Texas is in Trouble Heading Into Tough October

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Wide receiver James Kirkendoll #11 of the Texas Longhorns runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas.

    Texas is in trouble.

    A home loss to UCLA showed the Longhorns still can't run and can't seem to catch passes anymore.

    And that sturdy defense? The Bruins pushed around Texas for 193 yards on the ground in the second half as UCLA rolled to a 34-12 victory on Saturday.

    What looms next makes Texas' prospects for its usual 10-win season even worse. The Longhorns (3-1) head into October with their annual date with Oklahoma next weekend, then a trip to undefeated Nebraska where the Cornhuskers are aching for payback after last year's Big 12 title game.

    "Just saying the words OU around here gets everybody fired up," Longhorns tailback Fozzy Whittaker said. "We'll have a chance to redeem ourselves."

    The Longhorns dropped 14 spots in the latest AP Top 25 to No. 21.

    The Bruins (2-2), meanwhile, may be on the verge of a bigger season than anyone expected.

    "Who knows? I know that the last time we did this it started a big thing and we're hoping for the same results," Bruins quarterback Kevin Prince said, referring to UCLA's 66-3 win here in 1997.

    Texas has many problems to fix.

    The power running that was the focus of spring drills and fall training seems to be regressing. For the second straight week, Texas rushed for less than 100 yards.

    It wasn't for lack of trying. The Longhorns managed only 3.7 yards on 23 carries behind an offensive line that is struggling to run block and pass protect.

    Quarterback Garrett Gilbert missed a wide open receiver for what should have been an easy touchdown in the first half. He also had a hand in three turnovers in the first half with a fumble on a sack, a botched handoff with D.J. Monroe and an interception in his first loss as a starter. He has three interceptions in the last two games.

    And when Gilbert throws to the right guy, his receivers are showing a nasty trend of dropping the ball. Tight end Barrett Matthews had a particularly rough day with two drops.

    "Catch the ball, it's as simple as that," Garrett said when asked what he learned from the game.

    There were other trouble spots. Curtis Brown fumbled a punt inside the Texas 5 to set up UCLA's first touchdown. A substitution penalty against the defense on fourth down kept a UCLA drive in the fourth quarter.

    Texas did just about everything wrong and the Bruins made them pay for it in every which way. As disasters go, it wasn't on the same level as UCLA's "Rout 66" win in 1997, but it was plenty ugly for the Longhorns record home crowd of 101,437 that booed several times during the game.

    The worst home loss in 13 seasons under coach Mack Brown was also Texas' first since 2007.

    With Oklahoma and Nebraska up next, the program that has lost just two regular-season games in three seasons and played for the national championship last year, is staring at the real possibility of its first three-game losing streak since 1999.

    "This one is embarrassing for me," Brown said. "It's disappointing and stunning. In fact, I'm shocked."

    Out West, the Bruins will be celebrating the victory, the biggest by far under third-year coach Rick Neuheisel, for a while.

    After an 0-2 start, including an ugly 35-0 loss to Pac-10 rival Stanford, the Bruins have consecutive victories over Top 25 opponents.

    "It's up there," Neuheisel said. "To go to this great shrine of a field and stadium and play the way we did is great. Those are memories for a long, long time."

    The Bruins did it with muscle.

    Texas came in with the nation's top-rated rush defense and the Longhorns locked down Bruins rushers in offensive coordinator's Norm Chow's pistol offense in the first half.

    They couldn't do it in the second. UCLA started the third quarter with an eight-play, 80-yard drive to a 20-3 lead on Johnathan Franklin's 11-yard touchdown run.

    "Epic," Franklin said.

    The Bruins step back into the Pac-10 next Saturday against Washington State full of confidence.

    "I truly believed we could play in this game. I truly believed we had a chance," Neuheisel said. "We're moving in the right direction. (It's) too early in the season to start pounding our chests and say 'We're here, but I liked that we found a formula to get better."'