Young’s ‘2-step’ dooms Kansas
With the football game on the line, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young dropped back deep in the pocket and did what he does best.
“I decided to make a play with my feet. I just used my God-given talent. I refused to let that guy make the tackle,” said Young, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound sophomore.
The Houston native juked linebacker Nick Reid en route to a 22-yard gain on a fourth-and-18 call at the UT 45 with No. 6 Texas trailing unheralded Kansas University, 23-20, with barely over a minute to play Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Young capped what turned out to be the game-winning drive by connecting with Tony Jeffery on a 21-yard scoring strike with 11 seconds left.
The Longhorns scored 14 points in the final 4:12 to win, 27-23.
Sure, the pass play was big — as was Young’s 18-yard scamper for a score with 4:12 remaining — but the key to victory, from a Longhorn standpoint, was Young’s run on the final drive. If he had been downed by Reid, the Jayhawks in all likelihood would have stunned the Longhorns and dashed their BCS hopes.
“That guy was talking trash the whole game,” Young said of Reid. “We kept going at it the whole game. I got the last word.”
“Texas two-step,” Young said in describing his move past Reid en route to the first down. “I said (to Reid), ‘Keep your feet man, keep your feet.”’
Young had the option to pass on the play, but decided to run when he said he saw KU’s defenders “dropping back trying to protect deep routes.”
Texas coach Mack Brown didn’t wince when his QB took off, even though he knew 18 yards was a lot of ground to cover with a game at stake.
“He has an awesome knack of knowing when to run,” Brown said.
The coach was asked if any other QB in the land could have made the play.
“I don’t think so. He’s a tremendous player,” Brown said. “It didn’t surprise me. He did the same thing on the draw for a touchdown right before that. He’s faster than he looks because he’s so tall. It looks like he’s gliding.”
Young threw a perfect strike for the game-winner to Jeffery, a 6-1 175-pound senior from Houston. Young had the option to run on that play, a first-and-10 call from the 21 with under 20 seconds left in regulation.
“I came to the line and saw they were in man (coverage),” Young said. “T.J. ran a great route. I knew he could beat those guys. I made a great throw; he made a great catch.”
Jeffery celebrated minutes after making the play, racing to his parents in the stands.
“It was emotional,” Jeffery said. “I guess my dad told my mom I’d make a play. He told me he loved me. It’s probably one of my biggest (catches). Considering we won the game, it was probably my biggest.”
The Longhorns were a happy bunch after the game.
“Credit Kansas. It’s 29 seniors on Senior Day, and 27 of them are from Texas,” Brown said. “Kansas is an improved team.”