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Game of the Year of the Day, 2004: Texas 56, Oklahoma State 35

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Mack Brown’s 2004 Longhorns: one of the 50 best* of all time.

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The date: November 6, 2004

The matchup: No. 6 Texas (7-1) at No. 19 Oklahoma State (6-2)

The stakes: Despite a shutout loss to Oklahoma, the Longhorns still had a shot at a BCS bowl if they could win out, but that would require surviving Les Miles’ tricky Cowboys.

The back story: Texas was still trying to find itself under Brown. The Horns were 39-8 since the start of 2001, but they had taken a backseat to OU within the conference, and former all-world recruit Vince Young had not yet put all the pieces together. He had a miserable performance in a 12-0 loss to OU, and the very next week he had been benched because of turnovers in a narrow win over Missouri.

Texas had pummeled Texas Tech, 51-21, the week before, but OSU took the fight to the Horns at Darrell K Royal, and for a while the home team had absolutely no answer.

The game: From the official Texas recap.

AUSTIN - Apparently the hole wasn't deep enough.

Trailing by 28 to No. 19 Oklahoma State late in the second quarter, the No. 6 Texas Longhorns came all the way back, scoring 49 unanswered points to beat the Cowboys, 56-35, in front of a sellout crowd of 83,181 at Darrell K Royal Stadium.

With the win the Longhorns improved 8-1 (5-1 Big 12) while the Cowboys fell to 6-3 (4-3 Big 12). The comeback was the greatest in UT history, surpassing the previous high of 19 set against Washington in the 2001 Holiday Bowl.

"We've been a team that some people called soft," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "But you can't be a soft team and do what this team did tonight." [...]

Down 35-7 with just over a minute before halftime, Texas began its stirring comeback.

On its final drive of the half, Young completed seven-of-eight passes, the final completion a five-yard score to senior tight end Bo Scaife who had to stretch out to get the ball over the goal line, making it 35-14 game as the teams headed into the lockerroom.

"That drive right before the half set the tempo for the rest of the game," said Benson. [...]

"I've never seen Vince play any better," said Brown of his quarterback who rebounded from a pair of first half interceptions. "What a drive (he had) to end the first half and then he didn't cool off in the second half. I'm proud that he came back from some adversity in the same game."

All of Young’s worst characteristics came to light in a turnover-plagued first half, but from the moment the Horns got the ball back down 35-7, everything changed. He finished the game with 278 passing yards and 123 rushing yards, and Texas wouldn’t lose again with Young in burnt orange.

You can watch the full game here:

The box score: You can find the full box score, with play-by-play, here. I think my favorite part might be the drive chart.

2004 Texas-OSU drive chart

That’s quite the stark turn.

For fun:


A year later, Texas romped to a 13-0 season and national title, but not before another near-hiccup against OSU. Once again, the Pokes raced to a huge first-half lead. And once again, Texas played a perfect second half, one that featured maybe the single most hilarious, amazing play of Vince Young’s life.