The Texas offense came to the line of scrimmage with 59 seconds left in the game, down three points at West Virginia and facing fourth down.
Seemed like dire straits for the Longhorns. But no. Down-to-the-last-strike is in the Texas wheelhouse.
The 'Horns converted that fourth down, drove to a game-tying field goal and won in overtime. Which is nothing out of the ordinary. Three times in its last 19 games, Texas has won despite facing a fourth down in the final two minutes of a game in which it trailed. Plus a similar escape at Iowa State earlier this season, except with two third-down conversions.
Somebody buy Mack Brown some new trousers. He's been coaching his butt off.
Not so very long ago, the Texas coach was Dead Mack Walking. Brown looked old and confused and dazed. Looked like he would welcome the water at the end of the plank.
But Texas hosts OSU on Saturday, and Mack's Longhorns haven't lost since way back on Sept. 14. UT is 6-0 in the Big 12.
All without its quarterback of choice; with a slew of injuries to key players like Jordan Hicks, David Ash, Johnathan Gray and Chris Whaley; and with an oppressive cloud hanging over Longhorn football and Mack's future in general.
“They're coaching their tails off,” said 'Horn quarterback Case McCoy.
Mack certainly gets roasted enough in Austin's City Limits and beyond for his many coaching foibles. It's only right that he's hailed when the ship is righted.
“The staff and the players aren't making excuses,” Mack said. “They're just moving on.”
And the Texas brass likely will move on, too. Mack long ago was fired in the court of public opinion, athletic director DeLoss Dodds is out and 'Horn honchos have admitted to even trying to entice Nick Saban to a job that's not yet open.
Hard to put the horses back in that barn. But hard not to appreciate what Mack's staff has done after losing September blowouts to Brigham Young and Ole Miss.
This is a coaching job along the lines of Les Miles in 2002, when OSU lost to Louisiana Tech and UCLA, then got off to an 0-2 start in the Big 12 but then won six of seven to ignite a Cowboy renaissance.
Along the lines of Barry Switzer in 1980, when the Sooners lost two nonconference games but rallied to win the Big Eight.
Mack's September firing of coordinator Manny Diaz has invigorated the UT defense, and while Mack should be slapped for hiring Diaz, the midseason firing — no easy thing to do — has been a bonanza for the 'Horns.
But Mack's ability to keep his team believing — when it has lost to heavy underdogs, even when his goose seems cooked, even when it's a do-or-die fourth down — is the most impressive element of this coaching job.
“We've just got trust in each other,” said defensive end Cedric Reed. “If we get into a bad situation, we know we trust each other that we're going to get out of the situation.”
Those are just words that don't mean anything. Except the Longhorns have proved them to be true. They've had ample opportunity to fold. Everyone expected them to fold. Yet they didn't.
And Mack deserves the credit. He remained calm. He remained confident.
“Do you know that every player and every coach on the team was looking at me to see how I respond?” Brown said. “Every one of them. And if I'm tight, they're tight.
“I told them, 'This is who we are, how much fun is this, we're exactly where we like to be.' We're going to make it.”
McCoy tossed a nine-yard completion to Jaxon Shipley on that fourth-and-seven. Soon enough, Texas' unbeaten Big 12 record was safe.
All that drivel from Mack in September, talking about competing for a Big 12 championship? It wasn't drivel. It was a coach who kept the faith.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.