|Texas still ranked at No. 23 despite Big 12 losing streak|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 October 2007 09:18|
The bad news? They lost, and that nasty Big 12 losing streak grows longer.
Saturday's 28-21 defeat to Oklahoma dropped Texas to 0-2 in conference play for the first time in 50 years. The Longhorns have lost four straight in the Big 12 dating to last season.
Thanks to some good timing, the Longhorns (4-2) are still ranked at No. 23.
Texas has been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for 115 straight weeks, the longest run in the country. The streak stayed alive mostly because every team ranked from No. 21 to No. 25 lost Saturday, leaving pollsters few options to vote for somebody else.
The question is where Texas goes from here.
The Longhorns have won at least 10 games every year since 2001, and they stayed in the national title hunt until late in each of those seasons.
Is the chance to play for a berth in the Cotton, Holiday or Alamo bowls enough to inspire Texas to put together a winning streak this year?
``There's a tremendous amount of pride in this program and in this team,'' said coach Mack Brown, whose worst record in Austin was a 9-5 mark in 1999. ``Fortunes are out of our hands and out of our control as far as the (Big 12) championship obviously. We've just got to work to get better.''
Texas goes on the road next week to Iowa State, where the Longhorns will be expected to snap their Big 12 losing streak against the hapless Cyclones (1-5, 0-2). First-year Iowa State coach Gene Chizik was Texas' defensive coordinator in 2005-06.
Texas has historically been very good after playing the Sooners. Since 2000, the Longhorns are a whopping 36-4 the rest of the regular season after the Oklahoma game, although that record took a hit last year when Texas lost its last two contests.
There were signs Saturday that Texas could make a run through the rest of a favorable schedule.
Colt McCoy played his best game of the season, passing for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Jermichael Finley had a breakout game, setting a school record for tight ends with 149 yards on four catches to emerge as a new deep threat.
The problems on special teams appeared to be fixed as Texas bent but didn't break on coverage after giving up two long TDs a week earlier against Kansas State.
``It just shows what kind of offense we have once we are clicking on all cylinders. Going into the next game is going to be a good test for us now that we have our backs against the wall,'' wide receiver Nate Jones said. ``I think this team kept fighting and fighting.''
Brown traditionally loosens up his offense after the Oklahoma game, which could mean more playing time for backup quarterback John Chiles, a strong runner who can create problems for defenses when Texas puts the freshman and McCoy on the field at the same time.
But turnovers continue to plague the Longhorns. Two miscues by tailback Jamaal Charles hurt them Saturday.
Charles' fumble at the Oklahoma 4 killed a scoring drive that would have put Texas ahead in the third quarter. In the fourth, he tipped a catchable pass that led to McCoy's only interception. Had McCoy seen wide receiver Quan Cosby wide open 10 yards farther upfield, Texas would have had an easy touchdown.
``I thought I had a good chance to get the ball, but I thought that he was throwing to Quan,'' Charles said. ``I may have jumped in the way, but I should have caught the ball.''
For the second straight week, Texas didn't force any turnovers. The Longhorns couldn't rattle Oklahoma redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford, who passed for three TDs.
``It is frustrating,'' defensive tackle Derek Lokey said. ``We had more gang-tackling, holding guys up, and other guys ripping for the ball. I think we tried hard at that, (but) they did a good job hanging onto the ball.''