Survival quest: No. 1 UT hanging tough amid Big 12 gauntlet
The commas explained everything Saturday.
The walls of the Texas team meeting room are covered with lists of glorious years gone by, but one little nugget of punctuation on each list points to the future. With the exception of the list of Southwest Conference titles -- which ends in a period after the Longhorns claimed the final crown before that league folded following the 1995 season -- every list ends in a comma. Big 12 titles: 1996, 2005,; Undefeated regular seasons: ... 1969, 1970, 1977, 1983, 2005,; national titles: 1963, 1969, 1970, 2005,.
The commas imply that more titles and more undefeated seasons are forthcoming.
It's unlikely any of the top-ranked Longhorns thought about those commas during Saturday's fourth quarter as No. 7 Oklahoma State lined up with a chance to wreck Texas's dream season, but hours spent in that meeting room must have burned those commas into the Longhorns' collective subconscious. Because only teams that expect to win, that expect to add their year behind that last set of commas, can survive days like Saturday.
Oklahoma State should take no shame in losing, 28-24, at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Cowboys coach
Next week, Texas will have to take that attitude to Lubbock, where, for the third time in four weeks, the Longhorns will face an undefeated division foe ranked in the top 10. But Texas Tech, despite all its aerial firepower, will have to work to make Texas sweat the way the Cowboys did Saturday.
"We kind of let them off the hook," Cowboys quarterback
Trailing by four, Oklahoma State seemed ready to shock the world after linebacker
But after a quick
Gundy called for a screen to Bryant. No Longhorn was fooled. While getting blocked, defensive tackle
For three quarters, it didn't seem Texas would need to draw on its tradition or championship attitude that seeped into this team sometime after a loss to Texas A&M to close the 2007 regular season. After 45 minutes, McCoy had completed 31-of-35 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns. Texas had faced 10 third downs, and McCoy had converted seven of them by throwing and one by running. And just to prove how charmed the junior was, he converted a ninth by throwing an interception that was negated by a roughing the passer penalty.
Still, the Downtown Athletic Club hasn't inscribed McCoy's name on the Heisman Trophy just yet. He is fallible, though only slightly. He ended the third quarter by throwing an interception to
The timing of the defense's awakening pleased Muschamp, who has spilled his own blood
You also have to take chances.
Knowing Team Rasputin wouldn't simply lie down, Texas offensive coordinator
Shipley faked a block and sprung open for a 20-yard completion. Texas coach
How great? "I trust him with my paycheck," Davis cracked. "How much trust is that?"
That trust will have to carry the Longhorns through another week of a stretch that has the survive-and-advance feel of the NCAA basketball tournament. "They've got us in a situation where we're all kind of in the playoffs," Brown said. "When you're at the top of the BCS and it's moving around, you can't afford to lose this time of the year. So it is survival."
In the fight for survival, a team needs something extra to set it apart. Against the teams remaining on their schedule (Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M), the Longhorns should have a mental edge. They'll have the commas, which remind them every day of why they came to Austin.
"We have really high goals at this place, starting with a Big 12 championship and winning our rivalry games," Texas receiver