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Texas Defense Starts Strong, Crumbles in Fourth Quarter in Loss to Oklahoma State

An ideal first-half performance from the Texas defense went to waste after a disappointing showing in the fourth quarter

The Texas Longhorns (4-3) fell at home on Saturday 32-24 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0), dropping back-to-back losses for the first time in the Steve Sarkisian era. 

The Longhorn's defense was looking for a bounce-back performance after getting embarrassed in the Red River Showdown last Saturday. Yet, it was more of the same against the Cowboys, until the fourth quarter at least. 

Texas defense coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski had his unit focused and playing tough throughout the first half. Even when star linebacker DeMarvion Overshown left the game for good in the first quarter due to injury, the Longhorn's defense continued to battle. 

But, unfortunately for the Longhorn's conference championship hopes, the defense got manhandled by the Oklahoma State running attack in the fourth quarter. 

To make matters worse, the Texas offense didn't do Kwiatkowski's defense any favors in the second half. A lack of production in moving the chains forced the Longhorn defense to stand up against long drives from the Cowboys.

Let's take a look at a few of the most important takeaways for the Texas defense from the loss to the Cowboys. 

1) The Texas defense allowed a 180-yard plus rusher for the second straight week as OSU running back Jaylen Warren exploded for 33 carries and 193 yards

2) The Longhorns didn't allow an offensive touchdown until the 10:16 mark of the fourth quarter

3) The defense faltered in the fourth, giving up 17-straight points in the quarter as the Texas offense failed to produce any points 

4) Oklahoma State offense dictated time of possession, winning 33:43 to 26:17 in that area

From the start of the game, the Texas defense made sure to keep Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders uncomfortable in the pocket. Sanders felt consistent pressure that resulted in more than a few inaccurate throws to his receivers in the first half. 

One of these throws found its way into the waiting arms of Texas defensive back D'Shawn Jamison, who snagged his first interception of the season and fourth of his career.

After an impressive first half up to that point, the Texas defense let up right before the two teams headed into the locker room. A 12-play, 48-yard drive from the Oklahoma State offense resulted in another field goal to bring the score to 17-13 at the end of the second quarter.

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If not for an 85-yard pick-six thrown by Texas QB Casey Thompson midway through the second quarter, the Cowboy's offense would have managed only six points in the first half. 

OSU head coach Mike Gundy had to make adjustments going into the third quarter, but the Texas defense continued to dominate. Seven total plays for 25 yards on two drives resulted in back-to-back punts by the Oklahoma State offense to begin the second half.

Another field goal from OSU kicker Tanner Brown kept the game within one possession at 24-16. The burnt orange defense held strong on the goal line to force the three points despite being pushed back to Texas' own four yard-line. 

Finally though, at the 10:16 mark of the fourth quarter, Sanders and the Cowboys' offense found the end zone for the first time on the afternoon. He tossed a nine-yard score to WR Brennan Presley, but Texas responded well by stopping the two-point try to keep a 24-22 lead. 

The Longhorns were in a prime position to capitalize getting the ball back up by two. But another three-and-out from Steve Sarkisian's offense forced the defense to trot back out on the field after minimal rest. 

From that point on, it was a catastrophic collapse from the Texas defense. Another field goal from Brown on the ensuing drive gave the Cowboys the lead at 25-24. Sanders quickly got the ball back after only a four-play drive from Texas and made the most of it. 

The OSU QB plunged into the end zone to make it an eight-point game. Warren then closed out the contest on the Cowboy's next possession, as he rushed for a whopping 118 yards in the fourth quarter alone.

Warren, who had only rushed for 67 yards before the fourth quarter, exploded in the final act to definitively hand the Longhorns their second-straight loss. 

Sarkisian and Kwiatkowski will need to rally the team as improvements are clearly needed on both sides of the ball. 

Texas has a bye week next Saturday before taking on the Baylor Bears in Waco on Saturday. Oct. 30. 

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