Texas 31 - Oregon State 27
Seniors step up in the fourth quarter to lead the Longhorns to an Alamo Bowlvictory
For three quarters, the Texas Longhorns looked tired and disinterested, just another disappointing night in a disappointing season. But down 17-27 midway through the fourth quarter, the Longhorn senior leadership flexed their muscles and came up with the plays required to beat the No. 13 Oregon State Beavers and win the Alamo Bowl 31-27.
Major Applewhite, calling his first game as offensive coordinator, didn’t resort to trick plays or finesse offense. Applewhite kept the Oregon State defense on their heels when the game was on the line, and David Ash found the yards he needed —whether throwing the ball to senior Marquis Goodwin or junior Jaxon Shipley or simply running it into the end zone himself.
Ash missed on seemingly simple passes, but he also found plays when the Longhorns needed them. He was brilliant in the fourth quarter, going nine of 11 passing and scrambling for a game-changing first down. Ash ended the night 21 of 33 for 241 yards, with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.
The real hero of this game might be defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. The much-maligned Texas defense kept the Longhorns in the game.
The real hero of this game might be defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. The much-maligned Texas defense kept the Longhorns in the game. Honestly, it was Alex Okafor who turned into a one-man sack machine, chasing Oregon State’s quarterback all over the Beaver backfield and coming up with 4.5 sacks.
In fact, the Texas defense spent most of the night in the Oregon State backfield, finishing with 10 sacks and backing up the Beaver offense 81 yards. Add in two interceptions and a fumble recovery, and you have the recipe for a last-minute win.
That’s the way it ended, even though it started ugly. The Longhorns didn’t get a first down until well into the second quarter, and, with a blocked field goal attempt, the team appeared disoriented throughout the first half. Credit the Texas defense with keeping the Horns in the game, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble in the first half.
As a result, Texas never trailed by more than 10 points, and a different team came out of the locker room for the second half. When Texas needed it, the playmakers delivered.
Johnathan Gray managed only 18 yards rushing, but he caught a terrific pass from Ash, who escaped a near-certain sack, and then ran 15 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown that put Texas within a field goal. Then senior wide-out Marquis Goodwin, who destroyed the Beaver secondary all night, caught a game-wining, 36-yard touchdown with just 2:30 left.
The win feels good for Longhorn fans, but it’s no harbinger of things to come. The stars of this game will not be back next season, as it was the seniors who came up big to win the game. That said, Marquis Goodwin and Alex Okafor will likely be playing in the NFL next year.
As for the next year’s team, there is still work to be done. Ash has yet to prove he is the quarterback of the future, and Applewhite has a lot of work to do on the offensive game planning.
Against Oregon State, running back Johnathan Gray was handed the ball only seven times. Both the quarterback and the rushing commitment will need to be addressed if Texas is to enter the college football elite.
Still, the Texas Longhorns managed a come-from-behind win against the No. 13 ranked BCS football team. The momentum from a bowl win, especially against a good team, can carry over into the next year.