STILLWATER, Okla. -- The Texas Longhorns sought confirmation of their return to elite status in the Big 12 and nationally.
They may still have to wait for such a lofty claim, but they'll gladly take Saturday's wild 41-36 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Facing a fourth-and-6 at his own 28, Longhorns quarterback David Ash hit D.J. Grant on a slant route for a 34-yard gain to keep the game-winning drive alive. With 29 seconds remaining, Joe Bergeron completed the comeback drive, scoring on a 2-yard run over right tackle to send Texas back in front -- for good.
Quinn Sharp had given the Cowboys a 36-34 lead with a field goal at the 2:34 mark. But the OSU defense couldn't lock down the win, giving up the big play on fourth down, then surrendering more big plays to Ash and the Longhorns on the winning march.
The No. 12 Longhorns improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big 12. OSU fell to 2-2 and 0-1.
OSU had won in Austin each of the past two seasons, due to a quirk in scheduling caused by conference realignment. The Cowboys haven't beaten Texas in Stillwater since 1997.
For the Longhorns, the game opened a rugged three-game stretch of Big 12 games that next features West Virginia in Austin and Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
The Cowboys get a bye week, before a trip to Kansas in two weeks.
Ash, much maligned a year ago, completed 30 of 37 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
For OSU, Joseph Randle ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
The game was set up as a shootout at the start.
While Texas led 21-17 at the half, 35 of the total points were put up in the first quarter. Ash fired a pair of touchdown strikes to Jaxon Shipley covering 44 and 20 yards. The Cowboys got a 69-yard run from Randle and a 44-yard scoring pass from J.W. Walsh to Josh Stewart.
Stewart's grab and dash tied the score at 14-14, before the Longhorns' D.J. Monroe romped 100 yards with the ensuing kickoff to push Texas back in front 21-14.
Then things quieted down, with a Sharp field goal for the Cowboys representing the only scoring in the second quarter.
Randle had a season-high 147 rushing yards -- at the half -- on 15 carries, as the Cowboys continually gashed the interior of the Texas front, averaging 6.7 yards per rush.
The Longhorns leaned on Ash, who completed 12-of-16 passes for 123 yards and the two touchdowns through two quarters.
The Cowboys actually outgained Texas in total yards, 283-160, but the kickoff return and an interception of Walsh setting up a touchdown were the difference.
NOTES: Wes Lunt, OSU's starting quarterback who was injured against Louisiana-Lafayette, did not suit out after starting the first three games. Lunt is nursing a knee injury and is now targeting the Oct. 13 game at Kansas for a return, following the team's second open week. ... Texas started the game without two defensive starters -- linebacker Jordan Hicks (hip) and tackle Brandon Moore (virus) -- then lost another when cornerback Adrian Phillips went out after a major collision on the first-quarter touchdown play to Stewart. Malcom Brown, a replacement at defensive tackle, was also lost to an ankle injury. ... Ash saw a streak of 115 consecutive passes without an interception ended in the third quarter, when Cowboys defensive
end Tyler Johnson picked him on a throw across the middle.