Thursday, November 27, 2008
Halftime: Texas 21, Texas A&M 3
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
AUSTIN -- Colt McCoy doesn't have the weapons surrounding him that Sam Bradford or Graham Harrell do.
It's why I think he deserves the Heisman Trophy as much as anybody in the country. And he's showing why tonight.
McCoy's grit was shown in a strong first-half performance as he directed the Longhorns to a 21-3 halftime advantage over Texas A&M.
The junior quarterback accounted for all Texas touchdowns, running for one score and passing for the other two in a vintage first-half effort.
It's wasn't always been pretty. McCoy has been hammered by a surprisingly strong A&M pass rush, including one play late in the first half when he was smashed by Von Miller that left him gasping for breath.
What did he do after that play? He rebounded to hit his final three passes of the first half, including a pair of dramatic improvisational plays capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby for Texas' last touchdown with 12 seconds left.
I don't know if Texas is showing that they deserve to play in the BCS championship game.
But McCoy, who completed 18 of 21 passes for 177 yards and rushed for 33 more yards, is making a convincing argument for the Heisman.
Some other things I've noticed in the first half:
- Bad field position has hampered A&M throughout the first half. The Aggies began their first four first-half possessions at their own 12, 20, 20 and 10 yard line. Their offensive struggles and that placement is the main reason why A&M didn't advance the ball into Texas territory until Stephen McGee hooked up with Michael Goodson on a 54-yard screen pass with 4:10 left in the first half.
- And speaking of that drive, was anybody else surprised that A&M coach Mike Sherman didn't try for a first down on a fourth-and-1? The Aggies are not going to a bowl game and have little to play for in this game other than pride. Shouldn't they have at least considered going for the first down in that situation?
- It hasn't been pretty, but Texas has dominated play in the first half. The most telling statistics are Texas' 260-74 edge in total yardage, a 46-17 edge in offensive plays and a 20:49-9:11 edge in time of possession.
- There's something wrong with the turf, even though there hasn't been a hint of rain yet. Maybe it's the humidity, but it seems that the slick conditions are affecting both teams. A couple of McCoy's sacks were helped along by him slipping to the turf. Even Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp slipped when he was trying to chest-bump one of his players after a play.
- It wasn't surprising that A&M inserted McGee into the lineup for a lift. But it didn't work -- at least initially. His first possession early in the second quarter resulted in a loss of 1 yard, a loss of 1 yard and an incomplete pass that easily could have been intentional grounding.
- Texas' kicking game -- usually a team strength -- bit them early in the second quarter when Ryan Bailey misfired on a 36-yard attempt early in the second quarter. Before that kick, the Longhorns were 9 of 11 on field-goal attempts for the season. After that miss, Hunter Lawrence provided the extra points after Texas' next two scoring drives.