AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kicked again.
Or is it more like whiffed again?
One week after a special teams gaffe cost the Texas Longhorns a big win, another one struck again. This time, a muffed punt set up Oklahoma State for a game-winning, 40-yard field goal with 6 seconds left that sent the Cowboys to their fourth straight win in Austin and sent the Longhorns to one of their worst starts in more than 50 years.
Ben Grogan kicked the tying field goal with 1:33 left, then drilled the winner as the Cowboys overcame two defensive touchdowns by Texas and erratic play from quarterback Mason Rudolph.
The winning kick came after Texas freshman punter Michael Dickson, an Australian Rules Football player, dropped the deep snap and scrambled to get his left foot on a 10-yard punt that put Oklahoma State on theLonghorns 18 with 36 seconds left.
“It was definitely an ‘oh-no’ situation,” Texas safety Duke Thomas said.
It was also a gut punch of a loss for the second week in a row. A week earlier, Nick Rose’s missed extra point with 71 seconds left stopped a 20-point rally in a 45-44 loss to California.
“Two straight Saturdays you had it right there in your hands and let it slip away,” coach Charlie Strong said.
The coach had his own major miscue in the fourth quarter. Strong was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for complaining to an official about a penalty. That put the ball on the Texas 19, eventually setting up Grogan’s 41-yard field goal that tied it at 27.
Strong didn’t reveal what he said to the official but said he was surprised the penalty was called.
“I probably shouldn’t have got the call I got, but I got upset and got to learn to just control my composure,” Strong said.
Rudolph passed for 290 yards and a touchdown for Oklahoma State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), but also had three turnovers and by the fourth quarter was rotating with former starter J.W. Walsh. Jerrod Heard passed for 119 yards and ran for 48 for Texas (1-3, 0-1), but the Longhorns managed only one offensive touchdown a week after Heard set a school record with 527 total yards.
The Cowboys nearly blew their chance at the end. Trying to set up the winning kick after the botched punt, Oklahoma State was penalized for a false start with 10 seconds left, but because it still had a timeout wasn’t hit with an automatic 10-second runoff that would have ended regulation.
Grogan trotted back out and calmly drilled the winner. Texas had two timeouts left but didn’t try to ice him.
“I had already had it in my head that I was going to have to kick the game winner, so I was ready for it,” Grogan said. “But I was surprised to see that fumble. I just tried not to lose my composure.”
The Longhorns are just 5-22 in their last 27 games against ranked opponents and last started 1-3 in 1956, the year before Darrell Royal arrived and built the program into a national power. In 1993, Texas started 1-3-1 but at least had the tie and a win before dropping its third loss.
Oklahoma State is the first team to beat Texas four straight times in Austin. The Cowboys’ win streak dates back to 2010.
During the game, Texas honored its 2005 national championship, which was coached by Strong’s predecessor, Mack Brown. Brown’s 2009 team also played for another national title, but he was fired in 2013 after four years without a Big 12 title. Strong is 7-10 in his second season.
“Both (losses) we were inches away from a win,” Texas senior guard Sedrick Flowers said. “In my opinion, that’s what makes it more frustrating. A loss hurts regardless, but when it’s by that much, it hurts you deeper inside.”