This year's 4-0 squad nothing like last year's

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They did it again.

A trip to Stillwater, Okla. would not have been complete without a thrilling comeback that left tens of thousands of Oklahoma State faithful heartbroken.

The Longhorns were trailing in both the first and final minutes of this past weekend’s game in Stillwater. Facing a 4th-and-6 in the waning moments of the game, the roar of more than 56,000 seemed to harmlessly roll off David Ash’s shoulders as he fired a strike to senior tight end D.J. Grant for a 29-yard gain.

Those shoulders would not have been able to carry the Longhorns last year like they did Saturday. That’s one of many reasons why this team is so much better than the one that also started 4-0 last season.

“He couldn’t have done this at the same time last year,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “He has really grown up. He’s the leader of this football team. The throw to D.J. Grant was unbelievable. I thought David played great throughout the night. He did a good job managing the crowd. I was really proud of the way he played.”

After Ash’s clutch fourth-down toss, he hit a leaping Mike Davis near the right sideline for 32 yards before Joe Bergeron pushed the Longhorns ahead with a two-yard touchdown run, giving them a 41-36 victory, their seventh straight in Stillwater.

“It’s just one game,” Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “I don’t know what David’s full potential level is. He’s just getting better every week.”

Ash looked like a deer in headlights against Oklahoma State, Davis was far from being the most reliable receivers despite being one of the most productive and experienced, and Grant —­ along with the rest of the Texas tight ends — was a nonfactor in the passing game.

Texas didn’t quite erase a 19-point Cowboys lead like Vince Young and the Longhorns did in 2005 or climb out of a 21-point second-half hole like it did in 2007, thanks to Jamaal Charles’ 125-yard fourth quarter outburst and Ryan Bailey’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

But the Longhorns did prove how improved they are from the squad last year that won their first four games — and won just four games the rest of the season.

Texas has no such history against a West Virginia team that has scored 10 touchdowns in three of its last five games or against a quarterback like Geno Smith, who has distanced himself from all of the other Heisman Trophy contenders by throwing for a school-record 656 yards this past Saturday.

The Longhorns holding the Cowboys to field goals on three of their five trips to the red zone will serve as a good blueprint to defend the Mountaineers this Saturday.

But for now, they can enjoy the fact that they’re a Top 10 team in the USA Today coaches’ poll but, more importantly, that they sustain such a ranking.

Printed on Monday, October 1, 2012 as: Horns rise to occasion: Texas shows that this year's 4-0 team is much better then last year's