ARLINGTON, Texas – It likely won’t go down in history as “The Drive.”
The game-winning Texas possession depended more on one big play and one extra second, leading to Hunter Lawrence’s field goal and a 13-12 victory.
But Texas’ final drive boosted the Longhorns into the BCS title game – even if it didn’t come with many style points.
Texas coach Mack Brown said quarterback Colt McCoy’s gritty determination on a day when he was intercepted three times and sacked nine times will resonate with Heisman voters.
“Everybody wants a Heisman moment and I thought that was it,” Brown said. “I think that’s his 12th fourth-quarter comeback. We saw there was 1:49 left … That was plenty of time for our offense to score. It’s just so many times before the half or the end of the game where we’ve driven down to win the game.”
The Longhorns got a huge break on the kickoff when the normally reliable Adi Kunalic shanked the kickoff out of bounds. Kunalic had led the Big 12 in touchbacks this season. But his mistake gave the Longhorns 20 extra yards they ended up needing.
Before the Longhorns broke the huddle, McCoy calmed his team and reminded them of the opportunity they had in front of them.
“I walked into the huddle and told the offensive linemen it’s one at a time,” McCoy said. “I love each and every one of them and let’s make it happen.”
On the first play, McCoy hit Jordan Shipley for a short pass that he turned into a 19-yard gain. The Longhorns got 15 more yards on the play because Nebraska safety Larry Asante was flagged for a horse collar tackle.
McCoy then was sacked twice and threw an incomplete before Lawrence drilled his game-winning kick.
Even in the excitement of the dramatic victory, McCoy was excited about what the Longhorns had done.
In a sense it was poetic justice from last season’s disappointment. The Longhorns’ only loss came last season at Texas Tech with one second left. This season they were able to convert their chances and are 13-0 after getting their ugliest victory of the season.
“To be an undefeated team at 13-0, you have to win in different ways,” Brown said. “You’ve seen Alabama block field goals in the last second. You saw this team run up and down the field last week and the defense struggled. But you saw the offense do enough to win tonight.”
On a day when McCoy left the field banged up, he was more excited about nailing down his first Big 12 championship than any personal goals.
“It was just one of those nights. Those guys played tough defense all night. It came down to one second,” McCoy said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in. We didn’t want to let it come down to the wire like that, but we were able to pull through.”