Texas Won. It wasn't the picture of dominance, but the Longhorns are still undefeated after tailback Joe Bergeron plunged across the line for the decisive touchdown with 29 seconds to play. Or did he? The controversial, game-winning score will fuel Zapruder-like breakdowns and probably a few conspiracy theories in Stillwater, but it will not change the Big 12 standings, where Texas is now 1-0, and the defending conference champs are 0-1.
Why Texas Won. If Oklahoma State had a checklist coming into this game, it seemed to accomplish everything on it. Offensively, the Cowboys effectively balanced the run (275 yards) and pass (307 yards), committed just one turnover and only punted twice. Defensively, they held Texas' running game firmly in check, limiting the 'Horns to 136 yards on 3.2 per carry. For the game, OSU outgained Texas by well over 100 yards of total offense, 582 to 440, and finished dead even in turnover margin.
The Longhorns were able to close those gaps on the stat sheet, however, with the help of several equalizers. One was a first quarter interception by safety Kenny Vacarro in OSU territory, setting up a quick touchdown on the second of Ash's three scoring strikes to Jaxon Shipley. Later in the first, D.J. Monroe answered an Oklahoma State touchdown with a 100-yard kickoff return that pushed Texas' lead to 21-14. From there, the Cowboys' offense left points all over the field, settling for field goals on three separate occasions inside the UT 20-yard line, and missing on a fourth.
Meanwhile, Texas controlled time of possession, turned three fourth-down conversions into points and finished every opportunity in Cowboy territory with a touchdown. Ash especially came of age in the second half, answering OSU scores with lengthy, time-consuming touchdown marches on three of the Longhorns' last four possessions.
When Texas Won. Texas' final drive covered 75 yards in eight plays, including a 29-yard, do-or-die completion from Ash to D.J. Grant that extended the march on a key fourth down. Two plays later, Ash hit Mike Davisfor 32 yards to the Cowboy 5-yard line, setting up Bergeron's decisive dive.
Although officials initially ruled the run a touchdown, replays appeared to show that a) Bergeron's body (and therefore the ball) did not cross the goal line, and b) Bergeron lost the ball at some point in the scrum, although it was difficult to tell amid the bodies exactly when it came free, or who initially recovered the loose ball before Oklahoma State safety Daytawion Lowe snatched it from the pile. At any rate, the touchdown was upheld, Texas moved in front by the margin of 41-36, and the Cowboys' last gasp attempt to answer came up well short.
What Texas Won. A clutch road win over the defending Big 12 champions is arguably Texas' best win in years, and solidifies the Longhorns as bona fide contenders in the conference. With three touchdown passes and the game-winning drive to his credit, Ash came of age in hostile territory as an emerging star.
What Oklahoma State Lost. The Cowboys are hardly out of the conference race at 0-1, but the margin of error is dramatically reduced. And for a team that came in with a double-digit loss at Arizona already on its resumé, it's painfully clear just how 2011 is in the past.