1. What led to the Cowboys first half lead?
It started with the opening kickoff return as Robert Jones' 53-yard return put Oklahoma State in great field position. The advantage wasn't wasted as Vernand Morency, who finished with 100yards on 20 carries, took an option pitch 34 yards to set up the first touchdown.
The Cowboys enjoyed good field position the entire half, and two interceptions thrown by Texas quarterback Vincent Young didn't hurt. Both resulted in touchdowns. Morency ran the ball well; as did Donovan Woods. Plus Woods-to-Woods was a good connection three times. including a 45-yard one-handed catch by D'Juan Woods that was as good as any catch older brother Rashaun ever made.
The crowd was out of it, and Texas was out of sync, especially on defense. The only negative of the entire half came early when cornerback Darrent Williams came out with his right forearm likely re-broken.
2. What turned the game around in Texas' favor?
Beware of Late First Half Drives, as I believe you can chalk it up to that final drive of the first half (see accompanying story). Texas moved the ball 80 yards and cut the OSU lead to a manageable 21 points.
Vincent Young, who set his career record passing in Stillwater last season, had been struggling in the throwing game. But he hit seven of eight passes to boost his confidence for more to come in the second half. That late first half drive flipped the ignition switch on Texas, and when the Longhorns get it going they simply have more talent than Oklahoma State.
"You have to have people within your team that are momentum changers," said head coach Les Miles. "Guys that go out and make a play, they find a way to get the defense off the field or on offense they go make a play that sets up or creates a score. That didn't happen for way too long a time against a very good football team. You have to have somebody that says I'm not going to take this anymore."
3. Did Texas do much different in the second half?
The answer is no. The plays Texas ran on offense were plays they ran in the first half, minus a reverse with freshman Ramonce Taylor that worked twice, the second time for a 48-yard touchdown. They also used a Utah pass to Benson for a nice gain, but that was about it in the trickery or adjustment department.
On defense they turned up the aggression. Texas blitzed in the first half, but they added a little more fire to the storm with each touchdown in the second half. They could feel the Cowboys' confidence dissipating, and they took full advantage of it. Cowboy quarterback Donovan Woods said it looked like they made some adjustments, but the only real adjustment that they made was they took their effort up a big notch.
4. Who is to blame for the Cowboy collapse?
No problem here, or no shortage. The finger can point around the locker room. The Cowboys were predictable on offense with a run, run, pass pattern in the third period. The blocks, runs, passes and catches that were made in the first half weren't made in the second half.
On defense the missed tackles started adding up and the tight ends from Texas seemed to be open the entire second half. There was little pass rush on Young, who sat back in the shotgun and did his best Reggie McNeal impression. Cole Farden even hit a couple of short punts, including a 25-yarder after a botched fake. Calls and execution all struggled in the second half.
"We just needed a couple of plays to turn the momentum back around our way," said linebacker Pagitte McGee, "but it never did."
5. Where does the loss leave OSU in the bowl scenario?
They are needing a win to start with. If OU and Texas win out and both go to the BCS, then Oklahoma State is in pretty good shape. If the Cowboys beat Baylor and Texas Tech, and Texas A&M loses to Texas, then they could wind up back in the Cotton Bowl or the Holiday Bowl. If they finish 7-4 then they are likely to end up in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. If they lose out then start thinking Houston or Shreveport.
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