December 1, 2001, will forever go down in burnt orange history as arguably the most heartbreaking loss in Texas history.
Texas fans came into this game with no reason to doubt victory, as the Longhorns had defeated Colorado 41-7 earlier in the season. Texas scored after an 85-yard drive with a Cedric Benson run on their first possession of the game, taking an early 7-0 lead.
Chris Simms had an awesome season, but then with a chance to put the Horns up two scores, from the Colorado 22-yard line, he threw an interception that was returned all the way to the Texas 12.
Colorado had a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter when Simms threw his second interception of the game, allowing Colorado to go ahead 17-7. He managed to lead Texas to a field goal to cut it to 17-10. Simms then fumbled in his own territory, allowing Colorado to recover and score yet another touchdown, putting them ahead 22-10.
With just four minutes left in the half, Simms was intercepted, and it was returned for a touchdown. He was then injured, and Major Applewhite was forced into the game to the delight of many Texas fans.
On just his third play, Applewhite threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Johnson, and the deficit was only 29-17 at the half.
Leading 36-23, Colorado tried a fake punt on 4th-and-4 that was intercepted by Roderick Babers that was returned for a touchdown. Texas only needed to stop the Buffaloes, but a roughing the punter call kept the Horns from getting the ball back, and they were defeated 39-37.
With a national championship on the line, Chris Simms could not come through, and Major Applewhite's comeback was too little, too late.