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Web Posted: 10/21/2006 2:00 CDT

Football: Texas-Nebraska notebook: UT's Ross offers late-game heroics again

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Two weeks ago, UT cornerback Aaron Ross enjoyed a big fourth quarter in the Longhorns' victory over Oklahoma. He was back at it again Saturday at Nebraska.

Late in the fourth quarter, Ross forced a game-saving fumble, hitting Nebraska's Terrance Nunn after a first down pass that probably would have allowed the Cornhuskers to expire the clock. Moments later, Ryan Bailey hit a 22-yard field goal to give UT the 22-20 victory.

"Some guys just make game-changing plays," said UT coach Mack Brown, who once again promoted Ross for Thorpe Award consideration. "He did the same thing against Oklahoma."

Using his head: Ross admits there was a bit of luck in forcing the game-turning fumble.

While wrapping up Nunn, Ross' helmet struck the ball, loosening it from the Nebraska receiver's grasp.

"I couldn't script it any better," Ross said.

Disabled defense: Two of UT's starting defenders left Saturday's victory and didn't return. Defensive tackle Derek Lokey left with an injury to his lower left leg. Linebacker Robert Killebrew had an ankle injury.

In addition, defensive end Brian Robison did not start and played sparingly after tweaking his ankle in pre-game warm-ups.

"We're just beat to death on defense," Brown said.

One bright spot? Aaron Lewis, who started in place of Robison, finished with three tackles for a loss and a sack. His coup de domination came in the first half when he sacked Nebraska's Zac Taylor, forced a fumble and recovered it all on one play.

Kicked aside?: Brown said he doesn't know whether or not he will make a change at placekicker despite Greg Johnson's struggles in that department Saturday.

Johnson missed field goals of 39 and 31 yards and had an extra point blocked. According to Brown, Johnson left the game because he re-aggravated a leg injury -- and not because of ineffectiveness.

Asked whether Johnson or Bailey would kick field goals next week at Texas Tech, Brown said: "I'm just really happy with the win, and I haven't even thought about it."

Extra points: Colt McCoy threw his 19th and 20th touchdown passes, putting him alone atop UT's freshman list. … UT receiver Limas Sweed, who scored on a 55-yard catch in the second quarter, has logged a TD in seven of UT's eight games this year. … The Longhorns are now 6-1 against Nebraska since the formation of the Big 12, including a 3-0 mark in Lincoln.

- Jeff McDonald

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