Both Texas’ Adrian Phillips and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert had their hands on potential interceptions in the closing seconds of the first half. Both plays resulted in Oklahoma State touchdowns,.
The No. 12 Cowboys opened up an 18-point lead at halftime before beating No. 24 Texas 38-13 Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
The loss dashed the Longhorns’ hopes of running the table in conference play and snapped their six-game winning streak. While Texas now has lost three straight home games to Oklahoma State and has yet to beat a ranked team at home since 2008, it still has a chance to win a Big 12 title.
“We’re not done,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “There’s a lot more ball to play. There’s more games. We have another one at home. We can’t let this one beat us again.”
Never miss a local story.
Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf began the game-turning sequence when he lofted a pass to the end zone that was juggled by Phillips. The ball landed in Tracy Moore’s hands for a touchdown that gave the Cowboys a 21-10 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first half.
“That’s a play I’ve got to make. I make that play every day,” Phillips said. “It just went right through my hands. Sometimes when you roll the dice, it doesn’t go your way.”
Then Gilbert picked off Case McCoy on the ensuing possession and returned the interception 43 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cowboys a 28-10 halftime lead.
“It was awful,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “Things are in great shape there, but they drive it right down the field and score. We’re trying to be aggressive and force a throw, and Gilbert’s a really good player and he made a great play.”
Things went from bad to worse on offense for the Longhorns (7-3, 6-1 Big 12). They went 84 yards on their first drive after halftime but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Anthony Fera. Texas went three-and-out on its next drive before McCoy was intercepted on the following two possessions.
“I was forcing things. No doubt about it,” McCoy said. “If the quarterback goes out and throws three picks, you’re not going to win the ballgame. That very rarely happens. It’s on me. The team knows it’s on me.”
The first of McCoy’s second-half interceptions set up a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chelf to Charlie Moore, giving Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1) a commanding 25-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
“I’m very surprised,” Phillips said of his team’s performance. “We had a good week of practice. But on game day, it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. These are one of the ones you wish you could have back. It’s not a good feeling.”
Chelf accounted for four touchdowns — a pair of early touchdown runs that gave the Cowboys an early 14-3 advantage and two touchdown passes.
“I’m sick,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “It’s starts with coaching. … It’s on us. When we watch the film, players can say this or that, but it starts right up front.”
If the Longhorns win their last two regular-season contests against Texas Tech and Baylor, Texas will win the Big 12 outright if the Bears beat Oklahoma State. If the Cowboys upset Baylor next weekend, Texas still can force a three-way tiebreaker atop the conference standings if it wins out.
“We’re still in November with a conference championship staring us in the face,” Brown said. “They’re disappointed, but they know their goals are still in place. They just don’t control their own destiny. … You can’t let your head down and quit. You’ve got to get back to work.”