LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Texas coach Mack Brown had some encouraging
words for Ryan Bailey before the backup kicker took the field in
the final seconds.
"You're the luckiest guy in the world," Brown told the
sophomore walk-on. "You've got a chance to be Dusty Mangum on your
Time will tell whether Bailey's 22-yard field goal with 23
seconds left to beat 17th-ranked Nebraska 22-20 ranks alongside
Mangum's 37-yarder to defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl two years
For Bailey's part, he was just happy to be on the travel roster
for the fifth-ranked Longhorns. Before Saturday, he said, his
biggest accomplishment in football was simply making the team at
GAME OF THE WEEK
ESPN Classic will air Texas at Nebraska on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET as the ESPN College Football Game of the Week.
The eyes of Texas, Nebraska and a national television audience
were on Bailey after regular kicker Greg Johnson told Brown late in
the game that his leg was tightening up. By then Johnson already
had missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked.
"I had no idea something like this would happen," Bailey said.
"I was here along for the ride."
What a ride it was for both the Longhorns (7-1, 4-0 Big 12) and
Cornhuskers (6-2, 3-1).
The Huskers were on the verge of pulling the upset after taking
a 20-19 lead with 4:54 left. But Texas caught a huge break when
receiver Terrence Nunn fumbled as the Huskers were trying to kill
the clock. Marcus Griffin recovered at the Nebraska 44 with 2:17
Colt McCoy, with a 20 mph wind in his face, snow flurries
swirling and Vince Young looking on from the sideline, drove the
Longhorns to the Nebraska 5 .
Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) tried to ice Bailey when coach Bill Callahan
asked officials to review the previous play to see if the Huskers
may have intercepted a pass by McCoy in the end zone. Replays
clearly showed that the ball bounced on the ground, however, and
Bailey didn't seem to mind the delay.
After getting a good-natured slap on the helmet from Brown, he
trotted back out onto the field and calmly made the kick.
"I was surprised we got the ball back," Bailey said. "I would
have preferred a touchdown. I'm just glad I could make it."
McCoy said he never had a doubt.
"Ryan Bailey steps in and I just said, 'Kick it like you do in
practice," McCoy said. "He never misses in practice."
Nebraska got two shots at the end zone as the clock ran out --
including an untimed down after Texas was called for roughing the
passer on what would have been the final play of the game -- but
both passes from Zac Taylor were broken up.
Texas won its 16th straight road game, extending a school
record, and 19th consecutive conference game.
Nebraska, which hasn't beaten a top-10 team since Oklahoma in
2001, lost for the sixth time in seven meetings with Texas since
the Big 12 began play in 1996.
Brown said he expects Nebraska to make an appearance in the Big
12 championship game Dec. 2.
"Nebraska is back," Brown said. "For them to keep coming back
and back and back -- they made big plays throughout the game to put
themselves in a position to win. The team I saw today is probably
the one someone will see in Kansas City for the Big 12
championship. I hope we get an opportunity for a rematch."
McCoy completed 25 of 39 passes for 220 yards, including
touchdown passes of 6 yards to Quan Cosby and 55 yards to Limas
Sweed in the second quarter. Jamaal Charles ran nine times for 63
Taylor was 15-of-28 for 277 yards, including TDs of 63 yards to
Maurice Purify and 49 yards to Brandon Jackson. Jackson ran seven
times for 40 yards.
McCoy and the Longhorns went three-and-out on their next series.
Nebraska then tried to run out the clock but was forced to pass on
third down. Nunn caught an 8-yarder but lost the ball as he was
going down, and Griffin smothered it to give Texas a final chance.
"We had an opportunity to close the game and misfortune
occurred," Callahan said. "Victory was more or less swept away on
that third-down play."
The Longhorns almost lost the ball themselves when Jordan
Shipley fumbled, but offensive lineman Kasey Studdard recovered.
After McCoy threw incomplete to Sweed in the end zone on
third-and-goal from the 5, Nebraska challenged to see whether Bo
Ruud had intercepted the pass.
Video replay confirmed the call on the field, setting up Bailey
for his winning kick.
Nebraska pulled to 16-14 on the first play of the fourth quarter
on Jackson's 49-yard touchdown off a shovel pass. Jackson shook off
Texas' Sergio Kindle and Michael Griffin, then picked up a big
block from fullback Dane Todd on his way to the end zone.
Johnson's 22-yard field goal with 6:33 left gave Texas a
Asked whether Bailey would be his kicker next week against Texas
Tech, Brown laughed and said he hadn't thought that far ahead.
"I'm just happy with him today," he said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Texas' Ryan Bailey split the uprights on a 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds left.
Gameball goes to... Bailey. This one could have gone to Colt McCoy or the Griffin boys on defense, but we're handing it to the Texas walk-on who made his first career attempt.
Stat of the game... 3. That's the number turnovers the Huskers had, including a game-changing fumble by Terrence Nunn with just over two minutes left in the game.