STILLWATER, Okla. – As things turned out, Texas had many more concerns besides Sam Ehlinger's strained shoulder.
Oklahoma State exposed almost every one. A nightmarish first half turned into a 38-35 Cowboys victory Saturday night.
At the end, a scrum brought Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on the field upset at Texas' Breckyn Hager, followed by an angry Longhorns coach Tom Herman. The two coaches hugged it out at midfield afterward.
"I thought Mike had come out and was having words with one of our players," Herman said afterward. "We go way back. I have no issues."
Texas will probably take a tumble from No. 6 in the AP Top 25. The six-game winning streak is history. Any serious talk about the College Football Playoff is over, although the Longhorns (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) are still tied for first in the Big 12 with Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Herman described the locker room as dejected.
"I love the fact that one loss hurt that bad," Herman said. "We have guys in tears. ... That means we're headed in the right direction in terms of the attitude of football and the belief in how we do things."
For now, the goals are much more focused and immediate, like fixing what happened before West Virginia and quarterback Will Grier visit in a week.
"The future is very bright," Herman said. "There are only a couple of other teams with one loss in the Big 12."
Even with all mistakes, Texas had the chance for a fourth-quarter comeback, just like the epic ones under Vince Young and Colt McCoy.
Like the opener against Maryland, Texas couldn't come all the way back from a 17-point deficit. After Tre Watson scored from a yard out with 1:46 remaining to bring Texas within 3, Oklahoma State recovered an onside kick attempt.
Oklahoma State (5-3, 2-3) lit up Texas for 260 yards in the first quarter alone and 378 yards in the first half en route to 513 yards total offense. Under fire from the Cowboys fan base after the slow Big 12 start, senior Taylor Cornelius threw three touchdown passes in the first half, two on fourth down, and ran for two more.
Starting Texas cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Davante Davis missed the first quarter, suspended after being late for a team function. While Oklahoma State took advantage of Boyd replacement, Kobe Boyce, Boyd wasn't much better when he returned. He had no answers for Tylan Wallace, who finished with 10 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive explosion was a surprise. Oklahoma State had only managed 311 yards for the game in a loss to Kansas State.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Texas. The Longhorns jumped offside on a fake punt look by Oklahoma State late in the second quarter and saw a 44-yard completion from Ehlinger to Collin Johnson negated by a holding penalty.
Ehlinger, who had spent two weeks rehabbing a first-degree shoulder strain, ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more and didn't seem to favor the injury.
While Ehlinger (22 of 42 for 283 yards) struggled early throwing into tight coverage, he led the second-half comeback.
A 78-yard drive in the third quarter ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to running back Keaontay Ingram, who had run a wheel route.
Texas closed to within 31-28 when Ehlinger rolled right and found Andrew Beck for a 10-yard touchdown on a perfectly executed jump pass.
Then the comeback stalled. Brandon James fielded an Oklahoma State punt and was tackled at the Texas 2, forcing a Texas punt out of the end zone.
Oklahoma State took advantage of the short field with Cornelius bulling his way for a 10-yard touchdown and a 38-28 lead with 5:44 remaining.
"It's not the end of the world," Ehlinger said. "We're gonna learn from it and get better."