With the football inside the five-yard line and time winding down the Texas Longhorns needed a touchdown to tie Iowa State, and an extra point to take a late lead. They got it, but not without controversy.
Texas running back Johnathan Gray pushed up the middle of the pile and had the football stripped from him by Iowa State, with a player running down field uncontested with what he thought was a fumble that would be returned nearly 100 yards for a touchdown. Instead, Big 12 officials ruled Gray was down by contact and possession remained with the Longhorns. Multiple video replays showed the ball was stripped and being returned downfield before the play was whistled dead. Texas got the video review to go in their favor however, and a few plays later pushed in for the go-ahead touchdown in a wild 31-30 victory Thursday at Iowa State. The game-winning drive was aided by valid penalties against the Cyclones, who were giving Texas free yardage and downs all the way down field to set-up the score. Iowa State was called for 10 penalties for 118 yards in the game.
Quarterback Case McCoy had his ups and downs throughout the night, but ended with 244 yards and a touchdown through the air and on the ground. It was McCoy who pushed forward on a sneak for the eventual game-winning score. The night was also marred by an ugly incident that saw receiver Mike Davis take a cheap shot on a defenseless Iowa State player. Davis was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct but was not ejected. A suspension should be likely from the Big 12 office in the coming days.
The win is the second straight in Big 12 play for Texas, now 2-0 to start conference play, but there will be plenty of holes to poke through in the Longhorns before their next game. After escaping with a controversial win at Iowa State and a 10-point home victory against Kansas State, the Longhorns must plug those holes before facing rival Oklahoma next weekend. Oklahoma has won each of the last two meetings with Texas by a combined score of 118-38, and the Sooners have won three straight.
Are we buying that Texas has solved their issues? Absolutely not. Iowa State racked up 30 points and 463 yards of offense. It was the second time this season Iowa State scored 30 or more points and a season high for total yards of offense. It was the third time this season Texas gave up over 400 yards of offense, something they did five times in all of the 2012 season.
Is Mack Brown still coaching an uphill battle? Absolutely. With Oklahoma up next, Brown and his staff must take advantage of the extra days to prepare for the rival Sooners.