It took a Hail Mary, two fumble-related breaks at the goal-line and an interception on the final drive, but Texas survived its trip to Iowa State with a 31-30 win.
The Longhorns certainly won’t put this one on their “greatest hits” list, but the state of this team screams take a win where you can get it.
Iowa State took the lead early in the fourth quarter and held Texas scoreless until its final drive. However, QB2 Case McCoy, starting for the injured David Ash, snuck in from 1 yard out to give the Longhorns their winning score with less than 1 minute to play.
McCoy’s sneak came after consecutive attempts from RB Johnathan Gray on which he appeared to fumble.
The first came when LB Jeremiah George wrestled the ball away from Gray inside the 5-yard line. Referees ruled on the field that Gray was down – which appeared to be questionable because Gray, spinning toward the ground, had neither knee close to the turf. However, numerous replays failed to show indisputable evidence of when the strip occurred because of the pile. George came sprinting out of the pile with the football, but all for naught.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, during his postgame comments, slammed the apparently missed call.
Former NFL head of officials, Mike Pereira, also weighed in against the non-fumble.
If they ruled down by contact, then it should have and looks like it should have been reversed because there was a clear recovery.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 4, 2013
Gray got his second chance a play later and again fumbled. This time he got to the bottom of the pile to recover it himself.
Texas finally gave up on a running back scoring the winning touchdown and McCoy took it in from the 1.
Iowa State had a chance on its final possession, picking up a pair of first downs before QB Sam B. Richardson made two horrible mental mistakes – one on a scramble and then another on a game-ending interception.
Richardson lost the ball into DL Jackson Jeffcoat’s waiting arms on the third-down passing attempt, enabling Texas to escape.
So, too, did a completed Hail Mary that gave the Longhorns a halftime lead.
Iowa State kicked a 41-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining in the half to give the Cyclones what they thought would be a 13-10 halftime lead.
However, McCoy completed passes for 12 and 19 yards before unleashing a 44-yard bomb that WR John Harris hauled in between four Iowa State defenders.
That touchdown pass came back to roost after the Cyclones stormed back and seemingly took control in the second half.
For Iowa State, the loss continues the misery of what has largely been a lost season.
Texas, meanwhile, has a little life after starting the Big 12 season 2-0. Longhorns coach Mack Brown can’t feel great about the win – even on in conference play on the road – because of the way his team played. Still, Brown getting an ugly win certainly plays better than a loss at this point.
A loss tonight would have been disastrous for Brown – and potentially for Texas as well.
There are two things that tonight didn’t change for the Longhorns, though: 1) The defense still can’t tackle; 2) Oklahoma will cross the Red River next week to bring the pain.
Brown knows his team survived a scare Thursday night in Ames. How much longer can it live on the edge?