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November 1, 2005

Brown: Tough game good for UT

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AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Longhorns had a shaky start and another big-time second half rally.

For coach Mack Brown, the Longhorns' struggles against last-place Oklahoma State were not necessarily a bad thing as his team heads into the final month of the regular season.

Facing a stunning 28-9 deficit Saturday night in front of a hostile homecoming crowd in Stillwater, the Longhorns got another outstanding game from quarterback Vince Young - 267 yards rushing and 239 passing - to rally for a 47-28 victory that kept Texas on track for the Rose Bowl.

It could have been the trap game Brown feared. It came the week Texas (8-0, 5-0) had bumped USC from No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings and came on the heels of three big wins over Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas Tech.

"It was just a weird night," Brown said Monday. "It was probably the best thing that could have happened to us, with all our fans talking about the Rose Bowl, getting tickets ... You don't get rewarded if you don't have focus. I think they sat around and watched all those Oklahoma State films and saw they'd been playing very poorly."

The 19-point win apparently cost Texas some style points in the BCS.

USC moved back to its No. 1 spot Monday, with Texas getting bumped to No. 2. And while Texas remains strongest in the computer rankings in the BCS formula, No. 3 Virginia Tech was able to gain a little ground on them in the human polls. The top teams at the end of the regular season will play in the Rose Bowl for the BCS title.

Now the challenge is to keep Texas from getting relaxed after the big comeback.

Last week's rally was similar to the Longhorns' victory over the Cowboys last season when Texas stormed back from a 35-7 deficit.

Brown said last year's team talked too much about that comeback and that it nearly cost them the next week when Texas needed a touchdown in the final seconds to beat Kansas.

The Longhorns travel 90 miles to Waco on Saturday to play Baylor (4-4, 1-4 Big 12), whose record belies a much-improved Bears team from a year ago.

"They have to understand you don't laugh this one off and say we're fine. We have to play better," Brown said of his players. "We've got to do maybe our best coaching job of the year this week."

Longhorns players said their confidence wasn't shaken by the poor start at Oklahoma State.

"It tested our resolve," offensive tackle Justin Blalock said. "I'd like to say we're a better team. It was a bad situation in which anything that could go wrong pretty much did. We can play a lot better."

For more coverage of the Texas Longhorns, check out Orangebloods.com.

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