WACO, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns are suffering through their worst stretch of football in five years. This is Texas’ first three-game losing streak since 2016.
How Texas lost to Baylor Saturday at McLane Stadium followed a similar pattern from previous weeks. The Longhorns fell apart after halftime.
Texas has led at halftime of each game during the losing streak. In the third and fourth quarters, Texas has been outscored 75-27 during those three losses. In the fourth quarter it’s even worse, Texas has been outscored 54-10.
The Longhorns will head to Iowa State next week for a difficult game in Ames. Here’s what head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the loss to No. 16 Baylor.
“That was a tough one to swallow. Any time you lose a game like that with the trend we’ve had over the last three weeks, that’s tough. That’s tough on our locker room. The fake punt doesn’t hit and they end up getting some momentum there. I will say I was proud of our guys continuing to fight. Just couldn’t make the plays. I thought we had some chances to open the game up. They made some critical plays on some critical downs. I feel for our guys, I’m frustrated for them. We’ll get back to it. One of these weeks, we’re going to get over this hump and when we do we’ll become a very dangerous football team. We’ve got to get over this hump right now that we’re having a hard time getting over.”
Sarkisian on the critical turnovers/mistakes
“I don’t think those two turnovers were really mental turnovers. They’re physical. Fumbled the ball going into the red area. Casey makes a good read. The ball bounces off our hands and they caught it. That’s football…the ball hasn’t bounced our way. I argued that his knee was down, they said it wasn’t. The ball came out and they got possession. I thought Casey made a good read. We had a couple opportunities before that to score.”
On his message to the receivers
“We get back to work, we get back to our fundamentals. That we’re fundamentally sound in how we catch the ball. We have to have faith in the guys that we have. We have some talented players. I’m sure there are some guys that would love to have some plays back. It didn’t happen, but a sign of a really good football team is overcoming those obstacles and we weren’t able to overcome them today.”
Message to the team after third straight loss
“We’ll focus on the next game. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to continue to fight. When things don’t go your way, you’ve got to fight your way out of it. That starts with me…in how we approach it in meetings and how we approach it in practice. It’s not about what’s down the road, it’s about what’s right in front of us.”
Is the team lacking confidence?
“I don’t know that it’s so much that we don’t have confidence. I think they believe in what we do. Like life, football throws adversity at you in every different shape, form, color, size…how we respond to it. That’s the critical point and what we need to improve on. We’ll continue to work on that aspect of it. I think our group is plenty talented enough and we’ve got plenty good coaches not to get frazzled when some things don’t go our way. I thought we were better today…we’re making some incremental progress. Clearly, we need to make more progress in that area to overcome and get over this hump.”
Do you think players are tensing up in the second half?
“It’s psyche, right? It’s the mind and spirit of a competitor. We’ve got great competitors in our locker room. we want to make sure their spirit comes out in everything we do. Whether we have some people that are tensing up in those moments, it’s our job to get the spirit out of them. Ultimately, that can creep in and history can creep into your head. I thought we were better, but clearly it wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to stay the course. We’ve got to continue to put in the work.”
On Sarkisian’s frustrations following the loss
“I’m frustrated for our players because I know what they put into this. I know the intent that come to work with everyday. When you don’t get the results you’re looking for, that’s disheartening for them and so I feel frustrated for them because I know what they put into it. My job is to get them to put in what they can put in. If all of us can get 1% better…We’ll get over the hump and it will be very gratifying. For me, the frustration I have is for the players.”
Do you think this is the ceiling for this team?
“No question. We can go higher. Without question, we can go higher. I’ll never settle. I’ll never put a ceiling on our guys. There’s always a new level we can go to. We definitely have more there and I welcome the challenge to get us there. I really feel that way”
Is he frustrated with himself?
“My frustration is…I want it for our guys. And…what more can I do? That’s how I view it. In games like this, I look at myself first and what more can I do from a preparation standpoint? Whether it’s game planning, whether it’s practice, whether it’s meetings. I look at every aspect of what I do…I look at in-game calling, decisions we make…I look at all that because I’m frustrated for the players. I always look at me first…win or lose because I’m always trying to get better. I challenge the players consistently to do that…to look at yourself first. How do we as individuals improve so we can collectively improve?”
Sarkisian’s evaluation of the running game
“The running game was tough and we knew that coming in. Good nose tackle, which we talked about. I thought we had some opportunities in the passing game. The run game…when that doesn’t go the way we want it to go…that shifts our style of offense. We have to continue to grind at that. We drop backed pass more today…which I don’t know if that’s the strength of our team. To get to play the style of play that we want to play, we’ve got to find a way to run the football better than we did today.”