Holgorsen’s Horns Down beats Baylor in OT

Dana's signature two-point play works again

The Houston Cougars beat Baylor in overtime, 25-24, winning it with the infamous Horns Down play on the two-point attempt in overtime. The play’s name derives from the two-point play Dana Holgorsen ran at the end of WVU’s game in Austin on November 3, 2018, to beat #17 Texas.

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That day, WVU lined up for the two-point try and stacked three out wide and one in the slot to the right. QB Will Grier hit a slanting David Sills V from the left side for the conversion, but Texas had called timeout just before the snap. Holgorsen regrouped and came out in the same set. This time, UT stayed back, anticipating a throw to Sills. Grier kept it, tried to go up the middle, and bounced it outside to the left pylon for the win.

Before Houston scored Saturday, there was never a doubt they would go for two. A few days after losing to Rice in double overtime in September, Holgorsen admitted he should have gone for two and the win at the end of regulation. In the UT postgame press conference last month, he said if they’d have scored at the end, they’d have gone for two. He even said they’d have run Horns Down again.

Against Baylor, it was a stone-cold lock that they’d go for two after an overtime TD. But to run Horns Down there? Two weeks after telling everyone you’d have done it against Texas? Audacious.

Holgorsen showed a different version of Horns Down with WR Sam Brown lined up in a diamond formation with QB Donovan Smith to his right, Stephon Johnson behind him, and Tony Mathis to his left. As tight ends Mike O’Laughlin and Bryan Henry started to release to the right, Baylor called timeout, similar to what UT did five years ago and a day ago. The Cougars had shown their hand a little.

Jogging back on the field, it’s diamond formation again, but Mathis and Smith switch sides. The tight ends and Mathis go right, and Johnson and Brown head to the left as Smith settles into the shotgun. Against UT, the slot was on the same side as the wide trips on the field side of the play. This time, trips are to the boundary side with Johnson out wide and Brown on the line as a split end to the field side. Seven seconds after they go in motion, the ball is snapped, and Baylor is still trying to adjust.

Right tackle Reuben Unije appears to go to the outside of the outside linebacker Randolph but manages to, uhhh, corral him. Jack Freeman and Tank Jenkins push the nose guard Brendan Bett back, and Smith slips behind them, barely touched, galloping into the end zone. Game over.

When Grier scored against UT, the celebration was immediately Horns Down. Looking directly at Baylor’s Golden Wave Band, Donovan Smith offered a stately golden wave to the shell-shocked band.

Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is proud to be a corporate sponsor as the Official Personal Injury Law Firm for the University of Houston Athletics.

“As a University of Houston alum, I am honored that the University of Houston Athletics chose our firm to be their official and exclusive personal injury law firm,” says Stewart J. Guss, the firm’s founder.