Wednesday night the Texas Longhorns beat the California Golden Bears to win the 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego. While the offense was less than stellar, it was the defense that ensured Texas would win its 8th game of what turned out to be a rather unpredicable season for the Longhorns. David Ash started at quarterback for Texas and played the entire game. His stats weren’t impressive (14-23, 142 yardspassing, 1 touchdown) but he did throw and catch a touchdown pass to join Steve Young, Bucky Richardson and Joey Harrington as Holiday Bowl quarterbacks to catch touchdown passes in the game. It was a low scoring affair with plenty of turnovers on the Cal side of the football. Thank goodness, because Texas only managed to convert three of fourteen 3rd down attempts. Texas fans expected to see a power rushing game from a healthy Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron but saw rushing performances of 35 yards and 9 yards, respectively. Malcolm Brown led the team with 35 yards rushing. Despite the lack of offensive “luster” from Texas, the Longhorns were physically superior in just about every way than the Cal squad.
The only scoring in the 1st quarter came on a 47 yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio. Texas took a lead in the 2nd quarter on a 4 yards pass from Jaxon Shipley to David Ash. Texas headed for the locker room at halftime with a 7-3 lead.
Cal managed to put a nice drive together early in the second half and capped it off with an Isi Sofele 6 yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 10-7. In classic fashion Texas answered the Cal touchdown with one of their own, courtesy of a 47 yard zinger from Ash to Marquise Goodwin. Early in the 4th quarter Texas would add a rushing touchdown from Cody Johnson who wore Fozzy Whittaker’s #2 jersey. Texas 21, Cal 10.
Manny Diaz has done impressive things with the Longhorn defense this year. Last night the rushing defense was spectacular only allowing 7 rushing yards on 36 attempts. That’s .2 yards per attempt. Not bad. The defense grabbed 4 fumbles and picked Maynard off once. Texas needs to make sure Diaz stays in Austin, as he is more than likely getting good looks from other universities “in need.”
Mack Brown desperately wanted to win this game and he did. Whether it was to show Jeff Tedford that you don’t mess with Texas and the BCS (see 2008 season) or elevate the Longhorns to 5-0 all-time vs. Cal, coach Brown left his mark. Texas won 8 games this year, an accomplishment that at times this year looked unachievable. The Longhorns finished strong and learned a lot about themselves along the way. Congratulations to Texas for never giving up or letting the adversity hinder progress. Goodbye and thanks to all the seniors for pouring their hearts and souls into this amazing football program.