It’s hard to believe that one month ago, the Texas Longhorns were trying to decide whether or not David Ash would be capable of leading the Longhorns back to the upper ranks of college football. In fact, it wasn’t until a month ago that he was officially named the starting quarterback for the Horns this year.
Though most fans agreed that Ash would indeed win the starting job over junior Case McCoy, many believed that he would simply be a bus-driver for the Texas offense. If he could manage the offense somewhat effectively and protect the ball, the offensive playmakers and stellar defense would carry the bulk of the responsibility. Ash would just simply need to “not mess up.”
In the Longhorns first two games this season, Ash was effective. Improvements could be seen, but there were still some doubts.
Would he be able to perform against stiffer competition?
Would he be able to protect the ball?
Would he be able to expand the field beyond the simple dinks and dunks he’d been completing?
Then, Ash had his coming out party when he headed up to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. For the first time in his young career, the nineteen year old showed Texas fans a glipse of what he could do. Sure, his deep throws were a shade under-thrown, but after he finished the game with a career best 326 yards passing (83 % completion rating) and another career best 4 touchdowns to 0 interceptions, fans were reluctantly beginning to believe that this kid with the shaggy blond hair may be more than just a simplye bus-driver; he could actually be the real thing.
But Texas fans, being the ever-discontent fans that they are, still had some questions.
Does he have the arm strength to make those throws against a tougher secondary?
Can he perform that way with the game on the line?
Can he lead his teammates when push comes to shove?
Those questions were yet again answered in Stillwater, Oklahoma in front of a hostile and hungry Oklahoma State crowd.
One again, Ash was slinging the ball all over the field–this time, placing the ball right into his receivers hands, including two early, perfectly thrown touchdowns to Jaxon Shipley.
Finally, with the game on the line, the Horns down by 2 with 2.5 minutes remaining in the game, Ash would give Texas fans what they’ve been waiting for since Colt McCoy left the 40 Acres.
With ice-water in his veins and poise we haven’t seen in several seasons under center, Ash was undeterred.
Fourth-down-and-six? No problem.
Without batting an eye, Ash makes the best throw of his career to tight end D.J. Grant for a 29- yard gain. He followed it up two plays later with a 32-yard pass to receiver Mike Davis setting the Longhorns up for the winning touchdown, which came seconds later.
And so, on that fall night in front of a wild, hostile crowd that wanted nothing more than to see the Longhorns fall, a star was born.