Mack Brown goes out with a whimper in 30-7 loss to Oregon

Ronald Martinez

The Shadow fell on the Alamodome. The Shadow was the Alamo Bowl.

"Mistah Kurtz-he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy

...

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star

...

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

...

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

-- T.S. Eliot "The Hollow Men"

The final moments of the Mack Brown era ended with a whimper in the Shadow that was the Alamo Bowl, the clock ticking inexorably to its final death throes, a Shadow encapsulated handmade known with just under nine minutes left by a second Case McCoy interception returned for a touchdown by the Oregon Ducks to result in a 30-7 Texas Longhorns loss.

After a final rendition of the alma mater, Brown walked off the field with his arm around his wife, Sally Brown, and his horns still in the air as Texas fans chanted the longtime head coach's name.

And it was over, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Emotional moments after the game that was the Shadow, the between time before the end, McCoy finishing with more interception return yards against than yards thrown to his own receivers for a second straight game, going 8-of-17 for 48 yards to his own receivers, an average of 2.8 yards per attempt. The interception return yards against McCoy totaled 75 yards and those two touchdowns, more than the Oregon offense scored on their own.

To be fair to McCoy, his poor numbers also included three drops by Texas pass catchers in the second quarter -- two third down drops on consecutive drives by Jaxon Shipley and Geoff Swaim and then another drop by Swaim not long after his first miscue.

Swaim, the most effective blocker on the team also season, had come in with two catches on the year and responded poorly to his first opportunities to make a difference in the passing game.

Still, the second interception return for a touchdown off the hand of McCoy was more cruelty wrought against a fan base that had at least been filled with a little bit of hope for the future after Tyrone Swoopes had entered the game for two drives and nearly completed the longest pass of the game on a beautifully thrown post route that was dropped by Mike Davis.

The Shadow.

Between the second interception that officially sealed the game and the final moments...

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Sure, there was some form with substance in the game, notably the offensive line, the play of running back Malcolm Brown, and a defense that played hard and swarmed to the football, keeping the score respectable when the offense was struggling to move the ball.

In fact, the Texas defense held Oregon to only a single touchdown and forced three field goals on four red zone trips (including the drive that backed out of the red zone because of penalties and negative plays).

Numerous players defensively did themselves, their coach and their program proud as part of a resilient effort under stopgap defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who pulled his college coaching career out of the gutter and proved that he deserves another shot at the FCS level.

It was the first time for an opponent to hold Oregon with less than two touchdowns since 2010, no small feat on a night when Marcus Mariota was masterful at times and flashed his healthy brilliance as a runner before suffering some type of leg discomfort that slowed him.

Mariota finished with 133 rushing yards on 15 carries and 253 passing yards in an efficient 18-of-26 effort. His only real mistake on the day, a fumble forced on a spectacular strip-sack by Jackson Jeffcoat, didn't end up hurting the Ducks in the first half as Cedric Reed was unable to recover the football near the sideline.

The game started with an Avery Patterson return for a touchdown on a tipped ball off the hands of Shipley that helped pace the Ducks early while the offense sputtered in the red zone after producing some big plays, but the third time ended up being the charm for head coach Mark Helfrich and his offense, as Oregon scored with 44 seconds remaining in the half to take a critical 20-7 lead.

The drive went 88 yards in 2:08 and was the only severely hurtful blemish on a performance by the Texas defense that was good enough to win.

All of that and the mistakes by the Texas pass catchers and several missed open wide receivers deep by McCoy squandered an impressive first half from Brown, who for a second straight game eclipsed 100 rushing yards in the first half and broke off the longest run of his career -- 40 yards to top his previous 30-yarder against Kansas. Brown ended the first frame with 113 yards on 18 carries.

The drive that began with Brown's 40-yard run stalled after two more incompletions following Swaim's second drop, an odd bit of play calling by Major Applewhite as the Texas offense went dead in the water as McCoy could not pull out another miracle for his head coach.

The Shadow.

In the final moments of the game, there was only the Shadow.

This was the way the world ended

This was the way the world ended

This was the way the world ended

Not with a bang but a whimper.

[Nice things about Mack Brown.]

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