Unbelievably Expected

STILLWATER, OK -- The Texas Longhorns were down 35-14 to Oklahoma State again and again came back and won in what is becoming increasingly less improbable fashion, 38-35. It was as strange of football game as ever been played and yet, with all of the come-from-behind victories Texas has had over the Cowboys, it was also by the book for a UT-OSU showdown.

After the most unusual-usual win imaginable for the Texas Longhorns, Frank Denius stood outside the Texas locker room clutching the game ball as tightly as Jamaal Charles did in the fourth quarter.

Denius, the Purple Heart recipient whom the Horns' practice fields are named after, was presented the game ball by the players.

Brown put his arm around the famous Texas alum still gripping the pigskin tight to his body.

"The kids wanted you to have it," said Brown. "They wanted to give it to you."

Brown said after the game that the players wanted Denius to have the ball because of the sacrifices he and all veterans have made.

"The players choose to give him the ball because of his charging the hill at 19 on D-Day," said Brown. "The struggles that players go through in football cannot be compared to fighting for our freedom, but today was about as close as you can get in a football game."

After falling behind 35-14 and being unable to get anything going on either side of the football, Texas came storming back in the fourth quarter, sealing a 38-35 win over Oklahoma State with a 39-yard field goal as time expired to conclude grinding gridiron battle.

As Denius beamed, his smile could only be matched by the one on Texas kicker Ryan Bailey's face as he leaned against a wall on the other side of the room. Bailey, once again showing the ice water that apparently runs through his veins, was very appreciative of the efforts of his teammates.

"The entire team was coming to me, trying to calm me down in the fourth quarter," said Bailey, "and they gave me the chance. The offense, the defense, everyone. This was really a team win."

Unbelievable will be a word associated with this bizarre football game, but Texas (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) is making a habit of unbelievable games and unbelievable wins over Oklahoma State (5-4, 3-2 Big 12). It was the same story Saturday.

"It was a tale of two halves. In the first half, they took 54 snaps while we only took 29," said Brown. "It was one of those nights that it was bad after bad after bad after bad"

Despite that bad after bad after bad after bad, Texas still came back. Despite consecutive fourth quarter punts to the one-yard-line by OSU punter Matt Fodge, despite three interceptions by Cowboy DB Jacob Lacey, despite 430 yards passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions from Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson, despite over 100 yards from both of the other two stars in OSU's offensive trifecta, RB Dantrell Savage and WR Adarius Bowman, despite everything, Texas still came back.

"Everybody was believing. Everybody fought. We found a way to win," said Longhorn QB Colt McCoy. "I'm so proud of our guys."

McCoy completed 20 of his 27 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three picks. Where McCoy made the difference, interestingly enough, was on the ground. For the first time in his career, the sophomore quarterback ran for over 100 yards in a game, picking up 106 on the ground. McCoy took a lot of shots in the game, but kept bouncing up and, according to several players, the Horns fed off of it. Wide receiver Quan Cosby said McCoy's leadership is making the difference in close games.

"Colt is a leader," said Cosby, with confidence. "He led us to victory again."

Brown didn't hesitate to make a lofty comparison when it comes to McCoy's ability to lead.

"I saw that in Vince," said Brown. "That's something I've seen in Colt."

But McCoy wasn't the only Longhorn to have a big day running the ball. Charles was in charge in the fourth. One week after the junior running back put up 216 in the fourth quarter against Nebraska, he went over 100 in the final frame again, racking up 125 yards and a pair of scores in the fourth for a total of 180 yards and three touchdowns.

The running game was certainly more effective than the passing game, but two of McCoy's three interceptions came on balls that started out in the hands of his receivers and ended in Lacey's hands. After the game, Cosby, who finished with four receptions for 47 yards, told Inside Texas that he knew the receivers had to make up for their less than stellar performance any way possible.

"As a receiving corps, we decided this was one of the worst games we've ever played," said Cosby. "We decided that if we're going to play bad, then we better block for Jamaal."

The leading receiver for the team wasn't a wide receiver, but rather tight end Jermichael Finley, who hauled in six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.

The offense, though, stepped up in the second half, but it wasn't just the Horns racking up the points that gave Texas the win. The defense had to stop the Pokes and it did, with authority. But after the game, Texas defensive coordinator Duane Akina told Inside Texas that he didn't make any significant changes to his defensive calls. The players on the field just got it done.

"Oklahoma State was winning all of the one-on-ones," said Akina. "There's no magic defense you can call. (In the second half) we just made the plays."

Texas made the plays again and again in the second half and fought out a win.

"We're not playing great, we're up and down still, but we're fighting every game," said Brown.

The World War II veteran, and one of Texas' biggest fans, knew his team would be able to fight back for the win.

"They never give up," Denius told Inside Texas. "They never...give...up."