Sunday, October 26, 2008
Texas Hangs on to No. 1 With Tough Win Over OSU
Texas overcomes late mistakes by Colt McCoy, hangs on to No. 1 with tough 28-24 win over OSU
By JIM VERTUNO
The Associated Press
Whew! Top-ranked Texas was put to its toughest test yet and came through unbeaten. Looking more vulnerable than any other time this season, the Longhorns needed a big defensive stand in the fourth quarter to overcome a pair of late mistakes by Colt McCoy and hang on for a tough 28-24 win over No. 7 Oklahoma State.
Their reward is another week at No. 1 and yet another huge Big 12 South division game next weekend at No. 8 Texas Tech.
McCoy, who passed for 391 yards and two touchdowns, threw a rare interception that set up a field goal as Oklahoma State pulled within 28-24, then fumbled on the Cowboys' 10 with just over five minutes left when Texas could have put the game away.
But the defense, pushed around by Oklahoma State's punishing rushing attack and big tight end Brandon Pettigrew all day, made a huge stand. The Longhorns stopped the Cowboys on fourth down at their own 30. Texas drove the ball to the Oklahoma State 1 before turning the ball over on downs with 33 seconds left.
It still wasn't quite over. The Cowboys used four plays to get to midfield before a final desperation pass fell just short of the end zone as time expired.
The Longhorns (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) got their third straight win over a ranked opponent, and it was the toughest by far.
McCoy finished was 38 of 45 passing and ran for a touchdown. Kendall Hunter, the Big 12's leading rusher, led the Cowboys (7-1, 3-1) with 161 yards against the nation's No. 2 rush defense.
Texas has won 11 in in a row over Oklahoma State, including several big rallies in recent years. This time, it was Texas hanging on at the end. Three times the Longhorns built 14-point leads but it never felt safe.
The Cowboys, with 56 players from Texas on their roster and eager for payback and a chance to get in the national title chase, kept pounding Texas with Hunter and Pettigrew, who kept bursting through holes in the line of scrimmage and bouncing off tacklers.
McCoy threw touchdown passes of 14 yards to Jordan Shipley and 17 yards to Quan Cosby, both in the first half. The pass to Cosby, just over the outstretched fingertips of safety Jacob Lacey, put Texas up 21-7 late in the second quarter before OSU answered with a 9-yard scoring pass from Zac Robinson to Bo Bowling just before halftime.
Texas went up 28-14 when McCoy ran 3 yards for a TD midway through the third. The score came two plays after McCoy threw a pass that was picked off inside the 10 but the play was nullified by a personal foul when linebacker Andre Sexton hit the quarterback in the face.
The Cowboys kept coming back. Hunter ripped the Longhorns for huge yards and Keith Toston cut the lead to 28-21 with a 1-yard run.
McCoy then made another big mistake and this time it counted. Trying to beat a blitz, McCoy lofted a soft deep pass toward Cosby and this time Lacey grabbed it. A 39-yard field goal by Dan Bailey cut the lead to 28-24 with 13 minutes to play.
Texas then used a 15-play drive to the OSU 10 that ate up 7:31 before McCoy, swamped by three defenders, dropped the ball for his second turnover.
Two quick plays moved the ball to the 31 before Texas ended the drive by sacking Robinson and dropping receiver Dez Bryant for a loss on fourth down.
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