Last season’s problems reappear for Texas in brutal overtime loss at Texas Tech

Hunter Dworaczyk, Senior Sports Reporter

No. 22 Texas’ second-half collapse to Texas Tech felt oh-so-familiar.

Junior running back Bijan Robinson’s 40-yard rush gave the Longhorns a 31-17 lead late in the third quarter. Yet, like in many of Texas’ losses last season, the Longhorns didn’t hold on to the lead.

After hanging tough with No. 1 Alabama two weeks ago and pulling away from UTSA in the second half last week, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian and company thought that Texas’ second half woes were finally behind them. Not so fast.

“I think we had an opportunity today to really take hold of the game and we didn’t do it,” Sarkisian said. “That’s a killer instinct that I know we’ve been working on that we’ve got to continue to strive to get it right to be able to put people away.”

Texas marching 46 yards in 21 seconds to force overtime after the Red Raiders took the lead off a 45-yard field goal only prolonged the loss.

Ultimately, the Longhorns’ effort was in vain. Robinson, who does not often struggle with ball security, fumbled the ball on the first play of overtime. The Red Raiders kicked a short field goal after that, clinching a 37-34 victory that resulted in a field storming in Lubbock.

“When I cut up, the linebacker came and when he hit me the ball just slipped out,” Robinson said. “That’s just a mistake on me.”

Sophomore quarterback Hudson Card had a nice performance in the first half, but No. 22 Texas’ talent at the receiver and running back positions looked like it had the potential in the first half to make the true difference against the Red Raiders on Saturday.

Card threw a total of 20 completions to 10 different receivers. However, when Texas really needed to catch tough 50-50 balls as the game tightened in the second half, its receivers struggled to get the job done. 

Part of the struggles for Texas’ passing game came from sophomore receiver Xavier Worthy missing the second half due to injury. The Longhorns passed for just 74 yards in the second half, compared to 203 yards in the first.

“A receiver like (Worthy) is going to help our offense, but you know it’s next man up,” Card said. “The guys who came in for him did a great job. Obviously, it hurts to lose a talented receiver like him.”

Defensively, Texas struggled to stop Texas Tech from moving the chains much of the game. Joey McGuire, Texas Tech head coach, successfully converted on fourth down six times out of eight total attempts. 

So when the Longhorns’ offense couldn’t stay on the field in the second half, the defense couldn’t get off either.

“At the end of the day, when you play 100 plays on defense and only run 60 plays on offense, that’s not a recipe for success in any league,” Sarkisian said. “I’m disappointed on our end because we didn’t play a brand of football that I think we’ve grown accustomed to.”

After the Longhorns’ first truly disappointing loss of the 2022 season, the team now finds itself needing to respond in a big way.

“I don’t think this is a deflation; I think it’s a learning experience for us,” Robinson said. “We got to keep our heads up and not let this get in between us at all. We got a long season to play.”