Things aren’t getting any better for Texas who looked a bit more respectable in a 20-17 loss to UCLA, but it did come against a backup quarterback in Jerry Neuheisel while the team actually managed to somehow mess up a coin toss and give up their possession on both kick offs.
How did it happen? UCLA won the coin toss but decided to defer their decision to the second half. What did the Texas players do? Choose to kickoff. The referee was stunned and tried explaining to them what was going on, but they decided to start twice on defense, which meant giving UCLA and extra possession they didn’t even have to work for. Jim Mora later said he felt that the decision might have won the game for his team.
Most of the Bruins’ expectations and hopes for this season have something to do with Brett Hundley playing big. However, their quarterback went down in the first quarter after a bad fall on his non-throwing elbow, hitting the ground hard. That meant Jerry Neuheisel, son of a former quarterback and coach for UCLA, took over and after a slow start from the sophomore he completely took over the game, which included throwing two touchdown passes.
The first was a very clever yet risky lob pass from three yards into the end zone, finding Nate Iese to tie the game at 10-10. It didn’t stop Texas from taking the lead again later on, but it threw UCLA out of the shock they were in after losing Hundley to an injury. His second touchdown pass won the game. finding Jordan Payton down the sidelines for a 33-yard touchdown, as the Junior took off after catching the ball with no Texas player being able to touch him.
This wasn’t the humiliating affair Texas suffered against BYU at Austin. Things went a bit different in Jerry World, but Charlie Strong once again found out a bit more in regard to the quality of this current team, which isn’t saying much. Tyrone Swoopes was solid once again with 196 passing yards and two touchdown passes, yet Texas continue to struggle in so many areas around the field, it’s hard to see what was the reason of being optimistic at all when this season began.
Maybe the best tell of where Texas are right now as a program was the attendance. Slightly more than 60,000 came to the AT&T stadium to watch the Longhorns, playing three hours away from campus. Playing a ranked team didn’t help. The loss to BYU and the deflation of the excitement balloon following the sacking of Mack Browns means expectations are at an all-time low, which is very weird coming from one of the most demanding fan bases in the nation.