Cosby's late heroics spark Texas' comeback

January, 6, 2009
1/06/09
12:17
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Quan Cosby punctuated his college career with an exclamation point.

Cosby, a 26-year-old who played four years in the Los Angeles Angels minor-league system, has always provided stability and leadership for the Longhorns. And on Monday night, he gave them his very best on-field performance.

Cosby snagged a career-high 14 receptions for 171 yards, including a game-winning 26-yard touchdown reception from Colt McCoy with 16 seconds left to boost the Longhorns to a 24-21 victory over Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Throughout the season, Cosby had been the complimentary receiver to Jordan Shipley. But his big game enabled the Longhorns to punctuate a 12-1 record that is the second-winningest season in the school's history.

Colt McCoy proved some mettle in the game-winning drive, directing a 79-yard touchdown drive after getting the ball for the final time with 1:58 left.

The victory came despite a struggling defensive performance down the stretch. The Longhorns denied Ohio State a touchdown for the first three quarters before the Buckeyes charged back from a 17-9 deficit to claim the lead on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. The Texas defense looked gassed on drives that consumed 80 and 73 yards.

But the Longhorns' late rally enabled them to escape with the victory, stretching their bowl winning streak to five games.

McCoy's heroics might have boosted his Heisman hopes for next season by throwing for a career-high 413 yards.

The Longhorns' second-half comeback marked the 22nd such comeback victory for Texas under Mack Brown, including 12 fourth-quarter comebacks.

After the victory, Brown started spinning his team's national title hopes. The Texas coach said he would vote his team No. 1 because of the grit it showed in the comeback victory.

Something about sleepwalking through the first half likely didn't impress many voters who might have had some doubt -- particularly with the impressive performances earlier in the bowl season by USC and Utah.

The Longhorns struggled early as Ohio State won the battle in the trenches early in the game, piling up an early 135-2 edge in rushing yardage in the first half. But Ohio State needed to produce more points as the Buckeyes had 22 plays in Texas territory but produced only six points. Texas was limited to minus-9 yards rushing as running backs Chris Ogbonnaya and Cody Johnson produced only 10 yards.

But the Longhorns took control in the second half, accounting for two touchdowns on their first three drives of the second half to claim the lead after their early struggles. The biggest reason was a no-huddle offense that flummoxed the Buckeyes' defense.

Texas also did a better job on massive Ohio State tailback Chris Wells, who rushed for a game-high 105 yards but produced only nine of them in the second half. Wells struggled with injuries and missed the fourth quarter.

It forced Ohio State to rely on freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor too much. Pryor snagged a touchdown reception but had trouble passing the ball as he completed only 5 of 13 passes for 67 yards and was sacked twice.

It wasn't the most artistic performance, but was still a victory. And after its early struggles in the bowl season, the Big 12 really can't complain much about any kind of win.

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12