STILLWATER- Through four consecutive weeks, Oklahoma State's young receivers rose up in Dez Bryant's absence.
Racked up receptions and touchdowns, ripping through and over Grambling State, Texas A&M, Missouri and Baylor.
Teams that won't remind anyone of Texas.
And on the grand stage Saturday night, a final proving ground for the receivers, no one in orange reminded anyone of Bryant.
In the early going, OSU's wideouts appeared uneasy in the brighter spotlight.
"I'd like to think not, but maybe a little bit," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "Their reactions on the sideline was good; their faces were OK.
"But if so, you hope they got that out of their system."
In the first quarter alone, Hubert Anyiam dropped a touchdown pass, Dameron Fooks dropped a third-down conversion pass and Fooks and tight end Justin Horton seemed to trip each other up crossing on a route near the Texas goal line.
With the Cowboys down 10-0, yet driving in UT territory, Zac Robinson fired a throw for Fooks, who let Longhorns defensive back Curtis Brown out-muscle him for position, pick off the pass and race 78 yards for a touchdown.
Anyiam also lost a fumble, putting a bad ending on one catch.
"We've got to be able to make the plays when we get an opportunity to make those plays, explosive plays," said Cowboys co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer. "We didn't come up with those.
"We've got to do a better job in the receiving corps. We knew those guys were going to play us tight, play us press coverage."
The Cowboys knew that these were the Longhorns, a much different animal than the Aggies and Tigers and Bears.
"Yeah, it's noticeable," Anyiam said. "They're much faster. They're not young. We played A&M, they had a lot of young DBs; inexperienced.
"It wasn't no surprise. We knew they were good. We just had to come out and make plays."
Cowboys wide receivers had proved plentiful in numbers and catches in recent weeks. But against Texas, the wideouts combined for just 11 catches and 127 yards.
And there were no big plays.
Anyiam regretted his own lost opportunities, especially a toss that would have given OSU a first-quarter lead.
Going on fourth-and-8 from the UT 32, Robinson beat the blitz, lobbing a pass for Anyiam, who had a step on a Texas defender. The ball hit his hands, then jarred loose as he fell to the turf.
"My vision got cut off with the ball," said Anyiam, who led OSU receivers with five catches and 62 yards. "I still should have made the play. I had the ball in my hands at the last second. When I hit the ground, the impact popped the ball out."
The kind of play Bryant made look routine.
"Me and the other receivers, we gave good effort," Anyiam said. "We were pumped up for the game, days before the game, right after the Baylor win.
"We just didn't make the plays we're supposed to make at this level."