Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/27/12
LAWRENCE, Kan. Ahead of Texas's game against Kansas, the Longhorns hauled in some heated seats for the Texas sidelines. And with the Jayhawks leading for much of the game including a 17-14 advantage late in the fourth quarter Longhorns fans must have thought the seats an apt metaphor for Texas coach Mack Brown's office chair. But backup quarterback Case McCoy led the Longhorns down the field, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left to escape with a 21-17 squeaker. Disaster, and a potentially career-changing loss for Brown, averted. "You all the media always talk about losses," Brown said. "I don't. What I thought about was it's so similar to 2004, and the 2004 team ended up the the Rose Bowl." In 2004, Vince Young led the Longhorns back over a then-3-6 Kansas team, capping the 27-23 comeback win with a touchdown pass with a 21-yard pass to Tony Jeffery with 11 seconds remaining. Texas (6-2, 3-2) didn't have Young Saturday, and didn't get a ton from starting quarterback David Ash, either. Ash was just 8-of-16 for 63 yards and two interceptions. After he misfired on a screen pass that was tipped and intercepted, the Longhorn coaches didn't hesitate in switching to well-tested backup Case McCoy. "I asked Bryan Harsin, and Bryan said 'yes sir, I'm ready to go with a change,'" Brown said. "We both agreed and I thought Case was prepared. He gave us the little momentum that we needed to get it turned in the right direction." What did McCoy say to provide that spark? "Case came in the huddle and said 'Let's go. The game's not over. We still have a chance,'" said running back Johnathan Gray. "We found it deep down inside and came out with a win." Still have a chance? Against Kansas? Yes, that Kansas. The one that entered the Texas game 1-6. The team that has won one conference game in the last three years Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010 and needed a school record 28-point comeback in the fourth quarter to win that one. The last time Kansas beat a team still in the Big 12 was Oct. 10, 2009. The Jayhawks' lone win this season has come over South Dakota State, and the Longhorns haven't lost to the Jayhawks since 1938. Vegas favored Texas by 19 points heading in. "Kansas is a great team," Gray said. "They have a great defense. And their offense was clicking. They kept it the majority of the time and kept our offense off the field a majority of the time." But the Longhorns couldn't have started any better. A sack on a cornerback blitz by Quandre Diggs put the Jayhawks in third-and-forever, and the ensuing punt gave Texas the ball at the Kansas 43. On the next play, Gray darted 31 yards to the 12, and three plays later, Joe Bergeron pushed in for the touchdown. "We came out and it was too easy," Brown said. "Three and out and all of a sudden a quick score. And we probably relaxed and didn't give Kansas the respect that they're due. Because this isn't the Kansas team we played last year." Then Kansas surged. The Jayhawks drove to the Texas five, only to have a drive essentially killed by a muffed snap. And while the Longhorn offense started to fizzle, the Jayhawks pounded ahead with their running game, scoring first on a 15-yard run by wide receiver Christian Matthews, then again on a Tony Pierson 11-yard run. The Longhorns struggled to contain Kansas running back James Sims, who came in as the Big 12's second-leading rusher, but passed his per-game average in the first half with 139 yards. "It just came down to if we want to be the defense that we talk about, then we had to change our mentality and start getting some stops," said defensive end Alex Okafor, who besieged his teammates to have more accountability. The defense did just that, keeping the Jayhawks out of the end zone the rest of the game. But Kansas kept that 14-7 advantage into the fourth quarter, with the Longhorns electing to make a quarterback switch. McCoy didn't have much to do on his first drive. The only time he didn't hand the ball off on the seven play drive was a quick shovel to Marquise Goodwin, who raced 41 yards to flip field position. Goodwin's second attempt on the drive came three plays later, when he ran 11 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. Kansas responded immediately. The Jayhawks launched a 14-play, 61-yard drive, but threw incomplete on a third-and-five at the Texas 11. Nick Prolago kicked a 29-yard field goal that put Kansas up 17-14 with 2:28 remaining. That put the game on McCoy's shoulders, and he nearly gave it away, firing his first pass into the hands of Kansas cornerback Greg Brown, who couldn't hold on. On fourth down and six, McCoy hit Jaxon Shipley over the middle for 18 yards. McCoy then found a streaking Mike Davis for a 39-yard pass two plays later. On third-and-goal from the 1, with the Jayhawks selling out to stop the run, McCoy went to play-action and lofted an easy, game-winning touchdown pass to Grant. The touchdown concluded the Longhorns turnaround, with Texas out-gaining Kansas 224 yards to 75 in the second half. After the 5-7 2010 season, Brown said that he wouldn't take wins for granted. And he kept with that pledge through the post-game press conference, choosing to highlight the comeback rather than the Longhorns' woes against a struggling opponent. "The objective is to win, and I'm glad we won," Brown said. "They're going to beat somebody here," Brown said of Kansas. "I'm just glad it wasn't us." At the same time, Brown conceded issues with the Longhorns' play. When asked whether Texas could turn in a similar effort and beat any other team on the schedule, Brown responded: "Oh, I wouldn't think so." The Longhorns face a salty Texas Tech team in Lubbock next Saturday. "I'm very excited that we won the game. It was really, really hard to win this game and it can give this team and this staff so much confidence moving forward to play poorly most of the game and win," Brown said. "That is when you get better, believe it or not, not the blowouts. The blowouts, you walk out and feel too good about yourself. "One like this, we have a win," Brown said, "and we have their attention next week. And that's about as good as it gets." That's debatable. But by coming back to beat the Big 12's worst team, the Longhorns saved Brown at least for the moment from an "as bad as it gets" scenario. More specifically, heated seats.
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