The Austin Chronicle

Ash Leads Horns Comeback in Alamo Bowl

By Michael Corcoran, December 30, 2012, 11:33am, The Score

With zero chance of being yanked, Texas quarterback David Ash played with intense confidence Saturday night in San Antonio to lead the Horns to a thrilling 31-27 win over the #13 ranked Oregon State Beavers in the Alamo Bowl. Down by 10 points in the 4th quarter, the sophomore from Belton threw two completely different touchdown passes

- a scramble flip to Johnathan Gray for 15 yards and a hanging bomb to Marquis Goodwin for 36- to put away a game that the much-maligned defense kept Texas in.

Texas finishes a season of ups and downs at 9-4, with a probable Top 20 ranking. The shocking suspensions of backup QB Case McCoy and LB Jordan Hicks in the aftermath of sexual assault charges became just a sad footnote once the game started. Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who left for a head coaching gig at Arkansas State, was missed in the first half, but when the game was on the line, Major Applewhite came through.

It was a night that DE Alex Okafor added a few million dollars to his NFL guaranteed money with a tenacious attack on the Beavers QB for 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The hungry Horns had 10 sacks for the night, bailing out a woeful linebacker corps, which has had gap control issues all season. Seniors Okafor and Goodwin, the Marquise de Wow, whose Olympic speed on a 64-yd dash in the first half will get him a Sunday shot, were the defensive and offensive players of the game. Ash was a close second on offense, completing 21-33 for 241 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.

But one of the night’s biggest stars was up in the booth. Offensive coordinator Applewhite- Opie as O.C.- sending in plays for the Longhorns for first time, was getting Twitter hate early for conservative calling. He was Major Applevanilla and the Ghost of Greg Davis in the first quarter, when Texas did not get a single first down in five possessions. But the decision to hasten the tempo in the second half and get the sure-handed drive-extender Jaxon Shipley more involved eventually wore down the swarming Beavers.

That the game was huge for Ash, projected to start for the Longhorns the next two years, was apparent after he romped and hurdled into the end zone in the 3rd quarter on an 11-yard run that brought Texas to within 3, 20-17. Usually stoic- or seemingly stoned- the blonde Keanu let his emotions rip after the TD.

But the game's most gloriously explosive moment happened with about 8 minutes left in the game, when Ash slipped out of a sack and looked to run for whatever he could get, then recognized Gray and tossed him the ball into the end zone. Such ball creativity made the score 27-24 OSU, but you could see it in the eyes of every Horn that they were going to win the game.

Coach Mack Brown was as delirious as he's ever been seen and embraced Ash, who was 6-6 for 77 yards on the drive. But the QB quickly raced to celebrate with his teammates. There was still work to do.

David Ash is the Texas quarterback for the next two years. The frosh sensation Tyrone Swoopes best grab a redshirt and let a humbled McCoy play backup. It's only going to get better for Texas, which loses Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro on defense and not much else, unless Jackson Jeffcoat declares for the draft. The Alamo Bowl was not a game to build on; it was a game to win. And by coming from behind, the 2013 Horns have announced themselves as winners.

Fucking September can't come soon enough.

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