Oregon State generated the biggest one-year turnaround in school history and could secure its third 10-win season by beating Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
The Longhorns are trying to reverse a three-year slide from a time when 10 wins were just a footnote on the way to championship games and other BCS bowls.
Beating the 15th-ranked Beavers on Saturday night would be another baby step back to the elite for Mack Brown and company, with still a long way to go. An Alamo loss would mean a second straight eight-win season for the Longhorns (8-4), this time with a three-game losing streak to finish it.
Oregon State (9-3) is trying to complete a strong rebound for consecutive losing seasons, including a 3-9 mark a year ago.
Texas (8-4) vs. No. 15 Oregon State (9-3), 6:45 p.m. EST (ESPN)
At the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Line: Oregon State by 3½
Series Record: Texas leads 2-0
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Longhorns are trying to win their 10th bowl game under Mack Brown, who comes in with a 9-4 record in the postseason. A loss to Alabama in the 2009 BCS championship game snapped a five-game bowl winning streak for Texas, which missed the postseason in 2010 and beat Cal in the Holiday Bowl last year. The Beavers are in their first bowl game since 2009, when a five-game postseason winning streak was snapped with a loss to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Texas WR Mike Davis vs. Oregon State CB Jordan Poyer. Davis has 909 yards and could become just the sixth Texas player to have a 1,000-yard receiving season. Poyer, an All-American, is tied for second nationally with seven interceptions. The Beavers are tied for sixth nationally with 19 interceptions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas: QB David Ash is the starter again after getting pulled in a loss to TCU and remaining on the bench in the regular-season finale at Kansas State. Texas officials originally said Ash injured his ribs against TCU, but Brown revealed this week he was actually hurt the previous game against Iowa State. Case McCoy started against Kansas State.
Oregon State: QB Cody Vaz was chosen to start over Sean Mannion as the Beavers wrapped up practice in Oregon and headed for Texas. Mannion started the first four games before sustaining a left knee injury that required surgery. Vaz became the starter but sprained his left ankle against Stanford, so Mannion started the last three games of the regular season. Vaz has 11 touchdowns and just one interception, and Oregon State ranks 15th nationally in passing offense.
FACTS & FIGURES
Brown has been to 20 bowls in 21 seasons dating to his tenure at North Carolina, tied for the most nationally in that span with Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer. ... Oregon State set a school record with a six-win improvement over last season (3-9), tying Middle Tennessee (2-9 to 8-4) and Ohio State (6-7 to 12-0) for the best turnaround nationally. ... The Longhorns beat Iowa 26-24 in their only other Alamo Bowl appearance in 2006. Oregon State's 16th bowl game is its first in San Antonio. The Beavers went to the Sun Bowl in El Paso in 2006 and 2008. ... Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton has caught a pass in 35 straight games, longest streak in the Pac 12. He's 11th nationally in yards receiving per game this year at 100.6. ... Texas WR Daje Johnson joined Eric Metcalf as the only freshmen in Texas history with a run and a catch of 70 yards or more in the same season. He had a 70-yard catch against Kansas State and an 84-yard run against Baylor.
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