A Happy Holiday Bowl For Texas
SAN DIEGO - Tabbed as a BCS-worthy squad prior to the start of the 2007 season, few prognosticators believed Texas would wind up in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. But as everyone would soon come to find out, not much would go according to plan in the college football world this past season and that the entire landscape would be turned on its head.
So in the most bizarre of collegiate pigskin seasons, it was fitting that Texas would end its 2007 campaign on a bizarre note.
Sure, Texas bested Arizona State 52-34 in the 30th edition of the Holiday Bowl Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium, but it was the matter in which they went about it that will have people in Austin nervously chuckling at what could have gone wrong.
A fumble late in the third quarter at the 4-yard-line by a scrambling Colt McCoy bounced into the end zone and was somehow found at the bottom of an unforgiving pile by the Longhorns' Jermichael Finley. It resulted in a Texas touchdown that put them safely ahead, 35-13.
That strange fumble sequence, however, was as routine as they come when compared to what transpired on one play in the second quarter.
Behind by 21 points, Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter was drilled by Texas linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and the ball fell to the ground, about three yards away from the Longhorns sideline.
A then-unidentifiable Longhorns assistant wearing a burnt orange jumpsuit was also on the field at the time and actually reached for the ball in an attempt to pick it up. The problem was, the ball was still in play.
Texas defensive end Aaron Lewis recovered the fumble, but the call was reversed minutes later and the ball was awarded to ASU. This gave the Sun Devils undeniable momentum and Carpenter capped it with a TD pass that electrified the Sun Devil faithful.
Then came word of exactly who the potential goat of the 2007 Holiday Bowl was. Yup, you guessed it...Mack Brown's stepson.
Luckily for Texas, Chris Jessie (a member of his stepfather's football staff), will not have his name placed in the history books next to the Steve Bartman's of the world anytime soon.
"It just goes to show you how bad our family wanted to win the game," Brown later joked about his stepson's incident.
As for the 52 points Brown's extended family laid on the Sun Devils, much of the credit can go to McCoy, who fooled ASU defenders all night long, and to talented back Jamaal Charles.
McCoy, despite fumbling the ball on four occasions, threw for a touchdown and ran for another as he earned MVP honors.
"We just played great together as a team and we were able to throw it down the field when we wanted," explained McCoy. "Tonight things clicked for us and I think this (win) will boost us going into the spring."
Charles was equally impressive for Texas as he finished the evening with 161 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
With the victory, the Longhorns have now won four straight bowl games. ASU is now 0-3 in Holiday Bowls.