"It was a staff discussion yesterday," Texas coach Mack Brown of the decision to name Ash the starter for Texas Tech. "David's body of work has been really good. He has played as one of the best quarterbacks in the country."
Ash failed to generate any significant offense for most of three quarters against a woeful Kansas team before he was pulled with 9:37 left in the fourth. McCoy, who split time as a starter in 2011 with Ash before losing the competition to start this season, orchestrated a come-from-behind 21-17 win with two scoring drives on Texas' last two possessions.
"He was prepared and ready," Brown said of McCoy.
Now Texas is poised and ready to play McCoy at any time.
"We would not hesitate to put Case in after Saturday for sure," Brown said.
So Texas prepares for Saturday's game against Texas Tech and a defense that is ranked 12th overall nationally, and Ash finds himself fighting for his job. He's thrown four picks in his past three games, while the more-than-capable McCoy waits in the wings.
"I've got to learn from it and move on," said Ash, who has completed 69 percent of his passes and has 12 touchdowns against five interceptions. "I'm not going to look at things that are out of my control. I'm going to try and control things that I can control."
At times, Ash has not been productive in critical situations inside the red zone. In the fourth quarter against West Virginia, he and center Dominic Espinosa were confused on a shotgun snap, and the miscue pushed Texas into a field goal attempt that it missed.
Against Kansas, there was another botched shotgun snap. Ash again took the blame, saying he should have been on a silent count instead of trying to call the snap over the crowd. In two other situations, against WVU and KU, Ash audibled into plays that cost scoring chances.
Meanwhile, McCoy made the correct signal on a 41-yard pass play late in the fourth to Mike Davis to set up the winning touchdown. Davis was supposed to run a go route. The corner was sitting on that route, and McCoy singled for a double move. Davis was wide open, and McCoy hit him.
Ash's confluence of miscues coupled with McCoy's ability to shine in critical moments -- he also threw for two late touchdowns against Oklahoma when he replaced an injured Ash -- have left lingering questions as to who should be the starter or even how much the starter should play.
Neither quarterback wanted to address that specifically. Ash said he would not look over his shoulder. McCoy said he is ready when needed.
"Bottom line is I prepare every week like I'm going to be the starter," said McCoy, who is 16-of-24 for 275 yards with four touchdowns in relief this season. "And I know that if I ever get throw into the fire again, I'm going to prepare just like I did and hopefully have the same outcome."