Down 38-24 late in the third quarter, UT (4-2, 1-2) staged a 16-play drive that ate up more than seven minutes of clock and amassed 63 yards. But the Longhorns needed 64 yards, as Whittaker fell to the ground before crossing the goal line after catching a short pass from Ash on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard-line.
OSU's next two drives resulted in a safety when Weeden stepped out of the back of the end zone and a three-and-out, but the Cowboy defense answered by forcing a UT punt before Lowe's forced fumble on UT's final possession.
“Those were big,” Gundy said. “Even though we stubbed our toe there by taking the safety, that momentum was huge at that time and obviously took points off the board for them.”
The defense also set up the Cowboys' first score, as Caleb Lavey recorded his first-career interception on the Longhorns' second possession. On OSU's ensuing drive, Weeden hit Josh Cooper over the middle for a 37-yard pass to the 1 before Joseph Randle took the ball into the end zone on the next play to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
Not all was good for the Cowboy defense. It allowed UT freshman Malcolm Brown to run for 135 yards and two touchdowns on only 19 carries.
But OSU was not often fooled when UT began running more gimmick plays in the second half, other than when it gave up a 24-yard touchdown run by Brown on a Statue of Liberty play.
When the first BCS rankings are revealed Sunday evening, OSU is projected to be in the top 5.
The Cowboy offense is already regarded as one of the nation's elite. And Lavey hopes Saturday's performance shows that the defense can pick up that offense when it is not at its best.
“We have an awesome offense, and it gets so much credit,” Lavey said. “But we're trying to prove ourselves as a defense to the nation, as well. We're trying to make plays and we're just trying to prove that we're part of the team, too.”