Case McCoy couldn’t do it again — at least in regulation.
The senior quarterback, whose confidence oozes out of him and seems to build as every second melts off the clock, only managed to lead the Longhorns on a 57-yard, game-tying field goal drive against West Virginia. The last-minute orchestration wasn’t quite equal to his game-winning magical moments earlier in his career, but it’s just as meaningful.
Because of McCoy, and a gutsy, inspired effort from the entire roster, head coach Mack Brown experienced his first overtime game in 16 years at Texas. It was the first overtime appearance for a McCoy at Texas too, and, once again, the fate of the names Brown and McCoy seemed to be intertwined.
With a loss, the Longhorn grave diggers would have resumed construction of Brown’s plot, while fans prepared their “Saban for Governor” T-shirts. Instead, after a terrible start to the game, McCoy managed to throw for 283 yards and a trio of touchdowns — each of which came in succession, each of which was timelier and each of which was more impressive than the last one.
The first was a 49-yard strike down the left sideline to senior wide receiver Mike Davis, a throw many thought McCoy unable to make only a year ago. The second, a perfect over-the-shoulder, back corner throw to junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The third, the easiest throw of the group, a two-yard toss to sophomore fullback Alex De La Torre in overtime, which proved to be the game winner.
McCoy made a number of “what are you doing?” throws and side-armed more passes than a submarine pitcher, but, once again, did enough. With the win, the Longhorns are 6-0 in Big 12 play and in first place, ahead of No. 5 Baylor.
Seven weeks ago, Brown was halfway into retirement and McCoy an afterthought. Now, the pair has given a team close to total reconstruction a new blueprint. Sure, it’s not perfect, and at times tough to watch. But the Longhorns are only three games away from a Big 12 championship.
The challenges to reach this goal are significant, though.
Injuries have proved devastating to Texas this season. The loss of sophomore running back Johnathan Gray and senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley on Saturday night, arguably the team’s best offensive and defensive player, could prove significant.
The Longhorns also have a challenging schedule ahead of them. Matchups with top 12 teams Oklahoma State and Baylor sandwich a Thanksgiving showdown with Texas Tech.
But perhaps the biggest challenge for the Longhorns is to maintain their own sense of timeliness and, in extension, luck. They’ve lived in the middle of the scale this year, managing to tip it in their favor at the last-minute for weeks. Much of that credit can go to the Longhorns, but often luck manages to prove fleeting.
McCoy and Brown will look to challenge that logic moving forward. Who’s to doubt them after all? Those two names have been intertwined at Texas for nearly a decade, and there are still blank pages in their history books to fill.