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Texas wins wild Holiday Bowl

Weird play involving Brown's stepson doesn't stop Longhorns.

Friday, December 28, 2007

SAN DIEGO — Nothing's normal in San Diego — at least not when Texas comes to town for the Holiday Bowl.

The 17th-ranked Longhorns defeated No. 12 Arizona State 52-34 on Thursday night, extending their bowl win streak to four seasons. The victory gave Texas a 10-3 record, their seventh consecutive year with double-digit wins.

Ralph Barrera

Texas' Derek Lokey, left, celebrates his touchdown catch with Peter Ullman. Lokey, a defensive tackle who had not touched the ball on offense, scored the quickest TD in Holiday Bowl history.

But it didn't come easily or without bizarre moments — including a defensive tackle catching a touchdown pass and a member of coach Mack Brown's family being flagged for interfering with a live play.

Better news for Brown was that he evened his record at the Holiday Bowl to 2-2 and that his defense largely held Arizona State's potent offense in check.

Texas led from the start, scoring the quickest touchdown in Holiday Bowl history, just 1 minute, 21 seconds into the game. The touchdown came in unlikely fashion — a 2-yard touchdown catch by Derek Lokey, who is more accustomed to playing defensive tackle. It was the first time Lokey, a senior, had touched the ball on offense.

The Longhorns' second score was almost as unlikely — a 4-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback John Chiles, whose time in the lineup as a freshman has been limited and who had been in the end zone just once before. Chiles' score was set up by Brandon Foster's big play on defense. He stripped the ball from ASU tailback Dimitri Nance at the Texas 48. On the next play, Jamaal Charles broke free down the left sideline for 48 yards to the Arizona State 4 yard line.

Another big play, this one a 55-yard pass from a Colt McCoy to Quan Cosby, set up Texas' third touchdown of the first quarter. The score came on Charles' 15-yard run.

The Longhorns' 21-point first quarter set a Holiday Bowl record.

Weirdness continued in the second quarter, this time resulting in Arizona State's first score. The most bizarre moment of the game — and one of the most bizarre of this odd college football season — came when Arizona State snapped the ball at the Texas 15, and quarterback Rudy Carpenter was hit while passing. The ball fluttered toward the Texas sideline — a lateral that the Longhorns bobbled, chased and eventually recovered 41 yards behind the line of scrimmage. But the Longhorns' recovery was nullified by an unsportsmanlike-conduct call on the Texas bench. Mack Brown's stepson — Chris Jessie, a member of UT's football operations staff — was flagged for entering the field and touching the ball while it was in play. After a series of official reviews and pronouncements over the public-address system, the ball was given back to Arizona State and placed at Texas' 7 yard line. On the next play, Carpenter hit Chris McGaha with a touchdown pass, trimming Texas' lead to 21-7.

The Longhorns responded with a 69-yard scoring drive that was kick-started by Rashad Bobino's 3-yard run for a first down on a fake punt. Two personal-foul penalties by Arizona State helped Texas advance to the ASU 9, where McCoy ran it in for a 28-7 lead.

As the half neared an end, McCoy may have tried to do too much, resulting in a fumble that led to an Arizona State field goal. Texas had taken over with 1:05 left in the half near midfield, but on the drive's second play, Mike Nixon wrapped up McCoy in the backfield when the ball came loose and ASU's Michael Marquardt recovered at the Texas 15. The Sun Devils hit a 32-yard field goal, cutting Texas' lead to 28-10 at the half.

Thomas Weber added another field goal, this one a 47-yarder, on Arizona State's opening drive of the second half, capping an 11-play, 38-yard drive.

The Longhorns were recipients of three good bounces in the game's next odd turn. First, Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer tipped a pass that teammate Marcus Griffin intercepted deep in Texas territory. But the Longhorns were unable to take advantage and were forced to punt. That led to a muffed punt catch by ASU's Kyle Williams. Henry Melton recovered for Texas at the ASU 32. From there, McCoy scrambled free for 30 yards and fumbled into the end zone as he was being tackled. Texas tight end Jermichael Finley fell on the ball for a Longhorns touchdown and a 35-10 lead.

Rudy Burgess returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to midfield – just the jump-start that the Sun Devils needed. Five plays later, Carpenter hit Michael Jones on a 22-yard touchdown pass, and Texas led 35-20.

Texas responded with a 77-yard drive and a 21-yard field goal by Ryan Bailey.

The Longhorns increased their lead to 15 with 11 minutes to play when Vondrell McGee broke free for a 28-yard touchdown on an option play.

Arizona State registered two late touchdowns to move to within 11. First, Danny Sullivan replaced Carpenter at quarterback and hit Jones for two passes, including a 10-yarder for a touchdown. Then, Sullivan connected with Tyrice Thompson for 28 yards, setting up Jarrell Woods' 3-yard scoring run.

But the Sun Devils failed to recover an onside kick, and Texas responded with a 32-yard touchdown run by Charles to make it 52-34.