No. 15 Washington State 28, No. 5 Texas 20
SAN DIEGO -- Three second-half fumbles proved costly for the Longhorns Tuesday night in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl as the 15th-ranked Washington State Cougars held on for a 28-20 win. Traditionally one of the most entertaining bowl games, this year's contest didn't disappoint as the game came down to the final seconds and was decided by eight points or less for the sixth straight year.
The Longhorns (10-3) trailed 28-13 late in the fourth quarter before Chance Mock found a streaking Roy Williams down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown with 4:29 to play. David Pino's extra point made it 28-20 and on the ensuing drive the Cougars went three-and-out. A 19-yard punt return by Nathan Vasher gave Texas the ball at its own 43.
Three plays later Mock and Willams struck again, this time for a 46-yard completion that spotted the ball at the Washington State 11 with just under three minutes to play. But on second down the Cougars (10-3) ended the drive by recovering a fumble at their own 36.
The Texas defense again produced a three-and-out and, following a Kyle Basier punt, the Longhorns had the ball at their own 26-yard line with 1:15 remaining. Again Mock guided the Horns into Cougar territory but time ran out and UT's six-game winning streak came to an end.
Williams was solid in his final game as a Longhorn, catching nine passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. He also tied the NCAA record for consecutive games with a reception, equalling the mark of 47 originally set by USC's Kareem Kelly (1999-02). Williams leaves UT as the school's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and 100-yard receiving games.
The UT senior class also concluded a successful four-year run, compiling a 41-10 overall mark and surpassing the four-year UT victory record of 40 (since freshmen became eligible in 1972) set by the 2002 senior class (40-12). This year’s group helped Texas post consecutive 11-win seasons for the first time in school history in 2001 and ‘02 and three straight 10-victory campaigns for the first time ever.
Cedric Benson led the Texas ground attack with 83 yards on 23 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the second quarter that put Texas on top 7-0.
Washington State got on the board with 59 seconds left in the first half when Sammy Moore hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Matt Kegel to knot the game at 7-7. A 39-yard Pino field goal on UT's ensuing drive gave Texas a 10-7 lead at the half.
The Cougars scored three times in the third quarter, including Jason David's 14-yard fumble return, to open up a 26-10 lead. Washington State missed two out of three extra points in the third quarter, but regained the two points with eight minutes to play when a Texas holding penalty in the end zone gave the Cougars a safety.
Kegel finished 18-of-32 for 203 yards including scoring passes of 54 and 12 yards, both to Moore.