Comeback kept Longhorns rolling

Friday, October 28th 2005, 7:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Entering this week's game at Oklahoma State, No. 2 Texas has an 11-game winning streak and a Rose Bowl victory in tow.

But without the biggest comeback in school history, the Longhorns (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) would have neither. Trailing Oklahoma State 35-7 last season, then-No. 6 Texas reeled off 49 straight points for a 56-35 win.

The win kept Texas alive in the BCS race, and _ after coach Mack Brown campaigned to get them in _ eventually the Longhorns pulled off a 38-37 win against Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Oklahoma State, which nearly had an even bigger upset in a 38-35 loss the week before against second-ranked Oklahoma, went in the opposite direction. The Cowboys (3-4, 0-4), who had reached as high as No. 16, fell out of the rankings after a loss at Texas Tech and then got thumped 33-7 by Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl.

``When you take a devastating loss, it can wear on you,'' Brown said. ``I do think that'll be their point for this week. That was such a huge game for them last year, and they let it slip.

``This is a chance for them to get it back and start over. I think this will be a starting point for them.''

The past two years, Texas has outscored Oklahoma State 83-0 in the second half. Oklahoma State was ahead 16-14 at halftime of the 2003 game in Stillwater before the Longhorns scored 41 unanswered points to win 55-16. After cutting into a 35-7 deficit with a touchdown before halftime last season in Austin, Texas outscored the Cowboys 42-0 in the second half.

``I've never been in a game with as big of a momentum turn as that,'' said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator last season. ``I've never been in a game like that.''

Asked what caused the turnaround, he said: ``We woke up the sleeping giant.''

On paper at least, the Cowboys don't appear to be much of a threat to the Longhorns this time around.

They've lost four straight games, including the last two by a combined score of 99-33. Quarterback Al Pena, who replaced Bobby Reid as starter after he sprained his ankle Oct. 8 against Missouri, has committed 10 of the Cowboys' 12 turnovers in those two games. Reid is day-to-day.

``They did not have Bobby Reid the last two weeks, and we think they'll have him back,'' Brown said. ``He can make a lot of plays with his legs and his arms.

``Turnovers have killed them the last three weeks. When you're playing a team like that, it scares you. If they fix their turnover problems, it puts you in a tough spot in a tight game on the road.''

Oklahoma State hopes it can continue its trend of starting fast against Texas, although that's something the Cowboys haven't done this season. Big 12 opponents have outscored Oklahoma State 78-36 in the first half.

``We have to start strong and finish strong,'' Oklahoma State safety Jamie Thompson said. ``Once you get on top of somebody, you have to keep pounding them with what you've been doing. That's the problem with a lot of teams, they slack off and start going conservative.''

Brown said he thought the Cowboys ``played perfect'' when they pulled ahead in last year's game. To have a chance this year, they'll need more of the same.