for this game

McCoy, Cosby rally Texas past Ohio State

Jan 6, 2009 - 7:57 AM GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Texas did not get a chance to play for the BCS national title, so a thrilling BCS bowl victory will have to do.

Colt McCoy threw a 26-yard TD pass to Quan Cosby with 16 seconds to play, lifting No. 3 Texas to a 24-21 victory over 10th-ranked Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night.

McCoy threw for a career-high 413 yards and hooked up with Cosby 14 times. Their final connection capped an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive as Cosby caught a slant and broke one tackle on his way to the end zone.

"On that last play when they brought everybody, he kind of said over and over, If I catch the same look, give me a slant, give me a slant behind the linebacker," McCoy said. "If he comes, you just make that miss, we will score.

"We had confidence in each other. We have done that all year long. I gave him a good ball and he made the play. Give credit to the offensive line too. They played tremendous all night."

Ohio State (10-3) was down 17-6 entering the fourth quarter but had taken a 21-17 lead on a 15-yard TD run by Dan Herron with 2:05 to play.

Texas coach Mack Brown and the Longhorns clearly felt they had been cheated out of a chance to compete for a national championship when the final BCS standings were announced.

Texas (12-1) enjoyed an outstanding regular season highlighted by a 45-35 victory over Oklahoma in the annual Red River Rivalry game on October 11.

But three weeks later, the Longhorns dropped a heartbreaking 39-33 decision at Texas Tech, and they fell behind Oklahoma in the subsequent BCS standings and never recovered.

By virtue of their higher BCS ranking, the Sooners won a three-way tiebreaker with the Longhorns and the Red Raiders to claim the South Division crown and went on to crush Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

The Sooners will meet Florida on Thursday for the BCS national title while the Longhorns will have to be content with a 12-win season and an exciting comeback win over the Buckeyes.

"Things weren't easy tonight," Brown said. "It was just a great - a classic really between Texas and Ohio State and the way it should be."

There was speculation that Texas was playing this game for a share of the nation title and that a convincing win could earn it the top spot in at least one of the polls. That seems unlikely now as the Longhorns started flat and didn't hit their stride on offense until the third quarter and then again on their final drive.

Ohio State led 6-3 at the half on a pair of field goals, including a 50-yarder by Aaron Pettrey.

McCoy and the Longhorns scored their first TD on the first drive of the second half as the Heisman Trophy runner-up gave his team its first lead, 10-6, with a 14-yard TD run.

Cosby reeled in a 7-yard TD pass later in the quarter to make it 17-6, and it seemed that the Longhorns were poised to hand the Buckeyes another BCS beatdown.

"Our defense kept us in it all night long. We were struggling at first," Cosby said. "Give credit to Ohio State's defense who were very good also, probably the best we played this year."

But it was not to be.

Ohio State went three-and-out on its first two drives of the third quarter but the fourth was a different story as the Buckeyes were successful using both Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman at quarterback and nearly avoided a third straight BCS bowl loss.

"You saw a great football game out there. Two teams going at it extremely hard," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "Our hat is off to Texas. They did a great job. They have a great program. Mack does a phenomenal job and they have got an outstanding football team. It was an exciting Fiesta Bowl, that's for sure."

Pettrey kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 17-9 early in the fourth and Boeckman hit Pryor on a fade in the end zone for a 5-yard score to cut the lead to 17-15. Pryor's pass on the 2-point conversion was incomplete.

"As far as both Terrelle and Todd getting an opportunity to help this team, I think they both did the best they could to do what they could for us," Tressel said. "And Todd is a special guy. Every one of us wanted to do all we could to make him part of the plan. And when you have a little bit more time and you are not week to week to week game planning, it is a little bit easier to do that. I thought he stepped in and did a good job.

"And I thought Terrelle in a big game as a true freshman did some very good things."

About five minutes later Herron put Ohio State back in front but McCoy and the Longhorns had just enough time left to march down the field for the winning score.