At the 13:40 mark of the first quarter, it appeared Texas was officially back. Moments later, it became clear the Longhorns were back to being not back.
If something larger than an egg could've been laid at Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, the 23rd-ranked team would've found a way to do it. Instead, in Tom Herman's much-anticipated debut, it settled for a 51-41 loss to Maryland to open the season.
Herman's debut started perfectly, as Holton Hill intercepted the Terrapins 80 seconds into the game and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. The stadium was rocking, Texas had its swagger back (like, for real this time) ... and then came four straight touchdowns from the opposition.
The Longhorns struggled all afternoon to contain the running game. It was reminiscent of the clueless defense they fielded under Charlie Strong a year ago.
Speaking of Strong, it looked for much of the afternoon like he had never left. Texas' special teams, a unit that grew notorious for its untimely meltdowns under its former coach, had three major blunders in the first half while Herman paced the sideline.
Meanwhile, on offense, Buechele was doing well to string together completions, but was left to fend for himself at times, setting the Longhorns back.
Texas made a run in the second half, but could never erase a 20-point first-half deficit. The Longhorns surrendered two fourth-quarter touchdowns to ensure another excruciating loss.
The performance forced fans to bury their heads in disbelief, disappointment, and embarrassment in the first half. In the second half, they threw debris onto the field.
Herman spent all winter touting Texas' new attitude, but after one game, it's clear the program is nowhere near back - unless it's back to the drawing board.
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