David Pino may have been the happiest Texas player on the field after the game.
"I think I am," he said.
Pino, a senior kicker, was certainly the most relieved.
He had missed an extra point in the second quarter and then, when he missed a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, Texas trailed, 24-23.
"I was looking at the scoreboard, I'll admit it," Pino said. "I was thinking about that missed extra point and the field goal."
Coach Mack Brown didn't lose faith in his kicker, who made 12 of 15 field goals this season and 68 of 73 extra points and also made a career-long 46-yarder in the first quarter.
"I told him to keep his focus, don't get down on yourself," Brown said. "He's a good kicker."
Pino shook off the misses and made a clutch 34-yarder with 8:46 left that pulled Texas within 31-26, then tacked on an extra point after Vince Young's 17-yard touchdown run that kept Texas within a score, 38-33.
"I was sweating just because this is the national championship and every kick is a big kick," Pino said. "Especially because this game was so close."
Pino wasn't needed after Texas' winning touchdown, as the Longhorns went for two to take a 41-38 lead. Pino slapped hands with fans after the game.
"It doesn't get any better than this," he said.