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Playing for It All

Crazy Longhorns season comes down to 30 minutes of football

Michael Corcoran
Malcolm Brown of University of Texas Longhorns
Malcolm Brown gained 131 yards on 25 carries. Photo courtesy of UT Athletics

For two glorious hours, from the ending of Oklahoma’s improbable victory over Chokelahoma State until the first part of the second half in Waco, the University of Texas Longhorns were on the verge of winning a Big 12 Championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. The halftime score was Baylor 3, Texas 3. The entire season came down to 30 minutes of football.

What a crazy season it’s been for Texas, which was as unanimously written off as Charles Manson’s ability to rehabilitate. After embarrassing losses on the road to BYU and at home to Ole Miss, the 2013 squad was a laughingstock in Austin, which has thousands of coach potatoes every game. Back in September, the prevailing thought was that this team of Texas underachievers would be fighting for bowl eligibility, not a BCS berth. For a little over two hours, we were watching the Mack and Tina Turnaround Revue, rollin,’ rollin,’ rollin’ on that river of improbability, and it was nice.

For the very last game at Floyd Casey Stadium, Baylor made the plays, and Texas didn’t. 

But Baylor scored on its first possession after the break, converting a pair of third and 11s en route to an Atwan Goodley TD catch. Then the Baptistas scored again on their second possession, making the score 17-3, seemingly insurmountable in the cold and windy weather.

But even after Baylor tacked on a field goal to make it 20-3, Texas got back into the game near the start of the fourth quarter with a crazy two-yard touchdown pass from Case McCoy to Malcolm Brown. McCoy was scrambling for his life and seemed to throw the fourth-down pass up for grabs, but it landed in Brown’s hands in the end zone. Even Johnny Manziel had to put down his drink and applaud that one. McCoy was playing like Lorde knits, but the one thing we’ve learned in his topsy-turvy career is that you don’t count out Case.

Unfortunately, that TD was one of McCoy’s only highlights of the game, as he threw for only 53 yards on 12- 34 passing, with two interceptions. The last pick was run back for what appeared to be the game-sealing touchdown, but a personal foul on Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon, who would be a two-sport star except Baylor doesn’t have hockey, took the six points off the scoreboard. Didn’t matter, as Baylor scored on the next play, an 18-yard run by Glasco Martin. Final score Baylor 30, Texas 10.

We thank Coach Mack Brown and his team for the season they’ve given us. It’s been entertaining, yet ultimately unsatisfying.   

The Longhorns had their opportunities, but screwed up two fumble recoveries and had several dropped passes on third down, which are as bad as turnovers. With just over seven minutes in the game and the Horns needing two touchdowns to win, they tried to pick up a fumbled punt instead of pouncing on it, and the ball trickled out of bounds at the Baylor 3. Earlier, excitable LP Dalton Santos also tried to do a Chris Whaley impression but fumbled it back to Baylor, who didn’t have a turnover all game.

Texas had its opportunities, but this team couldn't capitalize on a GODDAMN ANGRY TWEET. They were given a gift by Oklahoma, but then so was Baylor. And for the very last game at Floyd Casey Stadium, Baylor made the plays, and Texas didn’t.

A record of 8-4, not counting whatever second-rate bowl game Texas goes to, is like what Stringer Bell of The Wire called a 40-degree day. Only, in this case it happened with a wind chill factor that made it feel like 12 degrees. We thank Coach Mack Brown and his team for the season they’ve given us. It’s been entertaining, yet ultimately unsatisfying. We eat Baylor like peanuts. It’s been that way since they built the railroads.

So, yeah, there’s gonna be a coaching change at the 40 Acres. Brown doesn’t want to be a jerk, and his litigious pal Joe Jamail is 88 years old. It’s time, and he gets his five mil whether he’s pulling his hair out at the sidelines or modeling swimming trunks for Sally in the South of France. 

"He craved winning, but cared about his players more." That's the epitaph of Coach Mack Brown, who is expected to be replaced by Nick Saban — or the Auburn coach. Remember, Coach Brown pleaded with Jordan Shipley not to return to football after two surgeries. And his caution in keeping David Ash out after a concussion early in the year might have cost UT the Baylor game and the Big 12 Championship. Such compassion has no place at win-at-all-cost Texas. But Mack Brown will leave with his dignity. And any true Longhorns fans will be on their feet.

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