Earlier last week, Brown referenced Texas 13-of-27 for 131 yards and three INT showing against Nebraska as "not good enough". Young, apparently, took the challenge personally and turned in his most complete game in his fourth start, including that magnificent 67-yard TD strike to SE Roy Williams just before intermission.
"We took the momentum back the last five minutes of the first half and then dominated the third quarter," Brown said.
The TD toss to Roy "was perfect", Brown added, and the throw across the middle to TE Bo Scaife "went right between two defenders, and he got hit hard and knocked down by a blitzing linebacker right after he let the ball go. I thought all of his throws were special throws."
But arguably Youngs best play of the night was one that never showed up in the stat sheet. Brown was particularly impressed with the completion to FL Tony Jeffery nullified after officials ruled Young had crossed the line of scrimmage.
"He was really close to the line, he was barely over," Brown said. "That was such an awareness play. Thats a sack by most players, and he stepped up, and then stepped to his right and then finds the open receiver, so hes doing a much better job of feeling the pressure and keeping his eyes downfield because hes such a running threat. When he gets so he can do both out of the pocket, its really going to cause problems."
At the same time, the defense was finally able to consistently harass QB Josh Fields after intermission.
"We got more pressure on the quarterback in the second half and Josh didnt get to hold the ball as much," Brown said. "When you get to the quarterback and you hit him, and you hit him, and you hit him, its tougher for him to play in the fourth quarter than it is the first."
The defense recorded two sacks and twelve QB pressures.
"I thought one of the keys was (DE) Kalen Thorntons sack in the second half," Brown said. "It sent a message that we were going to come after them. (MLB) Aaron Harris put some pressure on them (note: thats putting it mildly. Harris laid one of his patented wicked hits on Fields midway through third quarter) and then (DT) Rodrique Wright had a sack and the guys just started getting around (Fields) and making him get rid of the ball more and throw the ball before they were ready to make their breaks down field."
Fields finished 11-of 31 for 149 yards and two INT, including CB Nathan Vashers pick on the Cowboys second offensive series. The play set up FB Will Matthews 2-yard TD plunge. More important, Vasher blanketed WR Rashaun Woods all night, limiting the Big 12s leading receiver to just 43 yards on four catches.
"Ive never seen Nathan Vasher play better," Brown said. "The interception early (on OSUs second possession) turned the momentum of the game back in our favor. Rashaun Woods is going to make his plays, but I thought Nathan played him as well as anyone possibly can in man coverage, and we did a good job in zone."
Brown praised the O-line for protecting Young against "a sack team that brings pressure." He said the line gave up no sacks against the Cowboys.
Although backup QB Chance Mock only saw action during one first-half series, Texas will continue to use both quarterbacks.
"He can run those same plays that Vince is running," Brown said, "Its just that no one in America is going to look like Vince running them. The guy is just a phenomenal athlete with the ball in his hands."
Brown was asked why it is that his teams seem to play their best following a loss to Oklahoma, and this was his response:
"Ive been accused of being a guy that hasnt been tough. Number one, if youre not tough you cant keep this job because its a hard job. Number two, Ive been accused of being too sensitive. If youre really sensitive, you couldnt stay after losing to Oklahoma. The thing weve done the best job of is that we havent worried about the critics. Weve gone back to work. And our players have enough toughness and strength and character that they dont sit and listen to all the negative things. They try to work on the things that we are doing well and be positive. I am not a guy that will sit and listen to everything thats said and start changing philosophies. Were going to do what we feel like is best and, at the same time, Im not stubborn enough to where if something is not working, well go fix it. I really believe those are the key elements that we have after a tough loss."
I include this because, for a guy who insists hes not concerned about the toughness issue, Brown tends to interject the topic even when it is (at best) peripheral to the question being asked. (Its sort of like when fat, bald guys keep insisting that it really doesnt bother them that they are fat, bald guys.) To his credit, Brown does not allow his team to crater following a disappointment and has not lost consecutive games in four seasons. Its just the team has cratered in the highest profile games of the season (four Oklahoma games, 2001 Big 12 Championship game, and last season when a win at Texas Tech would have led to a shot at the league title).
Regardless, the Horns are surging and may not even be close to peaking. And BCS officials continue to take note.
Texas last home game of 2003 is set for 6 p.m. (CST) Saturday (Fox Sports Net broadcast).