I was thinking about doing something like ctex's post by listing the most painful losses in the MB era, but since he said he would do that himself at some point, I'll leave that to him. Plus, while I'm a guy who likes history, that doesn't seem like a particularly fun thing to do.
Instead, I'm going to try to pinpoint some plays that certain players have made over the years that were incredibly important in either big games or even for the season but seem to be swept away by more high profile highlights. This will be pretty subjective, obviously, and I hope a lot of people can give us some good memories they have. My memory is a bit fuzzier in the early years of Mack Brown's tenure, so I'll probably avoid looking too much into those times.
Here's my criteria:
1. Not seen in highlights much after the game, or at least otherwise quickly forgotten. That means plays like Vince Young's NC winning touchdown, Dusty Mangum's kick, Quan Cosby's Fiesta Bowl TD, etc., are out of the picture. Those plays have been seen a million times.
2. Impacted the game and/or future in a large way that is not discussed often. A momentum changer or a gamesaver that just doesn't quite get the attention it deserves.
3. A certain player in a big play doesn't get the credit he deserves. Somebody laying down a key block on a big play would be an example.
4. Long-term impact on the program. Big win or one that sets up a run for the team?
With those ambiguous things, I'll start with my 10. I'm guessing it will be exceedingly difficult to find Youtube clips of many of these, so I won't even try.10. Bo Scaife TD against Okie State, 2004
When you see highlights of this game, they will invariably be Vince's run where he seemingly shoves a Cowboy defender out of the way like a rag doll for a TD, Ramonce Taylor's reverse, or a big Cedric Run. I hardly ever see Scaife's TD right before the half, which made that ridiculous 35-7 deficit into something a little more manageable. True, we ended up winning by more than a TD, but that was an important score going into the half to give us a little bit of life. There's nothing snazzy about this, but not only did this give us a boost to eventually win the game, it helped preserve our BCS hopes that would lead to our first Rose Bowl.
9. Crouch fumble, 1998.
This is actually on the highlight reel that ctex posted, but I don't think I hear a lot of talk about it. We remember that game for Major's heroics and Ricky's toughness, but Major had just tossed an ugly interception that gave Nebraska excellent field position. Not only did our defense keep seven points off the board, it kept three points off the board with that fumble. I believe we scored a field goal on the ensuing drive following a Major bomb, and that's essentially a ten point swing. We won by 4, by the way.
8. Tony Jeffries catches a difficult winning TD against Kansas, 2004
Vince gets all the credit this game, for both his fourth down saving run and his winning TD pass. However, as well as that ball was thrown, it was a very difficult catch with the defender all over Jeffries. Jeffries was not a great WR by any means, but heck, that was a darn good catch that helped keep our 2004 BCS hopes alive. Nobody seems to acknowledge that that was a heck of a reception anymore.
7. James Kirkendoll reaches for the first down against Ohio State, 2009 Fiesta Bowl
Quan Cosby deservedly gets his highlights and Colt got the MVP, but what about Kirk completing that crucial fourth down conversion. Gutsy, heads up play that saved our hides and set up Quan's TD. He even got ripped off by the spot but he still made it, and everyone but blind Buckeye fans will agree.
6. Curtis Brown tackling the OU punter, 2009
Highlights of this game are plenty. This includes OU's failed fake punt, but few talked about Curtis Brown's effort on that play. It looked for a second that the OU punter, now more known for his soccer acting, was about to make it, and Brown had already ran past him. He turned around, chased him down, and stopped him short of the marker. Great effort play by Brown that helped shift momentum back to us.
5. Cedric Griffin wallops Ohio State TE, 2005
Highlights of those games will always center around Limas Sweed's winning catch, Vince's plays, and Kelson's forced fumble. However, you always need a little luck when you win a title, and we got ours when the Buckeye tight end bobbled a perfect pass from Justin Zwick for a touchdown. That was lucky, but the second part was not. Even though he bobbled the ball, it still was an easy touchdown catch as the ball came right down towards him. Cedric Griffin punished him for his mistake by blasting him, knocking the ball loose as it came down to him again and saving a touchdown. Ohio State would have to settle for another FG. Great teams take advantage of their luck and make their own luck sometimes.
This was huge because this game set the stage for our title run. Huge play. I remember my heart stopped when the ball was floating in the air.
4. FG stand against Michigan, 2005 Rose Bowl
Vince just scored to pull us within three, and on the ensuing drive, a face-mask penalty put Michigan on our 14 yard line with a first down. Starting with a one yard loss from Hart, brought down by Dibbles, Michigan didn't move another foot and settled for a field goal to push the lead to six and keeping it within one score.
3. Kasey Studdard recovers a Vince Young fumble, 2006 Rose Bowl
It turns out Vince wasn't entirely perfect that game; he fumbled the ball on a big drive, a fumble caused by Rucker. As was the case all year it seemed, we recovered our own fumble, and Studdard made the heads up play of getting on the ball. We would score a FG on that drive to cut the lead to five and keep us within striking distance. If we lose the fumble, we lose the game. Plain and simple.
2. LenDale White fumbles the ball for the first time all season, 2006 Rose Bowl
The 4th and 2 stop gets all the attention, but if it weren't for this unlikely fumble the play before, we might not have stopped him short of the marker. White hadn't fumbled ALL SEASON, and on a third down draw, Aaron Ross stood his ground and punched the ball loose. The ball luckily went right into the arms of Steve Smith amongst so many Longhorns, initially making me curse the luck we had. However, White lost a crucial 1/2 to 1 yard on that fumble, and with a generous spot for White the next play, we didn't stop him by very much at all.
1. Brian Robison gets penetration, White is stopped on fourth down, 2006 Rose Bowl
Michael Huff gets all the credit for this play, and he deserves a lot of it; it was a gutsy and heads up play by one of the great defenders in UT history. However, the D-line got great penetration that play by submarining the blockers, and Robison led the way. The penetration slowed down the development of the play and allowed Huff to knife and stop White short of the goalline. If it wasn't for this, Huff has no chance to stop White. We all know what happened on the next drive.
There's my list, with a decided bias towards recent history. I'm sure there are a zillion other plays to be mentioned, especially in big, close games like all of our BCS games.