Texas kicked a 46 yard field goal with no time on the clock to survive a 13-12 win over the Cornhuskers in the Big 12 title. Colt McCoy almost threw away the Longhorns shot at a national title.
U’s Alex Henery hit his fourth field goal of the night with 1:44 left in the game to give NU the 12-10 lead. Alex Kunalic, who was booming kickoffs deep into the end zone, shanked one of out of bounds giving Texas the ball at their own 40.
McCoy hit Shipley for a first down pass down to the NU 41. A horse collar penalty was called giving Texas a first down at the NU 26. With one timeout remaining, the Longhorns ran two plays out of the shotgun and lost three yards. As the clock wound down, McCoy took the snap with seven seconds left on the clock. He rolled to his right and threw the ball out of bounds. The clock showed :00, but replay confirmed the ball landed out of bounds with :01 left. I couldn’t believe McCoy didn’t run and center the ball in the middle of the field.
With one final chance, Texas kicked the field goal to pull off the win and set up a date now with Alabama for the National Title.
This game was all about the defense. First, the Husker offense struggled all night. They gained just 106 yards. They were 2 of 16 on third conversions. Zac Lee was 6 of 19 for 39 yards. In fact, his 17 yard QB draw was the Huskers longest play from scrimmage. That came after Dejon Gomes picked off Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter. The Huskers eventually got their fourth field goal of the night from Henery when he booted that 42 yarder It was McCoy’s third pick of the game and it came after McCoy picked up two third down conversions. McCoy was picked off on two of Texas’ first three possessions and NU converted those picks into field goals.
The first came on his second pass of the game when Eric Hagg picked off a deflected pass at the UT 41. Henery then booted a 45 yarder to give NU a 3-0 lead. After a Texas three and out, Zac Lee was picked off by Blake Gideon at the UT 23. However, three plays later, McCoy was picked off by Prince Amukamara at the UT 43. NU gained nine yards and got a 52 yard field from Henery, a Big 12 Championship game record.
The score stayed that way until midway through the second quarter when McCoy worked with a short field after a 30 yard punt from Henery gave Texas the ball at the Husker 42. McCoy went in from two yards on a run, but the drive was fueled by two pass completions and a pass interference call which gave Texas first and goal at the four.
Texas kept Nebraska pinned deep in their territory most of the 3rd quarter thanks to two pooch punts by McCoy after Texas was unable to get inside the NU 40. The Huskers were flagged for four penalties on those ensuing possessions following those punts.
In fact, in one series, Bo Pelini inserted freshmen QB Cody Green who ran two sneaks up the middle and threw an incomplete pass that was nearly picked off after the Huskers were backed up to their one.
Texas would eventually settle for a field goal to go up 10-6. In the fourth quarter, the Huskers took control again with special teams play. Punting from their own seven, the Longhorns got a 46 yard punt, but Niles Paul returned it to the 10 on a 43 yard return. Two runs by Rex Burkhead and an incomplete pass forced the Huskers to settle for a field goal to make it 10-9 with just under 12 minutes to play.
On the next kickoff, Marquise Goodwin fielded Kunalic’s kick at the one, but slipped and fell. Then a penalty backed the Horns up to their two. Ndamukong Suh nearly tackled Tre’ Newton in the endzone, but that’s when McCoy wiggled Texas out of trouble.
Let’s talk about the Blackshirts. Ndamukong Suh had 3.5 of the Huskers 8 sacks on McCoy, by far the most Texas has given up this year. Just as good as the Texas defense was, NU was even better. They shut down McCoy who finished 20 of 36 for 184 yards, but had three picks. Jordan Shipley had seven grabs for 71 yards, but the number of negative plays that the NU defense produced negated most of that production.
Texas had just 202 total yards of offense and got flagged seven times for 45 yards. In the end, Texas had just enough thanks to their kicker Hunter Lawrence who bailed out Texas in the end.
There is no doubt, the Huskers showed they could compete and hang with Texas. Suh will win all of the major defensive awards he is up for and I’ve seen several fans and media members tweeting that Suh should be invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation.