7:00 PM ET, November 6, 2004
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, AUSTIN, TX
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- It must have sounded like a bad joke.
Thoroughly dominated in the first half, Texas coach Mack Brown made a big promise to his team: They would win.
Only this was no joke and no false optimism a coach might use just to get his team back on the field in a blowout. It was real.
Cedric Benson scored five touchdowns Saturday night and Texas (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) rallied from a 35-7 first-half deficit to beat No. 19 Oklahoma State 56-35.
The Longhorns trailed 35-14 at halftime when Brown told the Longhorns they would score on their first drive of the third quarter and go on to win. He even predicted a final score of 42-35.
"Unbelievable," Brown said. "After the game I apologized for underestimating them."
Benson's fourth TD gave Texas its first lead at 42-35 early in the fourth quarter. His last, a 6-yard bullrush in which he pushed four defenders across the goal line, put the exclamation point on the incredible comeback that kept the Longhorns' BCS hopes alive.
"That shows the character of this team as far as how tough we are," said senior linebacker Derrick Johnson. "We never gave up."
A little perspective on just how big of a rally it was: In 111 years of playing football, the biggest deficit the Longhorns (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) had ever overcome to win was 19 points three seasons ago in a Holiday Bowl win over Washington.
For Oklahoma State (6-3, 3-3), it should go down as one of the most stunning losses in a long, long time, if not ever.
If the Cowboys had managed to shake off the hangover of their 3-point loss to No. 2 Oklahoma a week earlier, coach Les Miles isn't likely to shake the hurt from this one anytime soon.
"I've never been through one like that," Miles said. "There will be some pain. There's no way to have a game like this where you don't ache."
Trailing by four touchdowns in the first half, the Longhorns scored TDs on five straight possessions to take the lead and control of the game.
Quarterback Vince Young had a career night with 278 yards on 18-of-21 passing. He started the rally by running the Longhorns' hurry-up offense to perfection late in the second quarter.
Young's 5-yard TD pass to Bo Scaife with 3 seconds left in the half trimmed the lead to 35-14 and made the rally possible.
Scaife stretched for the pylon to get the ball into the end zone. The touchdown sent the Longhorns into the locker room thinking anything was possible.
"There was a lot of energy in the locker room," Benson said. "Most teams would have laid down and given up. We fought back to see what the final score was."
For one almost perfect half of football, the Cowboys looked unbeatable.
Robert Jones returned the opening kickoff to the Texas 46 and the Cowboys marched six plays to their first TD. On the their second possession, Vernand Morency took a quick pass in the flat from Donovan Woods and left four defenders flat-footed with shifty moves in the open field as he dashed 68 yards for the end zone.
After Morency scored on a 13-yard run and Woods added a 1-yard score, the Cowboys led 28-7 midway through the second quarter. And they kept pouring it on.
Woods' brother D'Juan snared a fingertip catch in stride for 45 yards to set up OSU's final score of the half, a 1-yard run by Seymore Shaw that made it 35-7 and completely silenced the sellout crowd of 83,181.
"It was a train wreck," Brown said. "We were splattered."
The game was so out of hand it was looking like the 63-14 and 65-13 drubbings the Oklahoma Sooners had laid on the Longhorns in recent years.
"The thought crosses your mind," said Benson, who finished with 141 yards on 23 carries. "You have to make a decision either to change the outcome or just lay down."
As Brown promised, Texas scored on the first drive of the third when Benson's 1-yard TD run made it 35-21. Then the Texas defense, which couldn't stop anything in the first half, started pushing the Cowboys backward.
The Longhorns forced a three-and-out on Oklahoma State's first possession of the third and cut the lead to 35-28 when Benson scored from 23 yards. The Longhorns got the ball again after sacking Woods on third down on the next drive.
The Cowboys, who rolled up 297 yards on offense in the first half, managed just 105 in the second.
By the time Ramonce Taylor tied it at 35 with a 48-yard reverse, Texas players were dancing on the sideline and the fans who were so quiet earlier were on their feet chanting "Texas Fight!"
"It's a sick feeling in your stomach," Cowboys linebacker Paul Duren said. "It's almost like you're out there dreaming when they kept scoring."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-13||4-7|
|4th Down Conversions||3-5||1-1|
|TD||11:58||JULIUS CROSSLIN 4 YD RUN (JASON RICKS KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 46 yards.
|TD||8:39||CEDRIC BENSON 7 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:11||VERNAND MORENCY 68 YD PASS FROM DONOVAN WOODS (JASON RICKS KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||9:31||VERNAND MORENCY 13 YD RUN (JASON RICKS KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||8:13||DONOVAN WOODS 1 YD RUN (JASON RICKS KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||1:21||SEYMORE SHAW 1 YD RUN (JASON RICKS KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||0:03||BO SCAIFE 5 YD PASS FROM VINCE YOUNG (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||11:21||CEDRIC BENSON 1 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:36||CEDRIC BENSON 23 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||3:44||RAMONCE TAYLOR 48 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||13:17||CEDRIC BENSON 5 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||9:43||CEDRIC BENSON 6 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 50 yards.
|TD||6:57||VINCE YOUNG 42 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 42 yards.