The end is near.
But so is the prize.
Mason Walters can clearly see both from his vantage point after 47 career starts in college, and he understands how intertwined the two are. Texas can reach all its goals — winning the season-opener, the Oklahoma game, the Big 12 and a bowl game — and the senior right guard doesn’t want to reach one without the other.
“We put so much emphasis on our goals, and all of these things are still tangible,” Walters said Monday. “There’s nothing we can’t get done, but we can drop the ball unless we took the lessons we learned in our early losses and apply them to these games down the stretch.”
However, as he nears the finish, Walters loves the way this team has come together through the adversity of two early losses and constant injuries. And the way it finishes.
Nobody epitomizes that spirit more than the guy Walters and crew are blocking for, Case McCoy. The senior quarterback engineered the fourth fourth-quarter comeback win of his career Saturday against West Virginia, leading the Longhorns on a game-tying drive for a field goal in the final 13 seconds and then throwing the winning touchdown pass in overtime.
“We didn’t play well offensively the first half, but we did the second half,” McCoy said. “The defense, we owe them a lot of meals.”
McCoy should spring for a dinner check for Walters and his teammates as well, because he was sacked only once by the Mountaineers — and only twice in the last four games — and the running game cranked up in the second half with 115 yards on 24 carries.
“There’s a lot of pride and camaraderie on this team, and that really helps us,” Walters said. “I don’t think anyone wants to be in a close game with us in the fourth quarter. We waited until fourth-and-7 to convert (on the tying drive). I don’t think you can take it to the edge any more than that.”
Now Walters and his buddies are trying to finish in grand style. No current Longhorn has started more games in his career than Walters, who appeared in one game in 2009 when Texas won the league but fell to Alabama in the national championship game. This represents a chance to win the conference and go out the same way he came in and salvage his head coach’s job.
“I’d like to think this is one of his best years and (will) be one that he will reflect on and be most proud of,” Walters said. “For that to be true, we have to get things done these last three weeks or we’ll fall by the wayside. It’s very important to our senior class that we leave Texas the way we found it.”
With four more wins, including maybe the Fiesta Bowl, they can come close to doing that.