Texas Longhorns’ season-long bank heist fell short at the vault

The Texas Longhorns’ luck finally ran out on Monday night, as they suffered a devastating loss in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The team, which had been riding a wave of fortunate breaks throughout the season, looked like frauds as they were outplayed and out-executed by the Washington Huskies.

The game started off with Washington quarterback Michael Penix torching the Burnt Orange secondary, taking advantage of an unconscionable call by UW coach Kalen DeBoer. However, despite the Huskies’ dominance, Texas had multiple opportunities to mount a comeback. Unfortunately, dropped passes, drive-killing fumbles, and numerous penalties nullified any talent advantage the Longhorns had.

One of the most questionable decisions of the game came from DeBoer himself. On a crucial third and three play from the Texas five-yard line in the third quarter, he opted for a run play instead of allowing his Heisman finalist quarterback to make a play. This decision ultimately led to a field goal, squandering a valuable opportunity to score a touchdown.

The Longhorns’ misfortunes were compounded by the injury of Dillon Johnson, which stopped the clock and gave Texas a last chance to score. However, this only highlighted the importance of proper clock management and decision-making. Coaches should take note that fumbles are not the only disastrous outcome that can occur when attempting risky plays.

Despite their shortcomings, Texas had several goal-to-go chances to complete a miraculous comeback. However, their play calling, particularly the repeated use of fade routes, came into question. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will surely lament these final decisions for a long time.

Looking ahead, the Longhorns face an uphill battle as they prepare to join the SEC. Their move to a more competitive conference will present a significantly more difficult schedule, with opponents they cannot overwhelm with resources. The loss in the Sugar Bowl will only serve to remind them of what could have been in their final season before the transition.

As the Longhorns navigate their new conference, they must remember the lessons learned from this devastating defeat. They cannot rely on luck alone to carry them to victory. Instead, they must focus on improving their execution, minimizing mistakes, and making sound decisions on and off the field. Only then can they hope to compete and succeed in the SEC.

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