Mack Brown had said last week that he wanted to see some emotion from his players and fans.
The Texas coach finally got some late in the first half Saturday night — but it came from the little patch of yellow in the southeast corner of the Royal-Memorial Stadium stands after Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels scrambled 18 yards for the score that gave the Cowboys a 7-6 lead.
It wasn't quite what Brown had in mind. But sanity was quickly restored, and it was a heralded Longhorns freshman who played a huge role in providing it, as No. 5 Texas overcame a sluggish start to post a 34-7 victory before a crowd of 101,339.
Mike Davis was one of the hot stories coming out of fall camp. The wide receiver from Dallas Skyline showed why in the first half's waning moments, providing several of the sparks that finally jump-started the Longhorns' offense for the first time this young season.
Over the final 150 seconds of the first half, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 183-pound Davis accounted for three of his seven total catches and 61 of his 104 yards. He converted the final reception of that span, on a mid-length crossing route, into a 45-yard touchdown play when he circled back to his right after the catch and outlegged cornerback Marcell Gipson to the end zone.
Davis' catch was the second of two lightning-bolt touchdowns for the Longhorns. The first came when Texas answered Carta-Samuel's touchdown with a 69-yard scoring march capped by backup tailback Fozzy Whittaker's career-long 39-yard burst up the middle to give the Longhorns the lead for good, 13-7.
"I said, 'Offense, we have to go answer the bell,'" Whittaker said .
"When they got behind, they didn't like that," Brown added . "Coming back like that really jump-started us. It was really a good sign."
So was the emergence of Davis, who didn't catch any passes in the season-opening victory over Rice.
He was especially important Saturday night because receivers Marquise Goodwin and John Chiles both suffered minor injuries in the first half.
"We were thin there," Brown said. "Mike caught the ball well. He didn't have a drop, and he made yards after the catch."
Despite opening up the offense more than they had last week when they were hellbent on running the ball, the Longhorns essentially took up where they left off against Rice.
They were strangers to the end zone until the first half's closing burst and their first possession of the second half, when they drove 61 yards in 10 plays, capped by the first of Cody Johnson's two short touchdown runs.
"I see flashes of things that are extremely exciting," offensive coordinator Greg Davis said after Texas ran 29 times for 167 yards and Garrett Gilbert completed 22 of 35 passes for 222 yards. "But inconsistency is the thing we have to work on this week."
Gilbert, who on Saturday will experience the most hostile environment he's seen this season when Texas opens Big 12 play at Texas Tech, added: "I felt like we were able to find what we wanted as the game went on."
For the sophomore quarterback, that primarily was his freshman receiver. Mike Davis was Gilbert's target on the first two completions of the go-ahead scoring drive capped by Whittaker.
"Mike's a very smart guy," Gilbert said. "He did a great job of making plays and running after the catch."
Davis demonstrated that on his first collegiate reception.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Gilbert found Davis on a swing pass to the left flat, and he split two defenders for a 30-yard play that should have been a minimal gainer.
Gilbert also provided some big moments. On the play before Whittaker's score, he rolled right, and the threat of a scramble forced Wyoming linebacker Ghaali Muhammad to leave Texas tight end Barrett Matthews to take Gilbert. Gilbert responded with a 19-yard pass to Matthews.
Then, on Texas' opening drive of the second half, Gilbert showed athleticism by scrambling up the middle on a third-down play and hurdling Muhammad en route to an 11-yard gain.
"Not since the seventh grade," Gilbert said with a laugh, when asked if he'd ever hurdled a defender before. "I don't know where that came from."
Greg Davis, not thrilled with seeing his quarterback vulnerable with both feet off the ground, added: "We're going to try to prevent you from seeing that again."
But there is plenty the Longhorns showed, from their last two possessions of the first half and first possession of the third quarter, that they do want to see again, especially from Mike Davis.