Brown: Young's Clutch Completion Kept Him In Game

The halftime lead was dwindling while the defensive pressure was escalating, so what would ultimately convince head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>to stick with backup QB <B>Vince Young </B>-- especially after the redshirt freshman was helped to the sideline after what many feared as a season-ending ankle injury? It was that clutch, 12-yard completion to SE <B>Roy Williams </B>on third down halfway through the third quarter.

The rest, as they say, is Burnt Orange history. But on 3rd-and-five at the Texas 35, Young staked his claim to finishing the game (and perhaps a starting assignment) when he deftly completed a sideline pass to Williams to momentarily mitigate a Kansas State uprising. That 9-play, 55-yard drive would result in RB Cedric Benson’s fumble at the Wildcat 15, but Brown had seen enough of Young to know which QB, at least on this occasion, would give Texas the best chance of winning.

"When he stepped forward and threw that out (pass) to Roy, he seemed so calm and he seemed to have a rhythm that got us started in that quarter," Brown said during Sunday’s media teleconference.

At the same time, Young was making "four, six, eight yards every time…we were really impressed by his composure and confidence on that last drive."

That last drive, of course, covered 88 yards with just under 10 minutes remaining, after K-State erased a 14-point halftime deficit and jumped to a 20-17 fourth quarter lead. Texas avoided disaster when SS Phillip Geiggar stripped a scrambling QB Ell Roberson of the ball at the UT 12 after Nathan Vasher mishandled a Jared Brite punt.

At this point, the chatter in the press box was who Brown would send in for the game-winning drive. At this point, the team had given up 57 yards in sacks and Young’s ankle had just been bandaged on the sideline.

"Vince showed a lot about his toughness," Brown said of the winning drive. "The yards he made with his feet slowed down their pass rush and allowed him to make some throws."

No toss was bigger, of course, than Young’s 52-yard deep ball to backup FL Tony Jeffery. Equally dramatic was Young’s quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches that resulted in the winning score.

"When we talked about ‘finish’ and ’toughness’, this has to give our team a lot of confidence to be able to come back," Brown said.

Kansas State had two more possessions following Young’s touchdown, the first rushing score the ‘Cats have given up all year. But the defense, stoked by the sixth largest home crowd in Texas football history, kept KSU pinned on their own end of the field.

"That’s the loudest I’ve heard the stadium in the six years that we’ve been here," Brown said. "I thought the fans made the difference, especially when our defense is on the field. In fact, one of the Kansas State players said it was as loud as he’s ever heard it."

The Texas defense gave up 11 explosives (runs of 12-plus yards and completions of 14-plus yards) while the offense produced but four -- "but they all led to points, like last year," Brown said. The bend-not-break defense forced nine three-and-outs and allowed Texas to win the time of possession battle (33:13-26:47).

The only disappointment, Brown said, was the blocking -- particularly in sealing off pressure from the outside. Brown said his three interior linemen (C Jason Glynn, RG Tillman Holloway, LG Will Allen) "played great" while Glynn "had his best game as a Longhorn."

Garnet Smith, the first team MLB injured during the New Mexico State game, suited up against K-State but did not play. After backup Brian Robison was sidelined for one quarter due to an apparent shoulder injury, sophomore Aaron Harris stepped up and laid some serious wood while the game was on the line.

"He made some big hits and definitely made a difference in the fourth quarter," Brown said. "He was in on some of those big plays."

The teleconference contained the usual pre-Oklahoma coach-speak about how amazing they are and nearly impossible to beat, but there will be no shortage of that this week.

The Horns and the top-ranked Sooners will tee it off for the 97th time at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, in the Cotton Bowl.

Horns Digest Top Stories