Football

Daily Longhorn football history: The 2007 season

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Posted August 24th, 2017

The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season. 

The Longhorns began the 2007 season ranked No. 4 in the nation. Sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy was cemented as the starting quarterback and offensive coordinator Greg Davis’ scheme was about to get back to basics with a strong running game.

Defensively, Texas continuing to reload. Marcus Griffin led the Longhorns in tackles, 99, and interceptions with five. The defensive line featured: Lamarr Houston, Frank Okam, Brian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle and Roy Miller.

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The receiving group included Limas Sweed (who played in only six games), Nate Jones, Quan Cosby and junior Jordan Shipley.

Jamaal Charles runs into the end zone late in the 4th quarter of the game against OSU at the Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. on Saturday November 3, 2007. (Ricardo B Brazziell/American-Statesman)

The Longhorns opened the season with four straight wins, including a surprisingly close game against Central Florida, who led Texas 24-23 in the fourth quarter before the Longhorns woke up and scored 12 points to finish the game with a 35-32 win.

It was a precursor to the next two games.

For the second year in a row Kansas State beat the Longhorns. True Story: Ron Prince was only the head coach at Kansas State for three years but managed to beat top-10 ranked Texas teams twice. In 2007, the Wildcats came to Austin, led 24-14 at halftime and never let Texas get back in the game, defeating the Longhorns 41-21.

For college football history, we should point out how three quarterbacks were taking center stage in 2007. Texas gave the world Colt McCoy in 2006, so he was a known commodity. Meanwhile, Florida in 2006 gave up glimpses of Tim Tebow as a scheme quarterback subbing in for Chris Leak. Tebow was now the starting quarterback for Florida. In Norman, after several years of trying to find a replacement for Heisman Trophy winner Jason White, the Sooners landed Sam Bradford.

The three quarterbacks who all appeared like they were genetically engineered to be college quarterbacks looked and played the parts well. All three would be Heisman finalists the next season.

The first Bradford-McCoy matchup came following Kansas State’s upset in Austin. Texas and Oklahoma actually played a close, fun game in Dallas! Side note: The Texas-Oklahoma rivalry is one built around terrible lopsided performances from both sides.

Baylor safety Brandon Stiggers gets an interception against UT wide receiver Jermichael Finley in the second quarter at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco on Saturday Oct. 20, 2007. (Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

The Sooners led 21-14 entering the fourth quarter. Texas tied the game on a Vondrell McGee rushing touchdown. Bradford then found Malcolm Kelly with a 35-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give the Sooners the deciding margin.

Bradford was 21-for-32 with 244 yards and three touchdowns. McCoy was 19-for-26 with two touchdowns and an interception but had 324 yards passing.

With a 4-2 record, pressure of making a BCS bowl game was lifted from Texas in the first week of October. Texas beat Iowa State (who was being coached by their former defensive coordinator Gene Chizik) and Baylor by a combined score of 87-13.

Close games against Nebraska and Oklahoma State followed, then Texas scored 59 points in a 16-point win over the Red Raiders.

The Oklahoma State game was notable because it allowed kicker Ryan Bailey to nail another game-winner. Texas trailed 35-14 in the third quarter. Jamaal Charles scored two rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown run that cut the score to 35-28.

McGee scored the game-tying touchdown with 3:22 to go. McCoy and the offense took over with 1:13 remaining of a tied game and drove Texas 57 yards to set up a 40-yard field that Bailey nailed in Stillwater.

Two weeks later, Texas found themselves down 17-0 in College Station against Texas A&M in the final week of the season, but scored late to make the game closer than it was, Texas lost 38-30.

Texas accepted an invitation to play in the Holiday Bowl after that loss and would play Arizona State in San Diego. Texas led 21-0 after the first quarter, and the Sun Devils were never in the game. Jamaal Charles rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns. McCoy added 84 yards on the ground with a touchdown. McGee, Jermichael Finley and John Chiles added rushing touchdowns.

Colt McCoy fights for yardage as Arizona State’s NO.90 David Smith and NO. 58 Dexter Davis tries to make a tackle at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Thursday December 27, 2007. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Derek Lokey had the only touchdown catch in the game, as McCoy was 21-for-31 with 174 yards passing.

McCoy finished the year with 3,203 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

Charles had 1,619 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns.

Texas finished 10-3 on the year and No. 10 in the final Associated Press poll.

Five Longhorns were drafted, the highest coming when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Limas Sweed in the second round. Charles was taken in the third round along with Finley. Charles became the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher and was one of the league’s best running backs for several seasons before injuries disrupted his career. Finley became one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets and helped the Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl XLV.

 

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