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Rose Bowl Bound: Texas 13 Nebraska 12

Massive amounts of work await me, so this will brief, but I can't just say nothing after what we just witnessed.

Let's do bullets? Bullets.

Horns_bullet_mediumFirst things first: 13-0 is 13-0. Against A&M, the offense carried the day; tonight, the defense returned the favor. Congratulations to Mack Brown and the 2009 Longhorns: Undefeated Big 12 champions, headed to the Rose Bowl for a shot at the national title.

Horns_bullet_mediumAnd second: A playoff would be nice, wouldn't it? Texas and Alabama will be the only two teams with a title chance, in a year when quite a few others do, as well. After the bitter end to 2008, this may feel like it was supposed to be Our Year, but tell that to fans of teams who are shut out from having Their Year. I'd love nothing more than for TCU and Texas to have the chance to battle it out on the field; they undoubtedly deserve that much.

After the jump, a few quick thoughts on the game.

Horns_bullet_mediumObviously, both defenses were magnificent tonight. But the final numbers are utterly staggering:

Nebraska offense: Across 15 possessions throughout the game, the Huskers ran just 55 plays, picked up 5 first downs, and amassed 106 total yards of offense (67 rushing, 39 passing), at an average of 1.9 yards per play. Zac Lee was sacked once and intercepted 3 times.

Texas offense: Across 16 game possessions, the Horns ran 74 plays, picked up 17 first downs, and amassed 202 total yards of offense (18 rushing, 184 passing), at an average of 2.7 yards per play. Colt McCoy was sacked 9 times and intercepted 3 times.

Horns_bullet_mediumGobs of credit to Nebraska's defense, but they got gobs of help from Greg Davis and the Texas offensive line. A week ago, Colorado managed 403 yards of total offense on the Huskers, averaging 5.6 yards per play. I'm happy to tip my cap to Nebraska's defense for playing terrific football tonight, but the ineptitude in blocking, in block scheming, and in play calling was frightening. I don't have the time (or stomach) to sink my teeth into it right now, so let's just say how thankful we are to have won, and end on an optimistic note: If tonight's performance was vintage Greg Davis against OU, maybe we can likewise expect the usual game-after-OU improvement. We'll need it against Bama.

Horns_bullet_mediumThough the line was terrible, the fact is that McCoy did not have a good night himself. The early interception combined with Nebraska's pressure clearly rattled him, and he was for much of the game inaccurate and (perhaps understandably) on at least a dozen plays too quick to bail out of what few good throwing pockets that he had. If there was any doubt he had been mentally thrown off kilter, McCoy very nearly lobbed the game away, fortunate the ball bounced with a single tick remaining on the clock.

Maybe things don't look so bad if Kirkendoll catches that beautiful bomb that would have gone for a touchdown, but as it stands, McCoy's best completion was his last, to Shipley, getting Texas into winning field goal range.

Horns_bullet_mediumSpeaking of which... After a 2008 season filled with rotten luck and near-misses, and 59 minutes of football tonight in which little seemed to bounce Texas' way, the Longhorns could not have been more lucky to have won this football game. Considering what Nebraska was doing to the offense, and how much McCoy was struggling to sustain a drive, the odds were against Texas picking up 50-55 yards in under two minutes for the win. But Nebraska kicked it out of bounds, Jordan Shipley's 19-yard reception became a 34-yard gain with a horse collar, McCoy's brain freeze hit the ground with one second remaining, and Hunter Lawrence's kick slid inside the upright. It's almost never enough to be good... You gotta have some luck, too. Last year, we didn't get it; tonight we did.

Horns_bullet_mediumAnd finally, though throughout the year we have praised Hunter Lawrence's outstanding work, it almost always felt like an afterthought, in part so greater attention could be paid to strengths and weaknesses in the spotlight, but mainly because Texas wasn't involved in many games where field goals would much matter.

Tonight they did. And like he has been all year, Hunter Lawrence was nails. Game ball to tonight's hero.

Horns_bullet_mediumHey, Pasadena: We're baaaaaaaaaaaack!