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Texas bailed out by Bailey in end

Backup kicker makes a 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to lift the No. 5 Longhorns to an improbable 22-20 victory over Nebraska.

October 22, 2006|From the Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. — Texas Coach Mack Brown had some encouraging words for Ryan Bailey before the backup kicker took the field in the final seconds.

"You're the luckiest guy in the world," Brown told the sophomore walk-on. "You've got a chance to be Dusty Mangum on your first kick."

Time will tell whether Bailey's 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to beat 17th-ranked Nebraska, 22-20, ranks alongside Mangum's 37-yarder to defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl two years ago.

For Bailey's part, he was just happy to be on the travel roster for the fifth-ranked Longhorns. Before Saturday, he said, his biggest accomplishment in football was simply making the team at Texas.

The eyes of Texas, Nebraska and a national television audience were on Bailey after regular kicker Greg Johnson told Brown late in the game that his leg was tightening up. By then Johnson already had missed two field-goal attempts and had an extra-point attempt blocked.

"I had no idea something like this would happen," Bailey said. "I was here along for the ride."

What a ride it was for both the Longhorns, who improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big 12 Conference, and the Cornhuskers (6-2, 3-1).

Nebraska was on the verge of pulling the upset after taking a 20-19 lead with 4:54 left. But Texas caught a huge break when receiver Terrence Nunn fumbled as the Cornhuskers were trying to kill the clock. Marcus Griffin recovered at the Nebraska 44 with 2:17 left.

Colt McCoy, with a 20-mph wind in his face, snow flurries swirling and Vince Young looking on from the sideline, drove the Longhorns to the Nebraska five-yard line.

Nebraska tried to ice Bailey when Coach Bill Callahan asked officials to review the previous play to see if the Cornhuskers may have intercepted a pass by McCoy in the end zone. Replays clearly showed that the ball bounced on the ground, however, and Bailey didn't seem to mind the delay.

After getting a good-natured slap on the helmet from Brown, he trotted back out onto the field and calmly made the kick.

"I was surprised we got the ball back," Bailey said. "I would have preferred a touchdown. I'm just glad I could make it."

Nebraska got two shots at the end zone as the clock ran out -- including an untimed down after Texas was called for roughing the passer on what would have been the final play of the game -- but both passes from Zac Taylor were broken up.

Texas won its 16th straight road game, extending a school record, and 19th consecutive conference game.

Nebraska, which hasn't beaten a top-10 team since Oklahoma in 2001, lost for the sixth time in seven meetings with Texas since the Big 12 began play in 1996.

Brown said he expected Nebraska to make an appearance in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 2.

"Nebraska is back," Brown said. "For them to keep coming back and back and back -- they made big plays throughout the game to put themselves in a position to win.

"The team I saw today is probably the one someone will see in Kansas City for the Big 12 championship. I hope we get an opportunity for a rematch."

McCoy completed 25 of 39 passes for 220 yards.

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