Though there’s still no definitive word on when Vince Young’s #10 Texas Jersey will be retired (Our best bet: FAU Game), the BON authors thought it might be fun, and a good way to honor what will most likely be the “Ceremonial Event Of The Millennium,” by sharing some personal favorite memories of VY for that much too short time he donned the Burnt Orange and White.
And while legendary plays like the 4th and 5 touchdown run against USC to win the National Championship, the pump fake and 80-yard scamper against OSU, and the conversion of the 4th and 18 at Kansas are unforgettable and etched into the memories of all Longhorns fans forever, we really want to hear about those moments that are special to you and may not be so top of mind for BON readers as a whole.
Maybe it’s the first time you ever saw him play in person or the first time you couldn’t help yourself and blurted out loud, “holy sh*t, this guy’s good” (which was probably the first time you saw him play in person). It could be a specific play or something he said in an interview or even something as simple as the way he walked. When it comes to those three magical years VY spent on the 40 Acres, it’s all good.
To get the ball rolling, here’s...
54b's PERSONAL FAVORITE VY MEMORY
Even though there’s a good chance I’d consumed enough alcohol to kill a meat producing farm animal, I remember it like it was last Saturday...it was October 4, 2003 at DKR Memorial Stadium during the 4th quarter of the Kansas State game.
The Wildcats arrived in Austin ranked #16 while the Longhorns were sporting a #13 ranking despite getting “Nutted” on by Arkansas a few weeks prior. The build-up for the game received a little more hype than usual (or than it probably deserved) because ESPN Gameday chose it as their game of the week and Fowler, Corso, and Herbstreet conducted their weekly helmet hair battle royal next to the LBJ Fountain earlier that morning. Regardless, most Texas fans weren’t focusing a lot on K-State as most of the tailgate talk turned to the match-up with #1 OU the following week.
Chance Mock started the game and Texas took a commanding 17-3 lead into halftime on a blocked punt recovered in the endzone for a TD and a pretty touchdown pass from Mock to Sloan Thomas with a minute left in the second quarter. VY did get in for one series against K-State at the end of the first quarter, but he mostly just handed the ball off to Cedric Bensen.
Sidebar: To truly appreciate what’s coming, you have to remember that at this very early stage of his Texas career, VY had played sparingly in three games (New Mexico State, Rice, and Tulane) and it was just mop-up duty as the issue was no longer in doubt when he entered those games. And even though he’d completed 7 of 12 passes including a long one in the NMSU Game, he still wasn’t considered a passing threat. Despite the fact that even a blind man could see he was an incredible athlete, most Longhorns fans held him in much the same regard as we do John Chiles right now.
Fast forward to the 4th quarter...it’s now 20-17 K-State. The Wildcats seized momentum and had just recovered a rare muffed punt by Vasher deep in Texas territory. If K-State scores a TD here, it most likely would have been a backbreaker for the ‘Horns. As if on cue, UT’s Phillip Geiger stripped QB Ell Roberson at the 12-yard line two plays later to give Texas the ball back. And back onto the field trotted Vince Young looking just as confident as ever despite suffering what looked like a severely sprained ankle in the 3rd quarter on a nasty tackle by a K-State D-Lineman after VY'd escaped a ton of would-be tacklers to avoid a safety. (Mock was benched earlier in the 3rd quarter for largely ineffective play.) To start the drive, Texas called three straight running plays, two VY keepers and a reverse for Roy Williams, and managed to pick up two first downs moving the ball to the UT 35-yard line. But it was the 4th play from scrimmage that would change Texas fans minds about VY forever and quiet all the "move Vince to receiver" talk.
At DKR, my seats just happen to be located on the 35-yard line (south side) about 10 rows up behind the visitor’s bench. Basically, I was sitting on the line of scrimmage with the ball placed no more than about 30 yards from me. VY took the snap from center and dropped back to pass. Instead of trying to scramble like he'd done many times before, VY uncorked a 52-yard BOMB to Tony Jeffrey on the run, a pass most UT fans including me didn’t even think he was capable of throwing much less completing at that time.
And when I say a "52-yard bomb,” I mean fifty-two yards in the air. There was no run after the catch. It was basically a jump ball that Jeffrey came down with and quite honestly, a low percentage passing attempt, especially when you consider UT was down by four in the 4th quarter. Six plays later VY scored the game winning TD on a sneak on 4th and 1 from the one-yard line, but all anyone could talk about was “the pass.” It completely reversed the momentum and reinvigorated the Texas defense that had been on their heals for most of second half and subsequently came in and completely shut K-State down for the final five minutes.
You'll have to wait until about the 3-minute mark, but here's the play on YouTube.
Even after all that sappy prose and given everything VY accomplished at Texas, I would imagine that it’s still hard for many of you reading this to really appreciate my adulation over a pass play VY would go on to complete many more times in his legendary Longhorn career.
So the only other way I know to really drive home the significance of this play is to do what all bloggers do when they can’t find the words to convince you of anything and that’s liken their subject matter to a cheesy 1980’s pop culture movie phenomenon...
In my case, watching VY complete that pass was like watching Rocky IV when Sly was getting the ever living snot knocked out of him by the CCCPeople’s Champion, Ivan Drago, only to unleash an improbable haymaker to the juiced up Rusky’s right eye and send a shockwave permeating throughout the stunned crowd as the announcer looking on screamed, “He’s cut. He’s cut. The Russian is cut.”
That’s what it was like for me except I was jumping around slapping high fives and screaming, “He can pass. He can pass. Vince can pass.” There were probably some not so family friendly expletives in there too, but you get the point.
All right, considering just about everything VY did at Texas was probably worthy of honorable-instant-classic-mention, I know you all must have a ton of great VY stories to share.
So let’s read it from ya because Burnt Orange People like rehashing past greatness...it reminds us of all that was once good and could be again. Though I don’t think we’ll ever see another one quite like VY again, not in my lifetime anyway.