Registered: Apr 2003
Local time: 09:43 AM
Location: In The Zone
Texas beats Michigan on last-second FG
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - The kick wobbled. Everyone at the Rose Bowl waited.
Almost in slow motion, the ball floated over the crossbar. Then pandemonium.
With one kick off his right foot, Dusty Mangum had settled once and for all the debate over whether Texas deserved to be in the Rose Bowl.
Mangum's 37-yard field goal as time expired sent No. 6 Texas, behind a stellar game from quarterback Vince Young, to a wild 38-37 win over No. 13 Michigan on Saturday in the first matchup of two of college football's elite programs.
With flashbulbs popping throughout the stadium, Mangum drilled the kick after Michigan had tried to ice him with its last two timeouts.
"I was hoping they would quit calling timeouts," said Mangum, a walk-on senior. "It's something I've dreamed about. To come down to a pressure kick - why not?
"We came out here to Pasadena with a mission," he said.
And it was exactly the kind of ending Texas coach Mack Brown wanted.
"There will never be a better game in the Rose Bowl," Brown said. "You had two of the top four winningest programs and it should come down to two seconds left."
While his players ran around the field celebrating, Brown gave Mangum a hug for giving him the biggest win of his seven years at Texas.
"I told him he was the luckiest human being in the world," Brown said. "He just said, 'Coach, I love you and thank you for bringing me to Texas."'
All week, Brown and his Texas players were barraged by questions about their worthiness to play in a Bowl Championship Series game.
The Longhorns (11-1) earned their trip West when they leapfrogged fourth-ranked California in the final BCS standings, helped by Brown's public pleas.
"I don't think we'll ever answer all the critics in sports," Brown said. "It's amazing to me the last three years when Texas was left out.
"Cal had a great team. They deserved to be in a BCS, in my estimation, but I don't think anybody who really knows football is questioning whether Texas should be here," he said.
Texas tailback Cedric Benson certainly has something to say whoever that might be now.
"I think we shut the critics up," he said. "Let's see what they say now."
Young ran for 192 yards and four touchdowns, passed for 180 yards and another score and drove the Longhorns to the winning kick.
Michigan freshman quarterback Chad Henne tied a Rose Bowl record with four touchdown passes, three to All-American wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Garrett Rivas kicked three field goals, the last a 42-yarder that squeezed just inside the right upright with 3:04 left to give Michigan a 37-35 lead.
By bumping Cal, Texas also crashed the Rose Bowl's long-standing tradition that the "Granddaddy" of bowl games pits a Pac-10 team against the Big Ten champ.
Michigan (9-3) has the most wins in college football with 842 and Texas is third with 787. And while it took more than 100 years for them to meet on the field, their first was a doozy.
With Young's razzle-dazzle on touchdown runs of 20, 60, 10 and 23 yards and Henne's scoring throws to Edwards, the game was an offensive showcase that simply came down to who had the ball last.
"I was just going out and doing my thing," Young said. "If I see a hole, I run the ball."
Michigan's Steve Breaston set a Rose Bowl record with 315 yards total between his catches and kick returns, breaking the mark of 276 set by O.J. Simpson back in 1969.
The Wolverines nearly spoiled it for Texas, but Young simply wouldn't let them.
Michigan was vulnerable against mobile quarterbacks all season and never came close to containing Young, who calls his ability to avoid tacklers in the open field the "Texas Two-Step."
"He was tough to tackle, but we should have gotten to him several times," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "I was disappointed with the loss and with the tackling."
Young ran for a TD and passed for another in the first half, and Henne matched him with a pair of scoring strikes to Edwards that made it 14-14 at halftime.
But the fun had only just begun.
Young's second TD was a longer version of his first. Dropping back to pass, he took a quick read of the field then took off.
He shook off a tackle 15 yards upfield and then outraced All-America safety Ernest Shazor to the end zone to make 21-14.
Breaston, who gave the Wolverines good field position with his kick returns all afternoon, brought the ball out to the 50. Three plays later, he hauled in a pass from Henne and sprinted for the end zone, diving for the pylon to make it 21-all.
By early in the third quarter, Texas had taken the lead three times only to have Michigan tie it. The Longhorns came in having outscored opponents 105-3 in the third quarter but gave up two touchdowns on Michigan's first two drives of the second half.
The Wolverines took their first lead when Henne hit Edwards from 9 yards out and stretched it to 31-21 when Rivas kicked a 44-yard field.
But the Michigan defense had nothing left to stop Young from running wild.
"Young is a phenomenal athlete," Edwards said. "You can obviously compare him to Michael Vick."
After Rivas kicked a field goal that made it 34-28, Young scrambled again for the end zone, leaving the Wolverines either punching the air in frustration or bending over and gasping for breath as Texas took a 35-34 lead before the frenetic ending.
"Thirty-seven points should have been enough to win," Carr said. "There are no excuses."