Justin Tucker

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker does the Terio in celebration

Last Sunday, after nailing a game-winning 46-yard field goal in overtime to help the Ravens beat the Bengals, former Longhorn Justin Tucker celebrated how anyone in his position should.

He did the Terio.

Watch and enjoy.

Tucker continues to be clutch in his second year in the NFL. And as Texas fans remember, he hit plenty of last-minute kicks for the Longhorns as well.

And if you haven’t caught up on the Terio craze, stop what you’re doing and watch this video.  Now.

Former Longhorns Justin Tucker, Chykie Brown crowned Super Bowl champs

Four former Longhorns participated in the Super Bowl yesterday, and two, Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown and kicker Justin Tucker, walked away with rings. They became the 11th and 12th former Longhorns to triumph in the Super Bowl and the first since former Texas cornerback and Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross did it with the New York Giants last season.

A little more than a year after drilling a game-winning 40-yard kick in College Station to close the historic Texas-Texas A&M rivalry victoriously, Tucker helped Baltimore to its second Super Bowl victory kicking a perfect two-for-two, including a 38-yard field goal, with four PATs. The only stain on Tucker's otherwise stellar performance was a failed fake field goal attempt in which he came one yard shy of picking up a first down. He scored 10 points in the Ravens victory, the most by a former Longhorn in a Super Bowl.

On the opposite side of the field were 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown and guard Leonard Davis. Tarell Brown played an important role in the 49ers'. comeback efforts when he struck the ball from Ravens star running back Ray Rice's hands and recovered the fumble in the third quarter. The play revitalized the San Francisco team, whose near comeback from a 22-point deficit made defeat all the more heartbreaking.

As heaps of purple and gold confetti floated from the heavens, Chykie Brown stole the spotlight with his celebration. On the middle of the field, he lay down and jubilantly created a confetti snow angel.

Justin Tucker made plenty of big kicks at Texas and he has carried over his success to the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Not too long ago they meandered through the 40 Acres, bulked up in the weight room and left their sweat on the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Now former Longhorns Chykie Brown and Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, along with Tarell Brown and Leonard Davis of the San Francisco 49ers will make their mark on professional football’s largest stage — the Super Bowl.

The Feb. 3 game in New Orleans will be the first Super Bowl for each of the former Longhorns, although high-pressure play is nothing new. Tarell Brown was part of the 2005 National Championship team, while Tucker and Chykie Brown played in the 2009 National Championship game, earning two Big 12 Championships along the way. 

For Houston native Chykie Brown, the path to an NFL career began with his years as a cornerback for the Longhorns. Brown started 29 games and posted 106 tackles and four sacks throughout his career. After starting nine games in his 2010 senior season, Brown was sidelined with a season-ending injury against Kansas State.

Brown was picked up by the Ravens as a defensive back in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has added 25 tackles in his two seasons with the team.  Whether or not Brown will start against the 49ers is up for debate. After struggling to make tackles against the Patriots, Brown was benched in favor of Jimmy Smith. With the offensive talents of Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, effective defensive backs will be crucial. 

Fellow Raven Justin Tucker seems to have a knack for closing out nail-biting games. The Austin native and music major graduated with an impressive field goal percentage that ties for third best in Texas history. Tucker is beloved in the minds of Longhorn fans for his game-winning 40-yard field goal against Texas A&M in 2011 as the clock ran out. 

After tallying 132 points and a 90.9 percent accuracy rate in his first year with the Ravens, Tucker found himself in a similar situation as he stepped up to attempt a field goal against the Broncos this season. Tucker successfully concluded the fourth-longest game in NFL history by converting a field goal. 

Chykie isn’t the only Brown to have made his start as a Texas cornerback. Tarell Brown, now a San Francisco cornerback, was also racking up impressive statistics during his college career. Starting 35 out of 47 games, Tarell Brown tallied 172 tackles during his four years as a Longhorn.

Tarell Brown has spent six seasons with the 49ers, and has recorded 57 tackles this season, a career best. He played a key role in snagging a win against the Packers when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers’ pass, which spurred another 49ers touchdown. 

Teammate Leonard Davis also has burnt orange roots. The 49ers guard, and the largest player on the team, was once a powerful offensive tackle for Texas, lovingly dubbed the “Dancin’ Bear” by his teammates and coaches. After starting all 12 games as a senior, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinalsin 2001.

Davis has a wide variety of NFL experience. After playing six seasons for the Cardinals, he then played for the Cowboys for four seasons before heading to Detroit and finally to San Francisco. Davis has played in 16 games for the 49ers this season, although he has yet to start a game.

The Longhorns will have to find reliable options to supplant the production of Justin Tucker, who handled the place-kicking and punting duties in 2011.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

For the first time in a long time Texas will have an entirely new group of players handling kicking and punting duties.

After a long line of successful kickers that included the likes of Ryan Bailey, Hunter Lawrence and most recently Justin Tucker, the torch will now be passed to a young group of players that will all be in burnt orange for the first time in 2012.

The initial depth chart lists true freshman Nick Jordan as the starting place-kicker, a position many thought was all but sewn up by Penn State transfer Anthony Fera. After re-aggravating a groin injury, Fera has quickly become an afterthought in the kicking department. At Coppell High School Jordan became an Army All-American and he seems to have carried over that momentum to the 40 Acres. Jordan has been tabbed as having one of the strongest legs in the 2012 class, and while he has yet to log any statistics as a Longhorn, he’s doing something right if he has already won the starting job.

It will be tough to replace the numbers that Tucker put up last year when he nailed 44 of 44 PATs and hit 17 of 21 field goals. There may be some growing pains with Jordan at kicker, but if he can learn from his mistakes early in his career he certainly has the ability to become the next great Texas kicker.

Another true freshman in Nick Rose will be tasked with kickoffs this season. If there’s one area Texas could use serious improvement it is the kickoff department. Last season Justin Tucker kicked off 70 times and recorded just 12 touchbacks. While it is a stretch to expect a touchback every kickoff, the ratio could use a boost.

That’s where Rose comes in to play.

In his senior season at Highland Park High School, Rose kicked off 87 times resulting in 48 touchbacks. I don’t have to do the math for you, that’s pretty damn good. If he can carry over those numbers as a Longhorn he will have no problem settling in as a kickoff specialist.

Like many kickers Rose also dabbles in the punting game, but for now he will only have to concern himself with kicking as he is listed as Jordan’s backup at place-kicker.

The third new face on special teams is Alex King, the new starting punter for the Longhorns. King joins Texas this season after spending the past four years with the Duke Blue Devils. During his career at Duke, King appeared in 24 games and punted a total of 111 times. His 41.38 career average ranks fourth-best in Duke history. King brings needed experience to the position and a fruitful leg to boot. In 2011, 17 of his 50 punts landed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, something that could prove to be an asset to this year’s Texas team. If King can continue to pin opponents’ inside their own half, he could become a good friend of the Longhorns’ defense, who will be chomping at the bit to score a few touchdowns of their own.

Tucker earns starting spot, Cundiff cut

The Ravens announced that the team has cut kicker Billy Cundiff. Now, that starting spot belongs to former Longhorn and NFL rookie Justin Tucker.

Cundiff, a veteran and Pro Bowler in 2010, missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal in the last few seconds of the AFC Championship game last season. He missed ten field goals last season.

Tucker signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.

Tucker took over the kicking duties in the Raven’s preseason game against the Jaguars on Thursday. He made both a 33 and a 53-yard field goal during the game. He went 5 for 5 in preseason games.

Tucker finished his career at Texas as one of the team’s most decorated kickers. He completed .833 percent of his field goals during his career at Texas.

Stat Guy: 10 telling numbers

Freshman tailback Malcolm Brown has been a huge part of a Texas running attack that has averged 210.42 rushing yards per game this season.
Freshman tailback Malcolm Brown has been a huge part of a Texas running attack that has averged 210.42 rushing yards per game this season.

There is no doubt the 2011 season has been a roller coaster for the Texas football team. It was equally dizzying for the Stat Guy, who began the year predicting a bounceback season for Garrett Gilbert and ended it looking at Case McCoy and David Ash, trying to determine the more efficient of the two. Without further ado, the most important statistics of Texas’ season.

10) Seven wins, five losses

Coming off the first losing season in the Mack Brown era in 2010, the Longhorns regrouped, flip-flopped their record and became bowl-eligible. The margin of victory was 22, the margin of defeat 18.

9) 1,206 kickoff return yards

Between running back Fozzy Whittaker and other return men, the Longhorns finished the regular season ranked 18th in the nation in kickoff return yards, averaging 24.12 yards per game. Whittaker took two returns back for touchdowns.

8) 17-for-20 on field goals

With senior kicker Justin Tucker most likely on his way to the NFL, the Longhorns have a big shoe to fill in the kicking department. Tucker became the latest to boot a big game-winner, hitting a 40-yarder to top Texas A&M as time expired. He also handled punting and kickoff duties.

7) 23 sacks

After a slow start to the season, the Texas defensive front came alive to pile up almost two sacks a game. Defensive ends Alex Okafor — providing he comes back for his senior year — and Jackson Jeffcoat will be major threats in 2012.

6) 103.67 rushing yards allowed per game

Texas has finished the regular season ranked No. 11 in the nation in rushing yards allowed. The defense will have to keep that up next year, despite losing front-seven stalwarts Kheeston Randall, Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson.

5) 23.25 points allowed per game

The Longhorns finished 42nd in the nation in this category, a low-ranking compared to some of the defenses of the past. It probably didn’t help that so many offensive turnovers gave opposing teams a short field.

4) 28.67 points per game

A statistic that places the Longhorns No. 52 in the nation, unchartedly low water for a Bryan Harsin offense.

3) 210.42 rushing yards per game

The rushing offense came alive in 2011, with the emergence of freshman running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

2) Six games missed

Then, of course, Bergeron and Brown combined to miss six games, dramatically affecting the Texas offense down the final stretch of the year.

1) Five starts vs. five starts

Quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy each started five games, with mixed results. No matter what people say, the key to success in the future is finding a capable starter at quarterback.
 

Printed on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 as: Breaking down the 10 best stats of the 2011 season

Stat Guy: Where Tucker’s kick ranks in school history

Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal on Thursday against the Aggies. Tucker’s kick is one of many in Texas football history that has led to historical wins
Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal on Thursday against the Aggies. Tucker’s kick is one of many in Texas football history that has led to historical wins

On Thanksgiving night, Texas kicker Justin Tucker added his name to Longhorn football lore with a career-defining kick that sent Texas A&M packing to the Southeastern Conference with one final loss. Let’s take a look at where Tucker’s field goal ranks amongst other crucial kicks in the Mack Brown Era.

No. 5: The Ryan Bailey Show:

In 2006, Texas headed into Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. With heavy snow blanketing the field, the Longhorns faced a 19-20 deficit. With starting kicker Greg Johnson 2-for-4 on the day, head coach Mack Brown sent walk-on kicker Ryan Bailey into the game to attempt a 22-yard field goal; Bailey sent the ball through the uprights, won the game and secured his job as the Texas placekicker. The next season, Bailey kicked a 40-yard game-winner at Oklahoma State that capped off a 24-point comeback in the fourth quarter.

No. 4: Stockton saves Ricky’s day:

And to think, Ricky Williams’ record-setting day in 1998 nearly ended in a loss. After the Heisman Trophy winner broke Tony Dorsett’s NCAA rushing record with a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Texas A&M, the Longhorns found themselves down 23-24 with five seconds left. Kicker Kris Stockton, who had already missed attempts of 50 and 28 yards, came out to try a 24-yard field goal. The kick was true, Texas won 26-24 and Ricky’s day was made perfect.

No. 3: Mangum shoots Texas past Michigan:

In 2004, the one-loss Longhorns headed into the Rose Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines. Behind quarterback Vince Young’s five-touchdown performance — a preview of what was to come in 2005 — the game ultimately came down to the leg of senior kicker Dusty Mangum. With time running out, Mangum kicked a 37-yard field goal — which seemed to be deflected at the line of scrimmage — to defeat the Wolverines 38-37. It was Mangum’s first field goal attempt of the game and proved to be the most important play.

No. 2: So long, Aggies:

The aforementioned Tucker kick, which came after Case McCoy scrambled 25 yards to put Texas in field goal position. For Tucker, who played high school football at Austin Westlake, the 40-yarder becomes the highlight of his collegiate career. And for the Longhorns, it was the perfect way to end the last scheduled game of the storied rivalry.

No.1: One second left:

In 2009, Texas found itself down 10-12 against the Cornhuskers in the Big 12 Championship game. In a game dominated by Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Longhorn kicker Hunter Lawrence stole the show, kicking a 46-yard field goal with one second left to beat the Cornhuskers, 13-12. The kick sent Texas to the National Championship, leading many to call it the most important kick in Texas football history.

Printed on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 as: Kickers clutch in comebacks throughout Texas' history

Head coach Mack Brown meets with the media during a press conference to discuss his team’s progress during the offseason and to address the forthcoming football season.

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

Be “Relentless,” have “Intensity,” “Sacrifice” in order to achieve “Swagger” and play with “Emotion,” or R.I.S.E., is the slogan that the Longhorns are living by as they prepare themselves for the upcoming fall football season, head coach Mack Brown said at a press conference Wednesday.

After winning just 13 games over the course of the past two seasons, everyone around the Forty Acres is looking forward to September and the start of a new chapter in Texas football, he said.

This year’s slogan arose from the belief that eight wins, while better than five, are not enough for the Longhorns. This summer, Brown said, the team believes they can R.I.S.E up above eight wins and are hard at work trying to prove that.

The Longhorns concluded spring workouts and are diligent in the weight room and on the practice fields for a summer of player-led workouts, Brown said.

With the start of summer workouts comes a new freshman class that has both the coaching staff and upperclassmen excited. So far, Brown said the freshmen are fitting in well during summer workouts.

“The varsity guys are already buzzing about the freshman class,” Brown said. “They think they’re really good.”

After spring practice, Brown had a laundry list of concerns for when the team reconvenes in August, a list that keeps him up at night. Among those concerns are who will step up at tight end, how the Longhorns will deal with the loss of kicker Justin Tucker and whether or not he can keep his team healthy. Above all, Brown said he is hoping to improve his offense’s passing game and return to an elite status as a program.

“We need to get more explosive plays. We need to throw it more often, and we need to throw it better,” Brown said. “We got all over the place offensively last year, because we had people hurt at receiver, we had people hurt at running back. We were shuffling quarterbacks...it was really hard to do anything except try to win a game. You couldn’t build in a certain area and get a lot better.”

Next year looks to the emergence of a new position under the label “T and Z,” Brown said. Offensive Coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite and Receivers Coach Darrell Wyatt are developing a new offensive position that combines the tailback and Z receiver. The position is designed to utilize the talents of senior running back D.J. Monroe and freshman athlete Daje Johnson, both of whom Brown said are exceptionally elusive athletes that will push each other for playing time come fall.

“We feel those guys are speed guys and can get the ball in their hands and help us with explosive plays,” Brown said. “They’re working hard this summer on getting packages to get [Monroe] more involved and [Johnson] to get him involved early in the process, because we think he has a chance to be a good player with his explosive speed.”

The attrition of several players due to transfer and injuries, notably two offensive tackles, does not worry Brown, who insists that the losses don’t hinder the Longhorns’ offseason progress. However, Brown had little to say about the starting quarterback position and who had the upper hand at the conclusion of spring workouts.

On the other side of the ball, Brown said the coaching staff is focusing on creating turnovers and developing better quality depth at each position. With the loss of four-year starting linebacker Emmanuel Acho and safety Blake Gideon, the defense is also still searching for a leader on the field.

“We’ve got to have ends that can pass rush. We have to have tackles that can pass rush,” Brown said. “You have to have enough depth to go five and six defensive backs and still have the linebackers that can cover if they’re throwing it on the early down. Our staff is continuing to work on that.”

On special teams, the arrival of Duke transfer Alex King is helping to ease the pain of Tucker’s departure, Brown said. King, along with sophomore William Russ and freshman Ben Pruitt, will be competing for kicking duties when camp resumes in August.

Fall camp begins August 2, a month before the Longhorns season debut against Wyoming.

“It’s always amazing to me when people say, ‘How is your team going to be?,’” Brown said. “Nobody really knows...If they work, yes, we’ll be a top team. If they don’t, we won’t be. We have a tough schedule. We’re going to have to play well, be physical, tough and confident.”

Editor’s Note: These are the top three lessons we learned from the 2011 Lone Star Showdown.

1: Horns getting their kicks

For those who call Texas DB-U, it’s time to give credit to the lineage of clutch kickers the Longhorns have enjoyed in the Mack Brown era. Justin Tucker’s 40-yard kick to give Texas bragging rights over the Aggies until at least 2018 ranks just behind Dusty Mangum’s kick to beat Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl and Hunter Lawrence’s last-second boot against Nebraska to put the Longhorns in the national championship. Out of context, Tuckers’ kick was just like any other game-winner. In context, with everything on the line, the kick carries special meaning.

2: Easy wins proing costly

The differences between an offense with a healthy dose of Malcolm Brown/Joe Bergeron and one without is stark. So, in hindsight, two midseason blowouts of Kansas and Texas Tech have proven costly. Brown suffered a turf toe injury against the Jayhawks and Bergeron hurt his hamstring against the Red Raiders on his 29th and final carry of the afternoon — there’s no good explanation as to why he was still playing. Brown played against the Aggies but wasn’t himself, averaging just 2.3 yards a carry. Bergeron dressed but stood on the sideline.

3: Gideon looks like a prophet

When asked last Monday if the defense had become frustrated with the offense’s ineptitude, senior safety Blake Gideon quickly squashed any talks of a locker-room division. Then, he suggested the defense should be helping as well saying, “You know, it’s not illegal for us to score points.”

Carrington Byndom took those words to heart Thursday, intercepting A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running it back 53 yards for a touchdown to pull the Longhorns to within two points in the third quarter.

Printed on Monday, November 28, 2011: Clutch kicks nothing new to Longhorns 

Case McCoy takes off on Texas’ final drive against Texas A&M. The 25-yard run put the Longhorns in Aggies territory and allowed Justin Tucker to drill a game-winning 40-yard field goal on the game’s final play. McCoy made his first start since Texas lost to Oklahoma Oct. 8.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Editor's note: updated 11/27/11 at 10:45 p.m.

It only took them 11 games, but the Longhorns finally found a quarterback.

Garrett Gilbert started just two contests. David Ash lasted five games as the full-time quarterback before Case McCoy earned the start against the Aggies. The sophomore signal-caller made the most of the opportunity, helping Texas overcome a 13-0 first-half deficit and say goodbye to A&M in dramatic fashion. The Longhorns triumphed over the Aggies, 27-25, at Kyle Field on Thursday night in the final Lone Star Showdown before Texas A&M moves to the SEC next summer.

With Texas trailing 25-24 after a 16-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Jeff Fuller, McCoy marched the offense 48 yards downfield into Aggie territory. He completed four of five passes on the drive, with Texas A&M getting flagged for a personal foul on the only incompletion. But it was his 25-yard run in the final minute that put the Longhorns in a position to win and cemented McCoy’s place atop the depth chart.

“Here’s where you come out,” head coach Mack Brown told McCoy before the final drive. “Here’s where you become the guy, and here’s where you take us down and win the game. Every quarterback has a signature moment. This is going to be yours.”

McCoy’s scamper and Cody Johnson’s short run to put the ball between the hashes left Justin Tucker with a 40-yard field goal attempt. A game-winning kick by Kris Stockton in the final minute of the fourth quarter gave Texas a win in Brown’s first meeting with Texas A&M in 1998. Tucker, whose 40-yard boot did the same for Brown in his last scheduled meeting with the Aggies, said the clutch situation is one he’s practiced with his father since his high school days.

“My dad and I would set up a ball, and he would tell me a game situation,” Tucker said. “He said, ‘Alright, there’s three seconds left on the clock. There’s no timeouts. It’s going to be a 40-yard kick to beat A&M, 25-24 is the score. What are you going to do?’ And I would knock it down every time.”

The offense provided the late-game heroics, but the Longhorn defense turned in yet another fantastic performance. After allowing just 17 points apiece in the last two contests, both losses, they took matters into their own hands. Texas forced four turnovers, including three interceptions, one of which was returned 56 yards for a touchdown by sophomore Carrington Byndom in the third quarter. But the defense’s biggest play might have been denying Texas A&M a 2-point conversion following its final go-ahead score.

“We’ve got one of the best defenses in the country,” Brown said. “I really thought when they didn’t make the 2-point play, that we would win the game on a field goal.”

Case McCoy started for the first time since the Red River Rivalry, and with Jaxon Shipley back in the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury, the Texas offense seemed poised for a productive night. But the Longhorns were anemic in the early stages of the game, punting on their first six possessions. Even when the Texas offense produced points, it was unimpressive. The four scoring drives covered just 41, 3, 24 and 48 yards. But McCoy made the plays down the stretch that he needed to, likely cementing himself as the Longhorns’ full-time starting quarterback.

“We didn’t play good at all in the first half or most of the game,” McCoy said. “I don’t want this rivalry to be over, but if it had to end, I’m glad we went out on top.”

Texas didn’t need a prolific offense to take down Texas A&M thanks to its ball-hawking defense and solid special teams. The Longhorns turned a muffed punt into its first points as Shipley took a lateral from McCoy and heaved a 41-yard touchdown pass, his second of the year, to a wide open Blaine Irby in the second quarter. Quandre Diggs’ 81-yard punt return allowed Tucker to hit his first field goal and give Texas its first lead, 17-16, in the third quarter.

“Growing up watching these games, you just know how special these games are,” Diggs said. “When you come out and get the last win in this rivalry, it’s very special. It’s something you can tell your great-grandkids.”

Printed on Monday, November 28, 2011: McCoy makes case to be starting QB