The Holiday Bowl's reputation is as wild as ever, thanks largely to Joey Harrington.
Harrington threw for two touchdowns, ran for one and caught a halfback pass for another as the No. 8 Oregon Ducks beat No. 12 Texas 35-30 in another on-the-edge Holiday Bowl Friday night.
"Joey stepped it up big," said cornerback Rashad Bauman, who led an inspired Ducks defense. "He made some great throws, great catches, great runs. He did it all for us today. He had the hat trick after he ran in the touchdown."
Harrington became the third quarterback in the 23-year history of the Holiday Bowl to score via the pass, run and catch. Steve Young was the first in 1983, when his 14-yard catch with 23 seconds left gave Brigham Young a 21-17 win over Missouri. Bucky Richardson also did it in Texas A&M's 65-14 win over BYU in 1990.
The Ducks finished the first 10-win season in their 105-year history.
"This was such a milestone for the program," Bauman said. "They're a good team and a good program, but we were playing a team, not tradition. We dominated them."
Still, it wasn't settled until a desperation pass by Texas sophomore Chris Simms fell incomplete in the end zone as time ran out.
Texas, which hoped to vault into the Top 10 with a victory, saw its six-game winning streak end.
"It was a great game to watch," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "I'm sure one of these days I'll look back and enjoy it."
Harrington had three straight completions to set up the winning score, a 4-yard end-around by Jason Willis with 5:46 left.
Texas helped contribute to another wild finish, too, but in the wrong way. The Longhorns moved to the Ducks 22 with about three minutes to play, but their two heralded freshmen wide receivers, B.J. Johnson and Roy Williams, each dropped passes in the end zone. Johnson dropped another one at the 15 that he might have scored on.
Brown commended Simms for his composure at the end.
"He threw a pass for a touchdown that was dropped, then he threw another one for a touchdown that we dropped, and it didn't faze him," Brown said.
"We really thought we had a chance to win at the end of the game."
The Longhorns got the ball back with 1:37 to play when De'Andre Lewis recovered a fumble on a botched handoff. But two plays later, Bauman capped a big game by the Ducks defense with an interception at the 16.
It wasn't over yet, though. Oregon took a safety with 21 seconds left and the free kick went to the Texas 37. The Longhorns got to the Ducks 39 before Simms' final pass. Simms, son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, finished with four interceptions.
Harrington personally gave the Ducks a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
He froze the Longhorns with play-action and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Justin Peelle in the right corner of the end zone.
After Oregon's Jed Boice recovered a fumble by Johnson at the Texas 18, Harrington got to play receiver. He pitched the ball to wide receiver Keenan Howry, who lined up in the backfield, then slipped out to the left flat. Howry threw across the field to Harrington, who caught it at the 10 and stumbled the rest of the way into the end zone.
Harrington said that play worked just once in five weeks of practice.
"Keenan made a great throw," Harrington said. "I lost it in the lights for a second. I thought I was going to make a fool of myself on national television but I came up and made a catch."
Harrington completed 19 of 30 passes for 273 yards, with one interception. Simms was 17-of-33 for 245 yards and ran for one touchdown.
Texas' leading rusher, Hodges Mitchell, left with a sprained right knee early in the third quarter after being hit by Bauman and didn't return.
The Longhorns scored three times in the second quarter for a 21-14 lead. Mitchell and Simms scored on short runs and Greg Brown returned an interception 23 yards.
Oregon tied it on the first drive of the second half on a 55-yard pass from Harrington to running back Maurice Morris.
Harrington gave the Ducks a 28-21 lead on a 9-yard draw with 9:43 to play, capping a 90-yard drive set up when Keith Lewis intercepted Simms' pass.
That lead didn't last as Victor Ike returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards, Texas' first for a touchdown since 1978.