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No. 14 ‘Horns Avoid Self-Hooking

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I know that if I found myself watching my favorite team, and saw that they were trailing 21-0 at the end of the first quarter — against an unranked team they should have no trouble with — I would be a bit worried. I know that if I found myself watching the same game, and my team was still trailing, 35-14, at the start of the fourth quarter, I would be sitting on my hands to avoid destroying anything out of anxiety.

The fans at the University of Texas don’t seem to possess the same problem. Not against Oklahoma State, anyway:

2004 — Oklahoma State takes a 35-7 halfway trough the second quarter, but Texas comes storming back to score 49 unanswered points and leave with a 56-35 victory.

2005 — The Cowboys take a 28-12 lead into the locker room, and the Longhorns come out and score 35 unanswered points for a 47-28 victory.

Last weekend, Texas trailed Nebraska 17-3 two and a half minutes into the second half, then came charging back for a 28-17 lead before Nebraska added a late touchdown for appearances’ sake.

Those games were different, though. First of all, those were halftime deficits, and they had the great Vince Young to lead them back to victory those first two times. Vince is in Tennessee now, they aren’t playing lowly Nebraska any more, and this one was looking bleak.

Oklahoma State drove right down the field for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, then intercepted Texas QB Colt McCoy’s first pass attempt for a touchdown, and before everybody had a chance to sit down with their nachos, it was 14-0 Cowboys. Another interception and then another touchdown drive, and OSU was leading 21-0 twenty seconds into the second quarter.

Texas found its legs, notching two quick touchdown drives and forcing an Oklahoma State fumble inside the Texas 30 to cut the lead to 21-14, but the Cowboys buckled down and finished off the first half with a 12-play, 64-yard drive to put the lead back to 14 points.

Texas opened the second half with a drive that looked a lot like their overall game to that point: McCoy completed a pass for 10 yards, ran for another 10 yards, completed a pass for 21 yards, gained another two yards on the ground – and then threw an interception gunning for the end zone. Oklahoma State turned that into a touchdown drive, creating a 35-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

OSU started the fourth by going for it on fourth-and-five from the Texas 35. I appreciate that they didn’t kick a field goal, since they had missed a 50+ yarder before, but I don’t know why they didn’t punt. Texas came back with a touchdown drive, forced the Cowboys to punt, then got a 75-yard touchdown run from Jamaal Charles. One more touchdown drive, and suddenly the game stood at 35-35 with three and a half minutes remaining.

A poor kickoff and penalty by Texas, and suddenly Oklahoma State had the ball first-and-10 at their own 45. Two plays later, after a long pass and a short run, Texas had their backs against the wall, as OSU had second-and-three at the Texas 13-yard line with two-and-a-half minutes left. Texas’ defense did what they had to, stuffing the run on second down and defending the pass on third down, and the Cowboys wound up missing a 32-yard field goal.

Texas got one last shot, and after some progress, the situation looked dire. Fortunately, facing third-and-11 from the Oklahoma State 41, McCoy fired off a 14-yard run for a first down, and two plays later, Texas kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. Another nerve-wracking 38-35 victory. Unless you’re a Longhorns fan, then maybe you know this would happen.

Texas will look to finish out the season in style against Texas Tech and Texas A&M, while Oklahoma State has the poor fortune to host Kansas next week, and they still must face Oklahoma after that.

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