Texas vs. Cal: 3 Things We Learned From The Longhorns' 45-44 Loss

The Texas Longhorns came out with guns a'blazin in Saturday's home game against the Cal Golden Bears, matching Cal's propensity for offensive shootouts with an impressive 24-point performance in the first half.  Things ground to a halt considerably in the third quarter, but Texas finished fast and furious with three breathtaking TD drives. That should have tied it, but THIS happened...

Here's 3 Things We Learned From Texas' 45-44 Loss To California.

1. The Defense Needs Major Work

Both Cal QB Jared Goff and the California running game controlled the tempo for large stretches of Saturday's game, pushing back the Texas defense and exposing holes in both the secondary and front seven. Part of that is the fact that Cal's offense is just THAT GOOD. However, part of this is the fact that Texas' defense has major problems playing the contain game against top-tier competition. Cal killed them all night long all over the field. The Longhorns will need to be MUCH better on D if they're going to survive an extremely tough Big 12 slate to come.

2. Rumors Of Texas' Offensive Demise Were Exaggerated

Tonight's game may have driven the emphatic nail into the coffin of Tyrone Swoopes' Longhorns career. Jerrod Heard wasn't perfect exactly, but he was effective running the offense and providing a leadership spark to keep the Horns offense engaged. Malik Jefferson said during the week that Heard being tabbed the starter was like the young, dynamic QB had been released from a "prison cell." Maybe the entire Texas offense has been liberated? It sure looked so tonight.

3. We Have No Clue How We're Supposed To Assess This Team

Some bold critics came into year two of the Charlie Strong era calling this a make-or-break year when it comes to the on-field progress of the Longhorns. Some adopted a wait-and-see tact, pointing out that Strong's complete program makeover will need time to cycle in blue-chip talent and enact his entire vision. We're in the middle here. Texas is an elite name program which draws in top recruits like clockwork, so we have a hard time excusing losses as merely part of the plan. However, we still can't completely condemn Texas after what was a furious comeback on Saturday and a fluke loss.

So, we're lost.

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Related Topics: Big 12 Football, NCAA, Jared Goff, Cal Golden Bears, Jerrod Heard, Texas Football, Texas Longhorns Football