The Texas Longhorns dominated the second half of the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl to take down the Oregon State Beavers, 31-27, in San Antonio Saturday night.
The Longhorns came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in what was truly a tale of two halves, and they did not hold a lead in this game until there was just over two minutes remaining.
The two teams traded field goals to start off the scoring, and the Beavers received the first touchdown of the game on a carry by Storm Woods, who was the star of the first half, as the Beavers relied almost exclusively on the run to control the game.
Oregon State dominated the game in the first half in a way not quite accurately depicted by its 20-10 lead. The Longhorns simply could get nothing going on offense, with one notable exception.
Wide receiver and U.S. Olympian long-jumper Marquise Goodwin got the ball on a reverse early in the second quarter and found a lot of open turf in front of him. He was a blur as he raced 64 yards for a touchdown and leveled the score at 10.
Oregon State stuffed the Texas offense and scored the final 10 points of the second quarter, but it should have been leading by more. Failures in the passing game were costing them. Quarterback Cody Vaz chucked an interception on his first pass attempt and wound up with three turnovers on the game.
Vaz tweaked an ankle injury in the second quarter and missed significant time, but backup Sean Mannion did not attempt a single pass filling in for Vaz.
All of this action led to a second half where neither team could be feeling particularly good about themselves. However, Texas was clearly rejuvenated by not being down by a greater deficit.
The Beavers, meanwhile, got away from the rushing attack that was very successful in the first half. It didn't help that they lost Storm Woods to an injury, but the switch in strategy was shocking and not at all effective.
All of this allowed Texas to pin its ears back and rush the passer. With Alex Okafor leading the way, the Longhorns pass rush began to take over. Okafor (more on him later) was unstoppable.
Still, the two sides each scored a touchdown in the third to enter the fourth with the Beavers leading 27-17. But Texas closed the gap with a 15-yard touchdown pass by David Ash with just over eight minutes remaining to pull within three points.
The Texas defense held strong and quickly got its offense the ball back with with 4:35 left. The offense was left with excellent field position, but was quickly facing a 4th-and-1 with around three minutes left on the Beavers 40.
They picked it up with a run, and on the very next play David Ash went deep and found Goodwin wide open in the end zone for the go-ahead score with just 2:24 left in the game.
That was no problem for Mack Brown's defense. It used its momentum and dominance in the pass rush to quickly seal the deal.
BigLeadSports' Jason McIntyre tweeted out his astonishment over Texas' early failures in stopping the run.
I know Texas can't play any defense but they're making OSU's Storm Woods look like a 2013 Heisman sleeper. #defenseoptionalinbowls— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) December 30, 2012
That tweet came early in the game and Woods got off to a fast start. He had six carries for 45 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Longhorns in the first half, however:
By the way, Texas has an Olympian on its team. Marquise Goodwin takes a reverse 64 yds to the house, and just like that, we're tied again.— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) December 30, 2012
Still, nothing tells the tale of the first half better than this tweet by ESPN's Carter Strickland.
We mentioned Okafor above, and for good reason. This future NFLer had himself a game...and a season. Texas Football tweeted this gem.
Okafor with 11.0 sacks on year. Most sacks by UT player since Brian Orakpo (11.5 in 2008). Those are only 2 with 11+ since 1985.— MBTexasFootball (@MBTexasFootball) December 30, 2012
Okafor certainly emerged as one of the stars from this game, and he also earned himself a spot in the the Alamo Bowl record books. The game's official Twitter feed passed this along.
Alex Okafor and Cedric Reed combine for 8th sack of the game as Okafor ties #VAB record with 3.5 sacks.— Valero Alamo Bowl (@valeroalamobowl) December 30, 2012
Okafor wound up getting the record all to his lonesome as he recorded a huge sack on 3rd-and-8 with under two minutes left, and he was a huge reason why Texas wound up getting a sack on the ensuing fourth-down play.
While this was a fun and entertaining game, you can't help but wonder why Oregon State got away from the running game in the second half. The Oregonian's John Hunt highlights that with this clever tweet.
Texas has sacked Vaz six times and intercepted him twice. Meanwhile, Storm Woods has 18 carries for 112 interception-free yards.— John Hunt (@JHuntweet) December 30, 2012
The Alamo Bowl rarely disappoints, and this year was certainly no different.