SAN ANTONIO — Cody Vaz could be forgiven for having flashbacks of Alex Okafor and the Texas defense rush long after leaving the Valero Alamo Bowl.
The Oregon State quarterback struggled against a relentless Texas pass rush as the Longhorns stormed back for a wild 31-27 victory over the Beavers.
Vaz was sacked 10 times, including six times in a demoralizing fourth quarter where UT charged back. Okafor accounted for an Alamo Bowl record 41/2 sacks as the Longhorns doubled the previous Alamo Bowl team sacks record of five.
"We knew coming in they had great athletes," Vaz said. "I don't think we were rattled. You just have to tip your hats to them."
Okafor said the secret to beating the OSU pass-protection schemes came during film study with Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz earlier this month.
"We've been breaking down film all month and coach Diaz saw a weakness in the protection," Okafor said. "He put me in a great position to go make plays."
After OSU failed to take advantage of a botched fake punt early in the fourth quarter, Texas' defense took over. The Beavers picked up one first down during the rest of the game as Vaz was sacked on four pass attempts and faced suffocating pressure on virtually every pass attempt.
It continued a nightmarish night for Vaz, who was picked as OSU's starter coming into the game mainly because of his ability to avoid turnovers.
After throwing one interception all season, Vaz was intercepted by UT linebacker Peter Jinkens on the game's second play and later fumbled in the first quarter.
Vaz said he sustained a left ankle injury midway through the second quarter that idled him for a series. Backup Sean Mannion took over on the next drive and led the Beavers on a 47-yard touchdown drive that included five running plays.
But from there, OSU coach Mike Riley opted to return Vaz to the lineup for the rest of the game.
"Sometimes when it's a feeding frenzy, it's not a great deal for anybody quarterbacking," Riley said. "It's unfortunate that we just didn't keep our balance going better than we did in the first half. We just took too many bad plays on first downs in a couple of series that didn't allow to play like we had been."
It led Vaz to be his toughest critic after the game.
When asked how he played, Vaz was succinct and unsparing.
"Not very good," he said. "I definitely felt like I left some plays out there. You know, it sucks really.
"I don't feel good about the way I played tonight, but it's in the past now, and this game will be good motivation for us this off-season."
THE BEAVERS appeared to have the game's momentum early in the fourth quarter after snuffing out a fake pass by UT punter Alex King. Despite a 10-point lead and getting possession on the UT 44, OSU lost 2 yards on the next three plays and was forced to punt after a three-and-out possession.
"I thought that was huge," Riley said. "I don't remember our exact sequence. But I thought that was a critical time of the game."
TEXAS' 10 SACKS was tied for second most by a team this season in FBS game. Utah State produced 13 sacks in a victory over San Jose State on Oct. 13 and Stanford had 10 sacks against Washington State on Oct. 27.
THE VICTORY WAS the Longhorns' largest comeback of the season, making the Beavers believe they squandered a good chance to finish with the third 10-win season in school history.
"I felt like we played one half of football, and Texas just came out better than us in the second half," OSU free safety Ryan Murphy said. "I felt that we had this game, we had this team. But then again, it's on us players to keep each other in, to keep each other focused on the task ahead."
REDSHIRT FRESHMAN tailback Storm Woods had a strong start, but failed to produce much in the second half.
Woods rushed for 98 yards in the first half as the Beavers dominated the line of scrimmage. But after the break, Woods produced five carries for 22 yards as he finished with a game-high 120 yards.
The Texas defense didn't change that much in the second half, according to Woods.
"You know, the only difference I saw was, that instead of the linebackers being against the line, they were sort of stacked one in front of the other giving the deeper linebacker time to read the flow of the play."
OSU had a 16-4 edge in first downs in the first half, outgaining the Longhorns 228-123. But Texas had a 12-5 edge in first downs after the break, outgaining OSU 235-69.
RILEY WAS STUNNED when the Beavers didn't get a chance for at least a field goal in the final seconds of the first half.
On a third-and-15 from the Texas 46, Vaz completed a pass to Brandin Cooks that appeared to be close enough for a first down or a measurement. But game officials ruled that the play was not close enough for a measurement as the first half expired.
"I think we were right," Riley said. "The word came down from our bench we had a first down. We were going to spike it, take a shot and then see how much time we had to do that and then kick the field goal from there."
TEXAS DID A STRONG job against OSU receivers Markus Wheaton and Cooks, who were limited to combined season-low total of six receptions for 68 yards ... Texas' victory continued the Big 12's mastery over Pac-12 teams in the Alamo Bowl. It was the Big 12's third straight victory in the bowl. A Pac-12 team hasn't won an Alamo Bowl since Washington beat Baylor in the 1994 game ... Texas WR Marquise Goodwin's 64-yard TD run in the second quarter was his second TD run of 60 or more yards this season. He also had a 72-yard score against Mississippi. Goodwin finished 10th in the long jump of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London ... Texas did not notch its first first down until 14:52 was left in the second quarter and it came on an OSU offsides penalty ... OSU didn't punt until 12:22 left in the third quarter ... Texas coach Mack Brown is 10-4 in bowl games with the Longhorns, including winning nine of the last 11 bowl games. Riley drops to 5-2 in bowl games at OSU, with losses in his last two games.