No. 1: The bungled onside vs. Texas
Anything that happens when the Red Raiders play Texas is magnified. It’s the most important game of the year for public perception and beating the Longhorns does more for a head coach’s reputation than anything else.
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As you likely recall, Wells had a tremendous opportunity to secure a much-needed win over UT this season as his team led by 15 points in the closing minutes. But it all quickly came unraveled.
The point when the sense of doom set in for certain across the Red Raider fandom was when Zech McPhearson couldn’t corral a UT onside kick with 2:39 to play. Had he secured that ball, it would have been nearly impossible for the Longhorns to complete their comeback but since he didn’t, the Red Raiders’ grip on the lead became less than tenuous.
There really wasn’t any reason for McPhearson not to come down with the ball. It hit him right in the hands. And as he proved this year, he has a knack for coming up with the football as he had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
But the most important recovery he could have come up with slipped right through his hands. Just a few plays later, Texas would tie the game and at that point, every Red Raider knew what was about to happen.
From a larger perspective, this was the moment when the Red Raiders’ season went from being full of hope to just another disappointment. Had Tech taken down a UT team that was ranked no. 8 at the time, it would have potentially set the 2020 team up for a surprising run thanks to the confidence it would have imbued them with.
However, when that onside kick bounced out of McPhearson’s grasp, any belief that this season was going to be any different than the previous four bounced out of our minds. And when hope is lost, that’s the worst possible moment one can experience.