senior kicker/punter Cameron Dicker took the snap and tried to run for the first down. It failed miserably.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” Sarkisian said. “If I saw the look again, I’d probably check out of it and punt the ball.”

Three plays later, Baylor running back Abram Smith gashed the Texas defense for a 32-yard touchdown run. The Bears took a 10-point lead with eight minutes left in the game.

From there, Texas managed just three measly points off a Dicker field goal, but the book had already been written. Texas was going to lose its third straight game with remarkably similar collapses in all of them.

“We’ll continue to fight, (and) we’ll continue to grind at this thing. That’s the only thing we know how to do, (and) that I know how to do, so we’ll get back to it,” Sarkisian said. “One of these weeks, we’re going to get over this hump.”

With some winnable games still to come on Texas’ schedule — Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia — the Longhorns might be able to scrape out a bowl appearance, but for a Texas program that has struggled mightily throughout the past decade, hopes might be at an all-time low.

As the Longhorns prepare for their impending move to the Southeastern Conference, and if Texas and Oklahoma strike a deal with the Big 12 to exit prior to 2025, Saturday’s game could be the last one that Texas plays in Waco for a while.

What a way to go out.