2001 Holiday Bowl: Texas 47, Washington 43
SAN DIEGO -- Senior QB Major Applewhite saved his greatest game for last, finishing off a shootout that ranks among the Holiday Bowl's wildest.
Applewhite completed 37 of 55 passes for 473 yards — all career highs and Texas bowl game records — in his final collegiate start to rally No. 9 Texas from a 19-point deficit to a 47-43 victory over No. 21 Washington.
"Anybody who went to sleep in the third quarter, I hope they taped it, because it was a great game," head coach Mack Brown said. "And may I say, No. 11 played great."
No. 11, of course, was Applewhite, the Longhorns' all-time passing leader who gave Texas its biggest comeback ever, a rally from a 36-17 third-quarter deficit.
"I don't think I'd want to win any other way," Applewhite said. "We all refused to quit. The defense started off rough, I started off rough, but in the second half it was another great Holiday Bowl."
The Longhorns were down 36-20 entering the fourth quarter, but Applewhite — who threw three interceptions in the second quarter — was already in the process of leading Texas to scores on six of its last seven possessions.
After Willie Hurst gave Washington a 43-40 lead on a 34-yard touchdown run with 1:49 left, Applewhite moved the Longhorns 80 yards in seven plays, with running back Ivan Williams scoring on a 3-yard run with 38 seconds left.
"In the second half, he was just his amazing self," Texas receiver Roy Williams said. "He was cool, calm and collected."
"What a fitting end to his unbelievable career," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He was outstanding."
The wildest Holiday Bowl finish came in 1980 when Jim McMahon's 41-yard pass to Clay Brown with 3 seconds left rallied Brigham Young from a 20-point deficit to a 46-45 win over SMU.
The Longhorns' previous record rally was from 17 points down, last accomplished in 1999 when they beat Oklahoma 38-28 after trailing 17-0. Texas finished with 11 victories for the fifth time in school history.
Applewhite's 4-yard touchdown pass to Bo Scaife with six minutes left gave Texas a 40-36 lead, three plays after linebacker Derrick Johnson intercepted Cody Pickett's pass and returned it 16 yards to Washington's 9-yard line.
Applewhite was hit just as he released the TD pass and he knew it was good. Laying on his back, he pointed both index fingers toward the sky as the Texas players on the field and the sideline went wild.
Still, it wasn't enough for Texas. Washington, which won five games with fourth-quarter rallies this season, appeared to have comeback win No. 6 after Hurst's run.
Texas started its winning drive with 1:49 to go, and Applewhite was 4-of-5 for 75 yards before Williams got the last 5 yards on two carries. Applewhite hit Scaife for 12 yards before Brett Robin dropped a pass. Applewhite then hit three straight -- 25 yards to B.J. Johnson, 6 to Scaife, and 32 to Johnson.
Pickett, who played most of the season with a separated throwing shoulder, was 27-of-54 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.
After a scoreless first quarter, Applewhite's three second-quarter interceptions led to 13 Washington points as the Huskies took a 23-14 lead in the highest-scoring quarter in Holiday Bowl history.
"You don't want to go out a loser," Applewhite said. "I basically stunk it up in the first half.
Washington pushed it to 30-14 after tight end Jerramy Stevens caught a 17-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.
Applewhite then led Texas on five straight scoring drives. Dusty Mangum had field goals of 26 and 24 yards sandwiched around Hurst's 4-yard scoring run. Applewhite threw a 2-yard TD pass to Matt Trissel early in the fourth quarter and Williams' 1-yard run pulled the Longhorns to 36-33 with 8:01 to go.
Washington defensive tackle Terry Johnson returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.
Applewhite came right back, though, and gave Texas a 14-13 lead with touchdown passes of 43 yards to B.J. Johnson and 25 yards to Roy Williams on consecutive drives.
Pickett ran the two-minute drill perfectly and threw a 4-yard TD pass to tight end Joe Collier for a 20-14 lead with 47 seconds left in the half.