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Texas Answers Late Ohio State Score To Win Fiesta

by Mike Mitchell
January 5, 2009

Colt McCoy's 26-yard hook-up with Quan Cosby with 16 seconds left in the game gave Texas a 24-21 win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The score came just 1:54 after the Buckeye had taken a 21-17 lead on Daniel Herron's 15-yard run.

The winning play capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive that was kept alive by inches on McCoy's 4th-and-3 pass to James Kirkendoll whose forward progress was marked right at first-down yardage at the Ohio State 40. After a 14-yard pass to Brandon Collins, McCoy hit Cosby on a short inside slant that sucked up the entire Buckeye secondary and left no one to tackle Cosby after he broke an initial hit at the 20-yard line.

Until the final drive, the fourth quarter had been the Pryor-Boeckman-Herron show.

Freshman QB Terrelle Pryor had a 5-yard TD catch from 5th-year senior Todd Boeckman to bring the Buckeyes to within 17-15 with 7:26 left in the game. Pryor had 2 carries for 41 yards on the 80-yard drive, and threw for 16 yards to Brian Robiskie.

On the following drive that gave the Buckeyes the lead, Pryor had two rushes for 9 yards, Boeckman had two passes for 42 yards, and Herron ran three times for 22 yards.

After back-to-back BCS title game losses to LSU and Florida, it looked like a bit of the BCS monkey might be ready to get off of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's back.

Then, McCoy stepped into the spotlight. He completed 7-of-10 passes on the drive for 76 yards, and scrambled for 2 yards on another. The Buckeye defense, which had sacked him three times and harassed him repeatedly, suddenly wasn't in his face.

On the night, McCoy was 41-of-59 for 414 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT. The interception came just before halftime on an ill-advised, softly thrown ball over the middle at the Buckeye 1-yard line. But he engineered an 80-yard 15-play drive to start the second half and finished it himself with a 14-yard rushing touchdown that gave the Longhorns their first lead at 10-6.

Cosby had 14 catches for 171 yards and 2 TD's.

Texas head coach Mack Brown, known for his unabashed politicking, made it clear when he was interviewed at the post-game award ceremony that he believes his team deserves a share of the national title.

A comeback win over an Ohio State that finished the season 10-3 may not grab many - if any - other votes than his. Texas' only loss happened in the closing seconds at Texas Tech at  a time when the Red Raiders were undefeated. Since then, Texas Tech was blown out by Oklahoma, barely beat Baylor, and lost to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. He would also be battling for votes with a 12-1 USC team that dismantled Penn State (11-2) 38-24 in the Rose Bowl, and a 13-0 Utah team that soundly defeated Alabama (12-2) 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl.

The Buckeyes were expected by many to have a third straight shot at the national championship. But Boeckman had a rocky start to the season at quarterback, RB Chris Wells was injured in the opener, and when the freshman Pryor was forced into the role of starting QB, his play was predictably inconsistent. The defense was the one constant, and that continued tonight. But the offense had contributions from all of the above - Wells rushed for 105 yards on 16 carries, Pryor threw for 67 and ran for 87, and Boeckman threw for 109 yards and a TD.

But in the end, the Buckeyes had their third straight bowl loss and could only do their best Agent 86 imitation and proclaim, "Missed it by that much."

The bowl win was the fifth straight for Texas, and seventh in the last eight tries.








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