For the second week in a row, Texas appeared headed to overtime until a critical kicking mistake cost the Longhorns at the worst possible time. Instead of Nick Rose missing an extra point, this time it was punter Michael Dickson watching a long snap split his hands and hit him in the face mask, costing Texas a chance at overtime and instead setting up a 40-yard Ben Grogan field goal with six seconds left as No. 24 Oklahoma State escaped Austin with a 30-27 victory.
The win lifts Oklahoma State to 4-0 (1-0 Big 12) and drops Texas to 1-3 (0-1 Big 12) for the first time since 1956.
Dickson’s mistake was the final in a long list miscues and coin flip calls that went against the Longhorns. Texas had two touchdowns and a long interception return taken off the board due to penalty, the latter thanks to a dubious pass interference call on Paul Boyette, Jr. The Longhorns, leading 27-24 deep in the fourth quarter, were also called for a defensive holding call on tackle Poona Ford in which ESPN cameras and commentators struggled to find an infraction. The flag was compounded by an unsportsmanlike conduct call against head coach Charlie Strong, directly leading to a 41-yard Grogan field goal that tied the game with 1:33 to play. It was at the end of the ensuing possession that Dickson failed to snag the punt snap, allowing the Cowboys to win a game in which quarterback Mason Rudolph started fast and ended miserably.
The sophomore led an Oklahoma State offense that came out firing, marching 144 yards in 14 plays over its first two drives as the Cowboys staked a 14-3 lead. But Rudolph and the Pokes created more offense for Texas than themselves from that point on, as Rudolph lost a fumble that Hassan Ridgeway returned 34 yards for a touchdown that allowed Texas to pull within 14-13 in the second quarter and threw a 41-yard pick six to Holton Hill that led Texas reclaim a 27-24 lead with 1:34 to play in the third quarter.
A week after Jerrod Heard and the Texas offense electrified the crowd and carried the team, the ‘Horns attack struggled to gain momentum against a tough Oklahoma State front. Texas ran for 158 yards in the first half, and only 13 in the second as Emmanuel Ogbah and company sacked Heard seven times while permitting him only two completions in eight second-half tries. For the day the redshirt freshman completed 9-of-17 throws for 119 yards and an interception while being credited with 48 yards on 19 carries. Johnathan Gray led the Texas ground efforts with 55 yards on 11 carries – but 56 of them came on one rush. Tyrone Swoopes returned to action as an effective short-yardage back, rushing three times for 35 yards and a score.
Oddly enough, it was the defense that carried Texas for much of the day. Oklahoma State rushed for only 103 yards on 46 carries, while Rudolph threw for 290 yards, but also threw two interceptions – on back-to-back throws – and lost a fumble. Mike Gundy alternated between Rudolph and J.W. Walsh toward the end of the game, and gave up on throwing completely on the Pokes’ final two drives.
Overall, Oklahoma State out-gained Texas 395-290, held a 26-11 first downs advantage, converted 9-of-17 third downs while holding the ‘Horns to 4-of-16, and benefitted from 16 Texas penalties. And, of course, watched one fateful snap rip through Dickson’s hands.