Texas edges Nebraska on late field goalOct 21, 2006 - 7:54 PM LINCOLN, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Ryan Bailey came in and took Greg Johnson off the hook.
Bailey kicked a 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds to play to lift No. 5 Texas to a 22-20 victory over 17th-ranked Nebraska in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
After cornerback Aaron Ross forced a crucial fumble to give the Longhorns the ball in Nebraska territory with 2:17 to play, Bailey came through with the first field goal of his career to keep Texas unbeaten in Big 12 play.
Ross' big play and Bailey's crucial kick turned Johnson from goat to afterthought. Johnson had an extra point blocked and missed a pair of field goals.
"It was a good football game today and I'm just proud of our kids for the way they played and competed," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "You have to tip your hat to Texas for making plays at the end when they needed to make them."
Texas (7-1, 4-0 Big 12 South) held a 16-7 lead entering the fourth quarter but found itself trailing by a point after Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky threw a 25-yard TD pass to Nate Swift with just under five minutes to play.
"You saw a few of the toss sweeps that were executed earlier in the game and the pursuit really came downhill," Callahan said. "That was a complementary play to take advantage of an overpursuing secondary."
Nebraska (6-2, 3-1 North) forced Texas to punt and appeared to be on its way to running out the clock when Ross stepped in. On 3rd-and-3, Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor rolled to his right and hit Terrence Nunn for five yards and what would have been a first down.
But Ross came up and hit Nunn on the ball, forcing a fumble that Texas recovered at the Nebraska 44. Texas covered 39 yards before Bailey, a redshirt freshman from Austin, came in and kept Texas' national title hopes alive.
"He kicks well from right to left and he has not missed a kick in practice," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "Ryan has been a guy who hasn't missed in practice and we thought he would make it in a game."
Before Texas will have any chance at a national championship - and it's a bit of a longshot - it may will have to deal with Nebraska again in the Big 12 Conference title game.
By that time, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy essentially will have had a full season under his belt and, judging by his progress, he will be tough to deal with.
McCoy played like the redshirt freshman he is in an early season showdown with No. 1 Ohio State, throwing for only 154 yards and an interception in a 24-7 loss. He showed much more poise in his second major road test.
McCoy completed 25-of-40 passes for 222 yards and a pair of TDs with no interceptions. He threw both of his TD passes in the second quarter as the Longhorns opened up a 16-7 lead at the half.
He threw a six-yard TD pass to Quan Cosby to give Texas a 9-7 lead but Johnson's extra-point try was blocked. Later in the quarter, McCoy connected with Limas Sweed for a 55-yard TD pass.
"They did a tremendous job and most likely we'll see them down the road in the Big 12 championship," McCoy said. "We're definitely going to have to continue to get better offensively. They are a great football team and this is a tremendous win for our football team."
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