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