STILLWATER, Okla. -- The way Mack Brown tells it, Texas had Oklahoma State right where the Longhorns wanted it. The Longhorns were up one, OSU was driving, time had become a factor and the entire crowd against them. Yep, perfect position, said Brown.
"I told them that this was perfect," the Texas coach said. "We told the defense that if they held them to a field goal, we would win the game. We told the offense the same thing. You’re going to hold them to a field goal, and you’re going to win the game."
The defense did hold. But the offense very nearly didn't hold up to its end of the bargain. Texas faced a fourth and six in its own territory before David Ash hit D.J. Grant for a 29-yard gain. But once that first down was secure, Brown was secure in the win.
"Usually, in those one-minute drills that we’ve been so good at, if you make the first first-down, you get it," he said. "The first one is the hardest one. The crowd’s against you, everybody is pumped up and the players were jacked up."
Texas realized fairly quickly it could not keep up with the Oklahoma State fast-paced offense. So to counteract things, the Longhorns decided to speed the Cowboys up on defense as well.
"That’s why we increased our tempo at the same time and tried to wear them out," Brown said. "Possession was the difference in the end. They couldn’t score because they didn’t have the ball. We weren’t scoring as fast as they were, but we were pounding them and pounding them and our offensive line took over the last few drives."
Texas scored on three of its last four possessions and had 280 of its 440 yards in the second half.
Typically it is Ash who gets the blame for not completing the deep ball. But against Oklahoma State the blame fell on Mike Davis' shoulders.
The wide receiver dropped a sure touchdown pass on what could be argued was Ash best pass of the night.
"He came to me after he barely missed that deep throw early in the first half and said 'Just give me another chance,'" Ash said of Davis. "So said I’d give him another chance, and he was in line. He was ready to make the play, and that was on him."
"I did my job and I beat my man and he threw a great ball and I made a play on the ball, but I dropped it," Davis said. "So I told him that it wasn’t over and to put it behind us and give me another chance, and I’ll make a play like I’ve been doing."
The play was a 32-yard pass down to the OSU 2 on the game-winning drive.
"I didn’t throw him a great ball so he made the play for it," Ash said.
Ash was 4 of 5 for 70 yards on the final drive.
Three and out
Texas never held Oklahoma State to a three and out. But the Longhorns did hold the Cowboys to three points on three difference occasions and that turned out to be the difference in the game.
"We’ve said it all along, great offenses like theirs, you have to win in the red zone," said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. "They’re too dynamic, they’re too good and they’re going to move the ball in between the 20s. There were a bunch of red zone stops, even the ones that we held them to field goals, that as the game was going on and keeping the score down, that were vital in the football game."
Two of OSU's four second-half scores were field goals. The Cowboys also missed a field goal in the third quarter.
By the numbers
David Ash's 30 completions were a career high. Ash went 116 pass attempts without an interception before he threw one on the first drive of the third quarter. That is the fourth longest streak in Texas history.
D.J. Monroe's 100-yard kickoff return is the fourth in school history.
Texas has outscored its opponents 49-3 off turnovers. The Cowboys managed a field goal off Ash's pick.Texas scored a touchdown following Kenny Vaccaro's pick.