Texas Football: Top 5 Moments of the Mack Brown Era

Taylor Gaspar@Taylor_GasparFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2013

Texas Football: Top 5 Moments of the Mack Brown Era

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    The Mack Brown era at Texas came to an end in the Alamodome Monday night, but the ending was not the storybook finale some Longhorn fans were hoping to see.

    The Oregon Ducks sent Brown off into the sunset with a 30-7 defeat in the Valero Alamo Bowl. With all of the negative comments made over the last four seasons, it's time to take a look at the top five moments of the Mack Brown era in Austin.

No. 5: 2008 Red River Rivalry

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    The 2008 Red River Rivalry was an old-fashioned shootout between the No. 5 Texas Longhorns and the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners.

    The Sooners led for the majority of the game, but the Longhorns grabbed control with a little over a minute left in the third quarter and refused to let go. Texas led 30-28 heading into the fourth when Sam Bradford threw a 14-yard pass to Manuel Johnson to give the Sooners a 35-30 lead.

    The clock wound down to 7:37 before the Longhorns could answer, but the answer was huge.

    Running back Cody Johnson's one-yard touchdown run followed by a successful two-point conversion was the turning point for the Longhorns. Johnson's two-yard touchdown with four minutes left in the game was the final nail in the Sooners' coffin. Texas defeated Oklahoma 45-35.

    The 2008 Red River Rivalry featured the highest-scoring game in the rivalry's history. It is absolutely a memorable moment in the Mack Brown era.

No. 4: Cotton Bowl Win over Mississippi State

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    Brown led Texas to many memorable bowl games, but his first bowl appearance as the Longhorns head coach was special.

    Texas had one bowl win in the decade leading up to the Mack Brown era and was coming off of a 4-7 season under former head coach John Mackovic. But Brown changed everything.

    The Longhorns went 9-3 in 1998, had a Heisman winner and would face former Texas A&M nemesis Jackie Sherrill in the Cotton Bowl against Mississippi State. 

    Sherrill held a 5-2 record over Texas during his time coaching the Texas A&M Aggies. But Brown's Longhorns were ready to quiet Sherrill in the January 1, 1999 Cotton Bowl between No. 20 Texas and No. 25 Mississippi State.

    The Longhorns dominated the Cotton Bowl from start to finish. They ended up with a 38-11 win over Sherrill's Bulldogs.

    This game was the first of Brown's 10 bowl wins at Texas.

No. 3: The 1998 Season

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    One of the key moments in Mack Brown's career at Texas came right out of the batter's box in 1998. When Brown inherited the team, it had one bowl win in the previous 10 years and went 4-7 the season prior to his arrival.

    For the 1998 season, the Longhorns got off to a rocky 1-2 start, which caused fans to question if hiring Brown was the right decision. "Eddie Joseph told me I couldn't find enough friends to be pallbearers at my funeral," Brown said of his 1-2 start to the 1998 season.

    In true competitor's form, Brown's Longhorns overcame the slow start to finish the season 9-3 with a win over former Texas A&M nemesis Jackie Sherrill in the Cotton Bowl against Mississippi State.

    The 1998 season included victories over No. 7 Nebraska, No. 6 Texas A&M—where Ricky Williams broke Tony Dorsett's career rushing record—and Williams winning the Heisman trophy.

    The strong finish started the winning tradition for Mack Brown and Texas.

No. 2: The 2005 Rose Bowl

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    Brown's double-digit win streak between 2001 and 2009 was legendary, but one of the more memorable games during that time span was the 2005 Rose Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and the Michigan Wolverines. 

    No. 6 Texas and No. 13 Michigan kicked off in the first high-definition television broadcast for ABC ever. The Longhorns and the Wolverines were tied at 14 at halftime, but Michigan began to pull away and entered the fourth quarter with a 31-21 lead over Texas.

    The game was far from over.

    Quarterback Vince Young's two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter put Texas within two points of Michigan, and Dusty Mangum's 37-yard field goal as time expired gave Brown his first BCS bowl win ever, a 38-37 victory over Michigan.

    The year that followed would end up being the most magical year in the Mack Brown era. 

No. 1: The Best of the Best, BCS National Championship

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    The 2005 Texas Longhorns season was a fairy tale in itself, but January 4, 2006 delivered one of the greatest national championship games of all time.

    The USC Trojans led the college football rankings all season, and Texas was in second place behind the Trojans each week. Very few people gave the Longhorns a chance against the almighty USC Trojans. In ESPN's College GameDay predictions, the only analyst who picked Texas was Lee Corso, and his gutsy pick made him appear to be more than just a talking mascot head.

    With Vince Young at the helm, the Texas Longhorns upset the No. 1 USC Trojans to give Brown his first BCS National Championship and the Longhorns their first title since 1970.

    Unless otherwise noted all quotes were obtained firsthand.

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