There are no magic tricks to fix an ailing program as Charlie Strong learned, losing for the first time as the head coach of Texas with a humiliating home defeat against BYU which did introduce a new Longhorns quarterback, Tyrone Swoops, but that was too little and obviously not enough against the Cougars, running all over the defense that stood in front of them.
This was a game of grinding, and eventually, the Texas defense couldn’t hold on anymore against BYU’s running game, giving up 28 points in the third quarter. Their offense wasn’t much better: Texas scored their first points with 29 seconds left in the third quarter as Swoopes, a sophomore starting for the first time, found John Harris for a 13-yard touchdown. BYU didn’t score any passing touchdowns, but their quarterback, Taysom Hill, had other ways of inflicting damage.
BYU ran for 248 yards on 59 carries, including 99 by Hill who also crossed the goalline into the endzone three times. Adam Hine added two touchdowns himself, while their defense allowed just 258 yards of offense from Texas, including a very poor 82 yards on 35 carries (2.3 per carry) and forcing four turnovers on the home team.
The writing was on the wall. Texas have been suspending players left and right. David Ash is out with a concussion and the offensive line that tried to protect Swoopes had five career starts between them. Last year’s 40-21 win by BYU over the Longhorns was embarrassing for Texas, but this beat down in Austin was at a whole other level, although it shouldn’t have been something that unexpected considering the vibes Strong has been sending to his team and the media in the week leading up to the game.
BYU don’t have conference titles to be worried about, but they do have the kind of schedule that makes you wonder if they’re a sleeper pick for the playoffs this season. No ranked teams on the schedule right now, with their toughest road games being visits to UCF, Boise State and California. They’ve been UConn and Texas by allowing just 8.5 points per game. At some point, they might stop flying under the radar of the committee for the playoffs.
It is an embarrassment. It is an embarrassment to this program and an embarrassment to the university. It almost feels like we went back to Utah. We gave up 28 points in the quarter. You can’t do that if you think you’re going to play great defense.
Last year’s loss against BYU got a defensive coordinator fired. It was another point on the timeline that eventually pushed Mack Brown out of the program. Strong made it seem like this game would be a test to show how Texas have improved from last year. Instead, it served as proof of just how big the mess is in Austin, and how this season won’t be the year in which the Longhorns get back on the right track.