CFN Alamo Analysis -Texas 31, Oregon State 27

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 29, 2012


CFN's thoughts and analysis on the Longhorns' solid win over the Beavers.

- Alamo Texas 31, Oregon State 27

Texas never had the lead until late as David Ash connected with Marquise Goodwin for a 36-yard touchdown with just over two minutes to play. Goodwin also had a 64-yard touchdown dash in the first. The defense that had be problems in the first half clamped down in the second, led by the pass rush of Alex Okafor on the outside, keeping the Beavers to just seven points after halftime. Ash struggled early but found a groove running for an 11-yard score in the third and throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth, while three Beaver turnovers and too many stalled drives kept the Longhorns alive. Storm Woods ran for two touchdowns for OSU and Trevor Romaine nailed two field goals.

Texas: QB David Ash completed 21-of-33 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran seven times for 22 yards and a score. … WR Marquise Goodwin ran once for a 64-yard score and caught four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. … The Longhorns committed nine penalties for 78 yards. … DE Alex Okafor made eight tackles with 4.5 sacks and five tackles for loss with a forced fumble. … DE Cedric Reed had five tackles with a half a sack, a fumble recovery and four quarterback hurries.

Oregon State: The Beavers turned the ball over three times, but only committed two penalties. … QB Cody Vaz completed 15-of-28 passes for 194 yards with two picks. … RB Storm Woods ran 21 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a pass for 22 yards. … LB Michael Doctor made 11 tackles with half a tackle for loss.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

1) Whoo boy. This is the kind of game that has to be viewed for its whole product, not just for Texas's mad scramble – and successful rally – in the final 10 minutes. You have to look at the big picture here, folks. Texas was a mess through three quarters. With a month to prepare, the offense and defense were both noticeably disorganized. David Ash showed in the fourth quarter that he can make highly impressive plays and perform under pressure, but that makes his disjointed first half all the more revealing. Yes, Texas did have to replace offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin on relatively short notice, but this is Texas we're talking about. The offense labored for most of the night, and the defense – before thriving in the final 10 minutes – was pushed around by Oregon State. The Longhorns' linebackers were awful.

Remember: This is TEXAS we're talking about.

The Longhorns' problems can't be pinned on one player. Multiple layers on both sides of the ball need major fixes. This game, if played in San Francisco and not San Antonio, probably wouldn't have gone to the Longhorns. Give Texas credit for rallying, but let's not deny that this was a de facto home game for Bevo University. Texas didn't need to win this game, but it did need to look impressive. Ultimately, Texas proved to be slightly less flawed than Oregon State in what was a poorly-played contest. That doesn't – and shouldn't – inspire confidence in Austin for the coming season… not when Texas had a month to fix a whole host of problems and failed to do so.

The 2013 season is going to be the last one in Austin for Mack Brown. You can take that to the bank. The feel of decay is ever-present in Austin at this point, akin to what existed in Tallahassee, Fla., a few years ago at Florida State. Don't let the late comeback (and its smooth taste) fool you.

2) Oregon State thoroughly outplayed Stanford for 40 minutes… and then lost the plot. Tonight, the Beavers thoroughly outplayed Texas for 50 minutes… and then lost the plot. The Beavers did so many things well in 2012, but they did not finish two high-profile games, and that's why they're 9-4 instead of being 11-2. When you realize that Oregon State lost to a mediocre Washington team this season, it becomes clear the Beavers – despite rejuvenating their program and banishing the memories of their struggles from 2010 and 2011 – still left a lot of money on the table. Sports can be contradictory and complicated that way: Oregon State overachieved and underachieved in the same season. The big picture is that the Beavers rebounded from past struggles and earned a lot of admiration. However, when viewed in microcosm, this Alamo Bowl – like the Stanford loss – prevented Mike Riley's roster from attaining greater goals. This is a recurring pattern in Corvallis for an "almost" program that almost wins Pac-12 titles and BCS bowl berths, but can't quite capture them. Riley is a really good coach, but tonight reminds us that he's not quite deserving of elite status in the coaching ranks.

3) We're seeing this theme re-emerge in the 2012 bowl season: "If only teams had a quarterback..." Give Oregon State an elite quarterback under Riley and watch what this program could become. Yes, the Beavers' offensive line was poor in the second half, but many of the sacks OSU conceded were either coverage sacks or sacks caused by Cody Vaz's utter lack of pocket presence, plus a stubborn refusal to throw the ball away.

Richard Cirminiello

Huge win for Mack Brown, which was evident watching him on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. Still, it changes nothing about his status for 2013. Beating Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl will mollify Texas fans for about 30 minutes.

And playing the part of Minnesota tonight is … Oregon State. The Beavers were awful in the second half of a game it should have won, much the way the Golden Gophers were against Texas Tech a night earlier in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Love Mike Riley. Hate the game he called tonight. There’s loyalty and then there’s blind loyalty. Riley suffered the latter by keeping QB Cody Vaz in from start to finish. Hey, Sean Mannion is no gem, but Vaz didn’t have it tonight, and his bum ankle made him a sitting duck for the Texas D.

Forget the Senior Bowl. ‘Horns DE Alex Okafor used the Alamo Bowl to improve his NFL Draft grade. Not only was No. 80 unstoppable, getting to Vaz five times, but he got better as the game wound down, which is really going to turn the heads of pro scouts.

Oregon State finally has its successor to Quizz Rodgers in the running game. Storm Woods was outstanding before getting injured, and he’s only a rookie. He’s from the same high school in Texas as Okafor, Pflugerville. The Longhorns hold their breath and stomp their feet when they whiff on local kids, especially when they end up in the state of Oregon.

‘Horns WR Marquise Goodwin earned a sizable bump in his 2013 pay tonight. Why did this world class sprinter touch the ball just 34 times on offense during the regular season? He was spectacular, and will test very well in the coming months.

Somehow, some way in 2013, Major Applewhite and the UT assistants need to see more of the David Ash that led Texas back in the second half, and less of the kid that was erratic in the early going. When he’s on, he can be an awfully exciting and magnetic figure for the Longhorns offense. As he grows, so grows the Longhorns next fall.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Texas has played uninspired at times this year and by and large underachieved. In the second half tonight, the Longhorns played with emotion and turned the momentum around because they finally figured out the attitude needed to keep the heat on.

- Will the heat wane a bit on Mack Brown now? The Texas program has been walking in purgatory since Colt McCoy graduated, but now--finally--Texas has something to build on looking towards 2013.

- Is it just me or did David Ash look like a much more confident quarterback in the second half? If he can harness the poise and playmaking ability he did against a very good Oregon State defense, Texas could be a handful next year.

- Take nothing away from Oregon State, but a season that could have been great, is now just a solid season. OSU was arguably the most pleasant surprise of the first half of the college football season, but Mike Riley’s crew stumbled to the finish line and will now be left with a salty taste in its mouth heading into the offseason.

- The Pac-12 needs to start showing up. Arizona won a squeaker, but UCLA looked like it didn’t want to be playing against Baylor, and OSU lost a game that could have given the league on the West Coast some street cred.

- It seems like we say this every year, but this year’s slate of early bowl games has been as entertaining as I can remember. The Alamo Bowl was another game decided in the last few minutes, and my DVR is smoking this year trying to keep up to the potential of catching a classic game.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

Once again, an unranked Big 12 team took out a top 25 Pac 12 opponent. While that doesn't necessarily mean that the Big 12 is the best conference in the land, it certainly proves that it's the deepest.

Major Applewhite's debut as Texas' offensive coordinator will go down as a success. Sure, the offense struggled for most of the contest, but Applewhite eventually figured things out, guiding the 'Horns to two fourth quarter TDs. It will be interesting to see if he can turn UT into an offensive juggernaut next year.

Who says that teams in the Big 12 don't play defense? The Longhorns recorded a bowl-record 10 sacks against an Oregon State offensive line that allowed the fifth-fewest sacks in the Pac 12.

Yes, Alex Okafor is a first-round NFL pick. Most players are happy to record 4.5 sacks in an entire season... he posted that total in a single game. With his unique combination of size and speed, Okafor should have a lengthy pro career.

While a bowl win is always nice, Mack Brown is still on the hot seat. Losing four conference games with (arguably) the best talent in the league simply isn't going to cut it.

Despite letting this game slip away, Oregon State has to be pleased with its 2012 campaign. Other than a lopsided defeat in the Civil War, the Beavers had their chances to pull out a W in every game they played this season. With most of its top talent returning, OSU could be a sleeper in the Pac 12 North next year.