And vs. Colorado, it started early. Texas raced to a 14-0 lead, but the Buffs threatened to get back in the game by driving inside the Texas 20. The Longhorn defense stiffened, setting up the Texas 'block party'. Texas native Mason Crosby, considered one of the top kickers in the nation, came on to attempt the 31-yard field goal. Many say that Texas should have recruited him and offered him a scholarship. There is no denying his leg strength, but in this instance at least, he didn't have the height to send the ball above the outstretched arm of UT's Brian Robison, whose block denied the Buffaloes their first chance at points. Although Vince Young would throw an interception just after the Horns took over possession, again setting up CU near the Longhorn goalline, a reinvigorated Texas defense stuffed the Buffs again. Crosby managed to make his next attempt to briefly cut the UT lead to 14-3, but Colorado didn't scare the scoreboard again till late in the game, and the rout continued unabated. Throughout the game, Texas special teams were special, including Ramonce Taylor's 54-yard kickoff return after Crosby's field goal that quickly dispersed any momentum that had gathered on the CU sideline. And later in the game, Michael Griffin blocked his sixth career punt and Brandon Foster recovered in the end zone for the Horns' 56th point.
Vince Young turned in a solid performance, completing 14 of 17 for 193 yards and three touchdowns (improving his stats in two games this season vs. Colorado to 39 of 46 for 529 yards and five TD tosses). Young also ran for 58 yards and one touchdown. That was a part of the 486 yards of total offense racked up by the Horns. Jamaal Charles seemed to be back to his usual self, again displaying great vision and cutting ability to total 62 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. And the defense allowed Colorado a measly 191 yards. In other words, without mentioning every standout, it was a total team effort. But early special teams play fueled that effort, and provided the turning point.
Congrats to the 2005 Texas Longhorns for finishing with the Big 12 Title, and with that title, the chance to win the National Championship in the Granddaddy of Them All on January 4th. Also, Congrats to Coach Brown for the class and integrity with which he coaches. Texas is back where it belongs. The Rose Bowl was home to a storybook ending last year and I have a feeling another one is about to take place.
Until January 4th, Hook 'Em and The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You See y'all in Pasadena!!!
Dusty Mangum played for Texas from 2001-2004 and holds several Longhorn kicking marks. His final kick in the Orange and White, a 37-yarder in the 2005 Rose Bowl, provided the ultimate turning point in the Horns' first-ever BCS win. His Turning Point column appears on Monday after each game during football season here on InsideTexas.com.