Sing a Song for Mack Brown
Sixteen seasons, 158 wins, two Big 12 titles, and a national championship later, the Mack Brown era came to end on Monday night in San Antonio. The No. 10 Oregon Ducks defeated Texas in the Alamo Bowl after two pick-six interceptions and a trio of field goals put a 30-7 stamp on Brown’s last game as head coach.
Texas played from behind from the get-go, opening with a Case McCoy pick-six on the game’s fifth play. Senior Duck receiver Josh Huff, a Houston native who remains openly disgruntled with Texas for not recruiting him, delivered Oregon’s only offensive touchdown a few series later, taking a Mariota shovel pass 16 yards touchdown to give the Ducks a 20-7 halftime lead.
To their credit, Greg Robinson’s defense – decimated all season by injuries to linebackers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond, as well as defensive tackle Chris Whaley – did limit Oregon to that single touchdown and just 16 offensive points overall. The Ducks entered the game averaging 46.8 points per game. This round, the onus fell entirely on the offense.
In his final collegiate appearance, McCoy finished 8 for 17 for 48 yards with one rushing touchdown, and two interceptions that Oregon converted into instant offense. The situation got so bad that redshirt freshman Tyrone Swoopes ended up receiving his first extended playing time. More of a rusher than McCoy, Swoopes split the Duck defense for 38 yards on 8 carries and finished with one completion of 8 yards. The Texas offenses totaled 236 yards in total offense to Oregon’s 469.
UT tailback Malcolm Brown was again a diamond in the rough, eclipsing 100 yards late in the second quarter and 130 yards overall. He did the heavy lifting in Texas’ lone scoring drive, picking up 52 yards on nine carries, but the Horns would get no closer. Brown’s touches were limited in the second half as Texas opted to scope out Swoopes.
An eventful and tumultuous season went off the rails early in the year when former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s hapless defense let Brigham Young and Ole Miss run rampant. While Robinson, who replaced Diaz after week two, deserves an honorary degree for fixing what was broken, the Texas offense became the team’s torchbearers of futility. Major Applewhite’s unit couldn’t get it together late in the year, becoming all but inept at playing from behind, and in the end it beat them: Against both Baylor and Oregon, the team stood no true chance after it went down by three scores. The problem ended up critically injuring Texas’ season, and leading to Brown’s long suspected departure.
As the second-winningest head coach in program history, Brown deserved a better swan song. He’s a good coach who got a raw deal from an offense that’s been downright lowly of late, and not entirely through design. David Ash went down early this year; that’s football for you. Everybody’s just a play away from being lost. But we wouldn’t be bidding Brown farewell so soon had he successfully recruited anybody like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, or Jameis Winston, to name just a few superstars who’ve recently slipped the cracks.
Whoever Texas’ new figurehead may be, they better heed football’s golden rule: No quarterback, no hope, no job.