SAN ANTONIO — Mack Brown’s career at Texas ended as most expected — in defeat.
After one of the most turbulent seasons in Longhorns’ history, Brown concluded his 16-year run with a whimper as No. 10 Oregon easily cruised to a 30-7 victory in the Alamo Bowl despite scoring only one offensive touchdown.
The high-scoring Ducks were held well below their 46.8 points-per-game average, but it did not matter as the Longhorns’ offense sputtered from start to finish, ending the career of Texas’ most successful coach since Darrell Royal.
Following the game, Brown admitted the outcome was exactly why he needs to move on.
“I really want this bunch to have a lot of success moving forward,” he said. “Lets get back into the top 10. Let’s get back in the BCS mix next year because it will be the first time we’ve ever had a playoff. Texas should be in that.”
Against Oregon, however, the Longhorns proved once again they are not prepared to be among the nation’s elite.
Texas fell into an immediate hole after Ducks free safety Avery Patterson
returned Case McCoy’s interception 37 yards for a touchdown less than 90 seconds into the game. Oregon increased its lead to 10-0 approximately five minutes later as Matt Wogan connected on a 25-yard field goal.
The Longhorns finally responded late in the quarter as former Copperas Cove standout Duke Thomas, who later suffered an ankle injury and was unable to play after halftime, returned the ensuing kickoff 21 yards to set up Texas’ lone scoring drive.
With junior Malcolm Brown leading the way, Texas marched down the field, using Jaxon Shipley’s 8-yard reception to convert a fourth-and-7 situation before McCoy scored on a quarterback sneak with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter.
It was one of only two Texas drives to span more than 50 yards as the Longhorns finished with 236 total yards, crossing Oregon’s 45-yard line only twice all game, and the lack of productivity left McCoy disappointed, especially for his coach.
“It is tough, there is no doubt about it,” the senior said. “We would have rather gone out with a win, but we love that man, and he loves us. Inside that locker room, we know we fought for him, and that is all that matters.”
Longhorns defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat shared his teammate’s sentiments.
“It is tough to see him go,” the senior said. “Even though (the seniors) are moving on, we are Texas, and this is the place we want to come back to and see Coach Brown.”
Penaltiesplagued the Ducks, who were forced to settle for a second field goal following Jeffcoat’s sack and strip of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota early in the second quarter.
After exchanging punts, Texas (8-5) appeared poised to be heading for the end zone once again as Malcolm Brown topped the 100-yard plateau on a 40-yard gain, but three consecutive passes led to an Anthony Fera punt with 2:08 remaining in the half.
It was more than enough time for the Ducks to add to their cushion, though, covering 88 yards in seven plays before Mariota, who accounted for 386 total yards, found Josh Huff for a 16-yard touchdown, and Oregon led 20-7 at halftime.
The Ducks (11-2) added another field goal on their opening possession of the third quarter, and Texas was unable to answer even though opportunities were presented.
Texas forced a pair of punts after falling behind 23-7, but could not capitalize despite replacing McCoy with freshman Tyrone Swoopes and watching Wogan’s 32-yard field goal bounce off the upright late in the third quarter.
Regardless of what Brown did, the Longhorns simply could not create any momentum.
“We couldn’t move the ball as well as we needed to,” he said. “The offensive guys tried, but it just didn’t work.”
Texas went three-and-out on each of its three third-quarter drives, finishing with 80 yards in the second half.
McCoy reentered the game in the fourth quarter, but his final drive ended just like his first possession as Oregon virtually clinched the victory on outside linebacker Derrick Malone’s 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 8:55 remaining in the game.
It proved to be the final snap of McCoy’s collegiate career as Swoopes played the duration of the game, producing a 66-yard drive on the Longhorns’ last possession.
Minutes later, Brown’s career with the team he guided to 158 victories — the fourth-most wins in the nation since 1998 — was over, opening the door for what he hopes is a bright future for the burnt orange.
“I think this is best for Texas, It’s best for me, and it’s best for the players,” he said. “We need to win more than eight games, and that is just where we are.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org