Texas Longhorns Notebook: Mack Brown looking at OU after ’embarrassing’ loss to UCLA

Texas Longhorns Notebook: Mack Brown looking at OU after ’embarrassing’ loss to UCLA

Kevin Flaherty – FOXSportsSouthwest.com and LonghornsDigest.com

Mack Brown cautioned last week that Texas doesn’t typically play well the week before the Red River Shootout.

He turned out to be downright prophetic, as the Longhorns turned in their worst effort of the season in losing 34-12 to unranked UCLA. The Longhorns turned the ball over five times (seven, if you count a pair of failed fourth-down conversions) to lose to a team that entered the game with a 1-2 record, including a 35-0 loss to Stanford.

The Longhorns out-gained the Bruins by 58 yards, but allowed UCLA to rush for 193 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. In the first half, Texas held UCLA to 71 rushing yards and 77 total yards. The Bruins still scored 13 points in the second quarter, thanks largely to a pair of fumbles that set up 10 points.

Brown called the game “embarrassing,” and said it reminded him of Texas’s 41-21 loss to Kansas State in 2007. In that game, the Longhorns out-gained the Wildcats and allowed a kickoff return and a punt return for a touchdown, while the Wildcats returned one of Colt McCoy’s four interceptions for another score.

* Long runs were the bane of Texas’s defense on Saturday. The Bruins broke eight runs of 10-plus yards and three of longer than 25 yards.

Those big plays made up the bulk of UCLA’s rushing yardage. The Bruins rushed for 177 yards on those eight carries, including touchdowns of 11, 38 and 29 yards. After discounting four sacks and three team rushes (which totaled minus-44 yards), the Bruins rushed for 131 yards on their other 41 carries, or just under 3.2 yards per carry.

* Texas failed to get the ball down the field when passing in the first half. Garrett Gilbert completed 13-of-19 passes in the half, or 68 percent, but threw for just 65 yards. Those completions included passes of 14, 12 and 11 yards, meaning that Gilbert passed for just 28 yards on his other 10 completions.

In the second half, despite playing without injured receiver Mike Davis (three catches for 34 yards in the first half), Gilbert completed 17-of-26 passes for 199 yards.

* The Longhorns did have one positive heading into the Red River Shootout: the play of sophomore D.J. Monroe at running back. Monroe rushed for 51 yards on his six carries, including a 23-yard run.

Monroe’s small stature (5-foot-9, 171 pounds) will likely prevent him from ever becoming an every-down back. But his size, his shiftiness and speed to the edge give Texas a big-play threat in the running game against any defense.

Monroe was a running back and defensive back in high school, but he started his Texas career as a receiver. Even there, he was dangerous in the run game — Monroe rushed for 143 yards, at 6.2 per pop, a year ago, including three carries for 33 yards against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.