Brown: Biggest Comeback Result Of 'Two Games'

Texas played "two games" during Saturday's 56-35 win over Oklahoma State at DKR, head coach Mack Brown said Sunday, and both "games" combined to produce the biggest comeback win in Longhorn history.

"We'll talk to (players) hard about how it was just two games," Brown said. "You had to play perfect in the second half to flip the momentum and we're really proud of that. But let's go back and study why we didn't start better. Since it was two different halves in the two games, let's figure out why, when we had the turnovers, the defense didn't stop them; why, when we stopped them on defense, the offense had the motion penalties. We've got to go back and look at all of those things. We'll brag on them and then we'll grade that first half really hard. We'll talk more about the first half than the second."

The numbers show that Oklahoma State won the first game, 35-14, before halftime and then Texas won the second game, 42-0, during the final 30 minutes. The electrifying come-from-behind victory required career nights from several athletes plus the most explosive plays (runs of 12+ yards, completions of 16+ yards) of any game during Brown's seven year tenure. The Horns produced 16 explosives (9 rushing, 7 passing) while holding the Cowboys to eight big-gainers.

Two of those explosives came courtesy of true freshman RB Ramonce Taylor. His 44-yard reception on a swing pass from QB Vince Young set up Texas' first score while his 48-yard TD run on a reverse around left-end knotted the affair at 35.

OC Greg Davis said Saturday that Taylor hit the kind of "wall" that all freshman run into as they make the transition from high school to the faster-paced, information overload that is part and parcel of D-I college football. Specifically, Brown said Sunday that coaches were looking for improved ball protection and work ethic from RT during the week before the true freshman was given meaningful snaps on game day.

"We're not putting guys into games until we're sure that, when they took a hit, they weren't going to drop the ball," Brown said. "He has really matured so much over the last two weeks. I think the Missouri pass helped him realize he could be playing right now, when he threw the ball deep (48 yards) to Vince. He's worked so much harder since that play so I think it took a play for him to turn the light on."

RB Cedric Benson won the highly anticipated rushing battle against OSU's Vernand Morency by contributing 141 determined yards on 23 carries. His five rushing TDs were a personal best and one score shy of the six rushing TDs that Ricky Williams posted against both Rice and North Texas State in 1998.

The most startling development of the evening was that Young not only saved the day but, in many respects, salvaged the season, with his 18-of-21 passing for 278 yards plus 123 yards on 12 carries. It was by far his career's best effort, surpassing his previous high (213 yards passing) set last season against Texas Tech. The biggest question that remains about VY is: do we know what we're going to get, week-in and week-out?

"He's been so much better the past three weeks," Brown said. "He was good against Baylor and he was good against Rice. We've got a young quarterback who's started for 14 wins and two losses and we're seeing him grow up right in front of us. It was amazing to see that he completed 18-of-21. On the two interceptions, one of them he overthrows and that's a great play on their part in the end zone and the other is a batted ball. He was phenomenal last night in the second half."

Almost as amazing was that the defense pitched a shutout after the Cowboys racked up 35 points during the first 25:36. Halftime adjustments largely amounted to increasing the pressure on freshman QB Donovan Woods through safety blitzes and zone blitzes but, more than anything else, there was almost a 180-degree swing in the way Texas tackled after intermission.

The defensive staff told Brown on Sunday that the team "just played to a different level" following the break and "we could have called anything in the second half and it wouldn't have mattered. We didn't miss a tackle in the second half. We pressured the quarterback better in the second half. It was just two completely different games. Obviously, the offense started the momentum change and the defense just fed off of them."

Brown was obviously concerned about his team's shoddy kickoff-coverage (141 yards on five returns. But sophomore LG Kasey Studdard enjoyed his best game as a Longhorn, Brown noted. Defensively, sophomore LDE Tim Crowder took the unofficial best-game-yet honors by posting the first three sacks of his career. WLB Derrick Johnson, who registered a game-high 15 tackles, is "playing better than anybody in the country" these days, Brown added.

"I'm not sure we could have done defensively last night in the second half without Derrick Johnson's leadership and the plays he made. He just took over. He got them all up. He was not frustrated. He was not down and he's just a great leader out there for those kids."

TV NOTES

Texas' game at Kansas is set for an 11 a.m. kickoff on a Fox Sports Net regional broadcast.


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