Horns down

The Texas Longhorns have been barely scraping by each Saturday.

The+Texas+Longhorn+vs+the+Oklahoma+Sooners+game+is+called+the+Red+River+Rivalry%2C+it+is+also+referred+to+as+the+Red+River+Showdown+and+the+Red+River+Shootout.

The Texas Longhorn vs the Oklahoma Sooners game is called the Red River Rivalry, it is also referred to as the Red River Showdown and the Red River Shootout.

Mya Mooney, Staff Writer

Longhorn fans have been on edge or disappointed following the last three games of the season, as their performance on the field has been less than impressive, both offensively and defensively.  Games they should have won resulted in loss or a game so close fans were biting their nails. In the 2019 season, their record was 8-5 , including their win at the Valero Alamo Bowl against Utah, who was ranked eleventh at the end of the regular season. Even with the five losses in the 2019 season were usually against a matured team and the final score was within a single touchdown. This year their losses are more significant; as of now their two losses were to unranked teams, such as TCU. Many mistakes during the game could easily be fixed during or after the game at practice. If they want to become a stronger team, they have to put more effort into winning.

 

Offense has been a massive struggle for the Longhorns this year, especially their senior quarterback, Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger has started 33 of his 36 games that he has appeared in and made the decision to stay for his last season with the Longhorns. He started off the season with a bang with five passing/rushing touchdowns, beating UTEP 59-3 , but then again that school does not have a matured and strong team. On October third, the Longhorns met the first loss of the season against TCU, who has since lost all their other games. This game was an extremely close game, final score 33-31, even though Texas had the upper hand and could have easily walked away with a win.  Now this loss was not solely the offense or Ehlinger’s fault but there were many mistakes that were made offensively that determined the outcome of the game. As of now the TCU game is Ehlinger’s least productive game, with only a 47.2% pass completion rate, decreasing by 20.3% from the previous Saturday. He would also throw one interception, not that throwing one interception can determine the final score of the game then and there, but it does allow for an extra seven points to possibly be added up on the scoreboard. The Longhorns managed to put up four touchdowns and one field goal against TCU, but that was still not enough. While Ehlinger may not have had his best game, his offensive line also contributed to his performance. Running backs and receivers running routes that did not allow for them to be somewhat open or not being able to keep control of the ball after making the initial catch also was in part for the loss of the game. Fans were hoping that Coach Tom Herman would address these issues with the team and work on them before their game against  the University of Oklahoma, but their hopes were let down the following week.

 

On October 10th, UT saw their hardest game of the season as of now, for both offense and defense collectively. Poor performances from the offensive line and defensive line caused a game they should have won to be a game they lost in quadruple overtime. It was a game of embarrassment for Longhorn fans, some even calling for Herman to be fired and replaced by the decorated former head coach of Ohio State, Urban Meyer. All of the Longhorns’ faults could be seen this game, even the small ones. Offense as a whole had the worst game; the offensive lineman failed Ehlinger. Ehlinger was sacked a total of six times throughout the game. He may not be the fastest quarterback, but an offensive line should not allow for their quarterback to get sacked six times in a single game. The inability to protect their quarterback led to many drives to a first down to become more difficult than they should due to loss of yardage when Ehlinger was sacked. This was especially crucial on the 3rd downs and short, as the offense could not make those few yards to get the first down but instead added more yards to go. Ehlinger had also thrown two interceptions this game, the most he has thrown this season, giving fuel to the fire of Okalahoma’s desire to win. His pass completion rate increased to 56.6% , although he would only throw two passing touchdowns. Once again, his wide receivers and tight ends could just not get open with Oklahoma’s defense breathing down their neck, and the running backs were not running the most productive routes. Ehlinger took matters into his own hands and should be credited with truly trying to help his team succeed, as he totaled four rushing touchdowns, scoring the most points out of all the receivers on the team. Defense also struggled greatly this game, even though they were playing against a younger developing Oklahoma offense. This game was very back and forth, but the defense did have some mistakes that pushed the Longhorns back, including not being able to shut down Oklahoma’s third down conversions.  Oklahoma had eight successful third down conversions, and in return had the opportunity to keep moving the football closer and closer to the end zone. The Longhorn defense was simply outplayed, they allowed for more rushing and return yards, and could not keep up with Oklahoma’s offensive strategies.

 

The once ranked Texas Longhorns have slipped out of the top 25 and continue to fall further. Countless mistakes, bad play calling, and not fixing those mistakes will be the demise of their season. Offense needs to become more cohesive, work on their routes , and work on their protection of Ehlinger. Defense needs to become more aggressive, especially on stopping third down conversions, and covering receivers. Herman needs to address the mistakes they are making, work to fix those mistakes, and pull players if need be. Longhorn fans may have a long season ahead of them if all the mistakes are left unbothered, but Herman and his players still have time to turn the season around.

 

*All stats used can be found on ESPN under Texas Longhorns and the Longhorns official website.