Ash threw a pair of interceptions, fumbled once and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. That performance, coupled with a dominant showing on the ground by the Horned Frogs — they rushed for 217 yards — and a last minute pick was more than enough to spur the Horned Frogs to a 20-13 victory.
“Four turnovers to one, you’re going to get beat most of the time,” head coach Mack Brown said. “In fact, it’s about 100 percent.”
On the first drive of the game, Ash led Texas downfield, but then, on a first-down play from TCU’s 30-yard line, Ash made his first mistake. Mike Davis broke open on a post pattern over the middle of the field, but Ash underthrew him, resulting in an interception.
The throw wasn’t far behind Davis, but the small mistake epitomized Ash’s and the Longhorns’ day.
TCU capitalized. The Horned Frogs worked a physical and persistent 94-yard drive, their longest of the season, completing a fourth-down conversion by pounding away at the Longhorns up the middle.
The Longhorns were in the red zone on their next drive, but a dropped pass by Ryan Roberson, on what would have been a first-down conversion, forced the Longhorns to settle for a field goal.
It wasn’t a turnover, but it might as well have been. Though the Longhorns moved the ball well, they were able to produce only a single touchdown in four trips to the red zone.
“Crucial mistakes in the red zone that really hurt us in the long run and killed morale a little bit,” offensive lineman Trey Hopkins said. “It just put us in bad spots.”
Ash’s biggest mistake of the game came on a late second quarter drive with Texas down, 7-3. After Johnathan Gray was stuffed on first down, Ash looked for Mike Davis streaking across the middle. But he failed to see safety Elisha Olabode jumping the route and was intercepted again.
The play earned Ash a seat on the sidelines for the remainder of the quarter, as McCoy entered to finish the half.
“It kills you when you throw interceptions,” Brown said. “It really kills you in the red zone.”
Ash returned, but only led Texas to three points over the next quarter and a third. With 10 minutes remaining, McCoy entered the game and provided a spark. He led the Longhorns on their only touchdown drive, capped off by Jeremy Hills’ eight-yard rushing score.
“Case had a little bit more drive [than David],” running back Gray said. “He got the guys going and told us ‘Hey, the game’s not over, we can still make plays.’”
The defense forced a quick three-and-out on TCU’s next possession, giving Texas and McCoy a second straight opportunity to make a magical comeback — McCoy led the Longhorns on a last minute drive to beat Texas A&M last Thanksgiving.
It wasn’t to be done against a new Turkey Day foe though.
McCoy scrambled for 13 yards on the first play of Texas’ last drive. On the next play, the gunslinger scrambled right, left and then right again. McCoy lobbed the ball deep downfield into a sea of mostly purple and white, throwing his first interception of the year.
It was Texas’ fourth turnover of the night, and an anti-climactic end to what would’ve been a legendary moment.
“Case came in and had that fire in his eyes,” Hopkins said. “I definitely thought we were going to pull that one out.”
The loss put a sour taste on senior night and eliminated any possibility of a BCS Bowl for the Longhorns.
“The loss leaves a really bad taste in our mouths right now,” offensive guard Mason Walters said. “We’re doing a lot of things right now that are good during the week. We just need to show up on game day.”
Printed on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 as: TCU hands UT crushing loss