Updated 3:27 p.m. ET: Early in the fourth quarter and down 14-7, Texas made a quarterback change from David Ash to Case McCoy — and then called seven straight run plays.
The Longhorns’ final offensive drive of the game, however, showed why Mack Brown made the change. McCoy missed his first two passes before completing his next five, including the game-winning touchdown to D.J. Grant, and UT escaped a tight one against Kansas 21-17.
But the long-term damage may already be done.
For one, Texas once again will have to answer quarterback questions about Ash and McCoy. Brown might insist Ash is still the guy going forward, but McCoy is the one that got the job done today when it mattered most. What do you tell him? Sorry, it’s not good enough?
Secondly, this win is not just a win. It’s Kansas (sorry, Kansas) and there’s no good reason Texas should even be playing it this close. It wasn’t until midway through the fourth quarter that the Longhorns realized that, yes, they have better, faster skill guys than the Jayhawks. Johnathan Gray was practically the only offensive weapon that was utilized the way he should have been. There’s no excuse for that.
Sure, Kansas deserves credit for playing tough and having an opportunity to win, but there was only one way to make sure Brown’s critics didn’t yell louder after today: beat the ever-living daylights out of the Jayhawks. That didn’t happen. A loss to Kansas would have arguably been the lowest of the lows for the Mack Brown era. Still, I’m not sure this wasn’t the worst win of the Brown era, either.
I’m not saying Brown gets fired after this year, but I am saying that the teeth-gnashing and groans won’t go away until Texas starts winning games like the most profitable and recognizable brand with the best resources in college football should.
Something something something… schematic advantage… something something something… saw Texas practice on the Longhorn Network.
That might be what you hear Charlie Weis saying on his way to the locker room at halftime with his Kansas Jayhawks holding on to a 14-7 lead over Texas.
Like West Virginia, Texas’ defense — tackling especially — is too easy to keep beating down. The Jayhawks are running the ball effectively and, well, that’s about it. When combined with a late second quarter interception of David Ash, it’s enough.
Texas has no momentum after scoring an early touchdown. Freshman running back Johnathan Gray has been the most productive player with 51 yards on the ground, but he only has four touches.
Clearly, there’s plenty of time for Texas to come back and take control in the second half. But even if the Longhorns come back and win convincingly, murmurs of dissatisfaction with Mack Brown are going to keep growing slowly louder.