All the pressure on Mack Brown combined with the criticism of Case McCoy not living up to his brother’s success and performances while he was playing for Texas didn’t matter, as the Longhorns ended a three game losing streak in the Red River Rivalry, re-opening their chances of actually ending up in a BCS Bowl game.
The Big 12 seems more open than in the past this year, even with two losses (although none of them against conference rivals), and as Baylor and Texas Tech keep on winning. Texas haven’t looked impressive this season, lucking out in their 31-30 win over Iowa State thanks to an official mistake, not to mention their terrible performances on defense against Ole Miss and BYU.
And still, this team deserves more credit than being viewed as one big walking failure, while blaming it all on their head coach, who has found it hard over the last three years to recover from losing Colt McCoy to the NFL and in that BCS national championship game.
With the offense still sluggish, as McCoy threw for 190 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, it was the balance the running game brought, getting 123 yards from Johnathan Gray and 120 from Malcolm Brown, but getting their biggest boost from special teams and defense, as Chris Whaley returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first half to give Texas a 7 point lead, while Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards in the third quarter to put Texas 17 points away from Oklahoma, pretty much ending the game.
It was the first time since a 2009 game vs Colorado that Texas scored a touchdown off an interception and a return in the same game.
Somebody said after the game that when you win they shut up. That’s kind of fun. But it’s not what I want to win for. I really don’t. I just want to win. I didn’t think I was very emotional at all. I thought I did a great, great job. Besides that, you all wanted me to be more emotional than I was in the past. I had 97 cameras in my face. … I thought I was appropriately really happy. This thing goes in streaks. And I guess we’ve won five of the last nine now. For you that’s counting. I’m happy for the seniors. You shouldn’t leave this school without beating Oklahoma at least once.
This doesn’t take Mack Brown off the hot seat, as it takes more than just one impressive win to get your old untouchable status back, if that’s possible at all. What does matter is Texas going 3-0 this season in the Big 12, and their defense forcing two turnovers out of the Sooners and limiting their offense to only 263 yards. It was also a rare case of the Longhorns beating an opponent inside the top 15 (Oklahoma were number 12) while not being ranked themselves.
Things aren’t going to get that much easier for Texas en route to something of reclaiming their lost honor. TCU and West Virginia on the road before a brutal finish that includes Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor, with the Bears coming on the road for them. Beating Oklahoma was just the beginning, but we need to see more from the Longhorns before we’re convinced that the Red Rivalry win was more than just a one time thing.