Oregon-Texas Preview

While the Alamo Bowl will be the last game Mack Brown coaches at

Texas, it won’t be the final time quarterback Marcus Mariota takes

the field for Oregon.

Set to resign after 16 seasons in Austin, Brown guides the

Longhorns against Mariota and the No. 10 Ducks on Monday night in

San Antonio.

From 2001-09, Brown’s teams at Texas averaged 11.2 wins,

recorded two Big 12 titles, won the national championship during an

undefeated 2005 and played for another four years later. However,

since losing 37-21 to Alabama in the title game of the 2009 season,

the Longhorns are 30-20 and endured Brown’s only losing season with

a 5-7 record in 2010.

Texas (8-4) began this season ranked 15th, but lost two of its

first three to put some heat on Brown. The Longhorns faced then-No.

9 Baylor with the Big 12 title and a BCS bowl berth on the line

Dec. 7, but lost 30-10 to fall to 1-3 against Top 25 opponents.

“The standard is really high here,” said the 62-year-old Brown,

whose 158 victories at Texas rank behind only the late Darrell

Royal’s 167. “We set a standard at this place. You’d better win all

of them. I understand that. … The standard is really high here

and I’m proud of being part of setting that standard.

“I sincerely want to get back to the top and that’s why I’m

stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we

can get this thing rolling again.”

The uncertainty surrounding Brown’s future proved to be a

distraction for the program in recent weeks. After meeting with

school president Bill Powers and new athletic director Steve

Patterson, Brown was told he could remain coach but decided

otherwise. He was under contract until 2020 with a salary at more

than $5 million per year, and will stay on as a special consultant

to Powers.

“I felt like I could stay,” Brown said. “I really felt like it

wasn’t best for the university to stay.

“It’s been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being

pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a

change.”

Before Brown steps down, he faces a daunting task while trying

to guide the Longhorns to a second consecutive Alamo Bowl

victory.

In what also will be Case McCoy’s final game at Texas, the

embattled quarterback hopes to fare better after he completed 57.4

percent of his passes while throwing 11 touchdowns and 11

interceptions this season. McCoy started six games the previous two

years and became the starter in 2013 when David Ash’s season ended

due to concussion-like symptoms.

McCoy and the Longhorns offense will be facing an Oregon defense

that will be led by coordinator Nick Aliotti for the final time.

Aliotti announced Friday that he’ll retire after this game

following 24 years with the Ducks, including 17 as defensive

coordinator.

It’s on the defensive side where Texas likely faces its biggest

challenge in this contest.

Despite the presence of Big 12 defensive player of the year

Jackson Jeffcoat, who has 12 sacks and 21 tackles for loss, the

Longhorns allowed at least 30 points in half of their games and 40

or more three times.

Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after a 40-21 loss

to BYU on Sept. 7 and replaced him with Greg Robinson. Texas won

six straight from Sept. 21-Nov. 9, but allowed 68 points to

Oklahoma State and Baylor in the two defeats over the final three

games.

It’s uncertain if Texas can seriously improve in time to contain

Oregon (10-2), which ranks second in the FBS averaging 573.0 total

yards and third at 46.8 points per contest.

Mariota has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,412 yards

with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions. The sophomore has thrown

a TD in each of his 25 career games and set a single-season school

record with 3,994 total yards in 2013.

A Heisman Trophy candidate most of the season, Mariota’s stock

fell after he struggled during a 26-20 loss at then-No. 6 Stanford

on Nov. 7. Hampered by a leg injury late in the season, Mariota was

picked off twice while throwing for 308 yards and two TDs during a

42-16 defeat at Arizona on Nov. 23.

With perhaps some unfinished business left in 2014, Mariota

announced he will return for his junior season.

“It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and

to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the

football field alongside my teammates,” he said. “I look forward to

earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this

great university.”

Though the Ducks did not earn an at-large bid to their fifth

consecutive BCS bowl game, they expect to finish strong.

“Everyone’s been dogging us, and we have a lot to prove,”

receiver Bralon Addison told the school’s official website. “I

think we will be ready for this game, and I think we have a lot to

took forward to.”

Oregon beat Texas 35-30 in the teams’ most recent meeting in the

2000 Holiday Bowl.