Now more than ever, Texas cannot collapse within itself

Christina Huang, Double Coverage Editor

Up until this point, Texas football hasn’t looked too bad. 

Texas managed to stay neck and neck with Alabama in its 20-19 loss; it pulled out a 41-20 win over UTSA after ending the first half at 17-all. 

Last week’s win seems to be the biggest sign that Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is leading the 2022 team in the right direction. 

To be down 17-7, nobody blinked,” Sarkisian said. “Nobody said here we go again. And I think a year ago, we may have. I don’t want to say for sure, but we may have.”

The Longhorns struggled last year with late-game collapses, skidding into a six-game losing streak. The streak began at the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma. Quarterback Casey Thompson threw four touchdown passes in the first half, giving the Longhorns a hearty 38-20 lead at halftime. Oklahoma chipped away at the lead, and Texas lost the game 55-48 in a devastating fashion. 

After the Oklahoma game, Texas was never really able to get back on track. The team continued to fold in on itself in the second half. The Longhorns consistently lost games after leading at halftime. 17-13 against Oklahoma State at home, 14-10 at Baylor and 7-3 at Iowa State — all halftime leads that turned into losses. 

Last Saturday, Texas did not panic when it tied UTSA 17-17 at halftime after being down 17-7. Senior running back Roschon Johnson and junior running back Bijan Robinson revved up their performances in the second half to power Texas to a victory.

“I think we would’ve clinched,” Robinson said after the game when asked about how the 2021 roster would’ve handled Saturday’s situation. 

As Saturday’s away game against Texas Tech nears, it’s more important than ever for Texas to remain focused in undesirable second-half situations. 

Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock is completely sold out on Saturday, and the crowd will be doing everything it can to rattle the Longhorns. Texas Tech fans are famous for throwing tortillas onto the field, and distractions like that will become unavoidable as Big 12 play continues. 

“We’re the University of Texas,” Sarkisian said on Monday. “Nobody likes us. That’s okay. We embrace the hate.” 

As Texas makes its rounds through the Big 12 this season, many schools are convinced that they may not see the Longhorns on their home turf again as members of the same conference. 

Texas’ away games against Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas State may very well be its last ones as a member of the Big 12. 

As conference realignment continues to add extra fuel to the hatred of Texas, it’s more important than ever for the Longhorns to maintain their style of football as they travel to the most contentious environments in college football. It’s the only way for Texas to leave the Big 12 on top.