Texas dropped its second-straight opener in the Tom Herman era.
A rain-soaked FedEx Field provided a far different venue than Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in the Longhorns' season opener against Maryland, but the result on Saturday was deja vu all over again for the burnt orange.
Looking to avenge a 51–41 defeat at home to open the 2017 season, Texas traveled to the nation's capitol on Saturday ranked No. 23, aiming to make a statement in year two under Tom Herman.
But five-and-a-half hours, one weather delay and three turnovers later, Texas is still miles away from relevancy in the national landscape, losing 34–29 to the Terrapins. The Longhorns committed 10 penalties on Saturday, going 3–15 on third down. The defeat was another chapter in an all-too-familar story for Longhorns fans.
Herman gave sophomore Sam Ehlinger a vote of confidence on Aug. 20, giving Texas a declared starting quarterback before opening day for the first time since 2014. But just as he did as a freshman last season—when he tossed game-clinching picks against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech—Ehlinger threw a pair of costly fourth-quarter interceptions, both coming in the final seven minutes. The heir to Colt McCoy has yet to arrive.
The same old song continues to play for Texas each September. Preseason hype is quickly unfulfilled, with expecations lowered from the Big 12 crown to hopes of bowl qualification. Culture resets seem to be as much of a tradition in Austin as South by Southwest.
Texas will have time to rebound from its second-straight opening day loss, facing Tulsa on Sept. 8. But Herman must right the ship quickly. The Longhorns face USC, TCU and Oklahoma before Week 7—there won't be margin for error.
Herman earned some breathing room last year after earning Texas's first bowl victory since 2013. But patience is running thin on the 40 Acres. After an offseason of optimism, Texas began its 2018 campaign the same way it started 2017. Mediocrity is alive and well in the Lone Star State.