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Texas wins Fiesta Bowl in emphatic fashion
10:55 p.m. update
Wow. That was exciting. Texas pulled off a 24-21 triumph over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. The victory improved the Big 12 to 4-2 in the postseason. The best the conference has ever done in bowl games is 5-3.
Player of the game — at least to me — was UT wide receiver Quan Cosby, who caught 14 passes for 173 yards and two scores, including the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game.
And how about Colt McCoy, who set a personal record for completions (41) and yards (413) tonight. That last drive was vintage McCoy.
It's also fitting how Texas won this game. Remember Nov. 1 in Lubbock, Texas, the site of UT's only loss of the year? Michael Crabtree became UT's worst nightmare when he caught the game-winning touchdown in the final minute (well, second) of one of the most memorable games in Big 12 history. Bit of the season coming full circle for the Longhorns when Cosby caught the game-winning score with just seconds left on the clock.
Texas has now won five straight bowl games, more than any team in the nation except Utah. With the return of McCoy and Jordan Shipley next season, along with the continued growth of its young secondary, Texas should be loaded again for 2009.
The Big Ten fell to 1-6 this postseason. Not the strongest conference this season, to say the least.
9:55 p.m. update
Give Texas credit. The Longhorns dominated the third quarter and now lead Ohio State, 17-6, at the end of the period. Chris Wells, who had 95 rushing yards in the first half, only had eight yards rushing in the third quarter. Looks like the Longhorns have a considerably better chance of finally giving the Big 12 South its first bowl victory of the postseason.
The play that has stood out the most to me was Colt McCoy's seven-yard TD pass to Quan Cosby at the end of the third. How hilarious was it to see Ohio State defensive linemen lag back to the line of scrimmage and get flagged for offsides during UT's hurry-up spread offense? At a separate point, an Ohio State player was flagged for not getting off the field fast enough before Texas called its play. It's becoming clear the Buckeyes haven't seen high-octane, fast-paced offenses like the Big 12 this season. It's one thing to study it on film a month before the game. It's another thing to be completely knocked off balance by the offense when Texas decides to change the pace to the hurry-up.
9 p.m. update
Not the start Texas was looking for. The Longhorns trail Ohio State, 6-3, at the half of the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. in a low-scoring game that could pass for a baseball score.
The most telling stat to me from the first half: Rushing yards. The Buckeyes (10-2) have 140, while the Longhorns (11-1) have -6. Ouch. Chris Wells has torched Texas so far for 95 rushing yards.
Colt McCoy had a nice first-half statistically, completing 20 of 27 passes for 199 yards. But his interception in the red zone at the end of the first half was deadly. The last time Texas didn't score a touchdown in the first half was Nov. 1, a date not adored by Longhorn fans. Texas ended up losing to Texas Tech in the only game the Longhorns have lost this year.
I must credit the UT marching band, however, for playing Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and "Stairway to Heaven" during halftime. Be back after the game for more analysis on what this means for the Big 12 and for Texas. Enjoy the game.
1 p.m. update — The question of Big 12 vs. SEC football superiority
Plano, Texas— Dozens of Texas Tech football fans roamed around Dallas Love Field Airport on Saturday when I arrived to visit family.
As I was waiting around at the baggage claim, I noticed one Tech fan next to me whose body language suggested his mind was still on the 47-34 shellacking Ole Miss gave the Red Raiders in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. I figured I'd make small talk to pass the time.
"That was a tough game, huh?" I asked."Oh yeah," he immediately replied before pausing for a few seconds and continuing. "Damn SEC."
It got me thinking. If there was any year the Big 12 wanted to prove its superiority to the SEC, this was the year. But what would the Big 12 need to do in order to prove it? I thought of three basic ways to settle the score between the Big 12 and SEC this bowl season:
- 1. Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss in a Big 12-SEC matchup in the Cotton Bowl.
- 2. Oklahoma vs. Florida in a Big-12 SEC matchup in Thursday's BCS Championship.
- 3. Overall postseason bowl record for each conference.
So far, advantage SEC. The SEC took home a victory in the Cotton Bowl and presently holds a 5-2 record in bowl games, compared to the Big 12's 3-2 showing. And how about that 3-2 Big 12 showing so far? You'd have to call it a disappointment, especially considering the North is doing all the heavy lifting.
The so-called weak North won all its bowl games (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska), while the so-called powerhouse South has laid an egg (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech) thus far.
Texas and Oklahoma still remain, so the South still has an opportunity to make up some ground. If the Big 12 wins out, it would take two of the three categories from the SEC listed above and would have a solid argument for being the best conference in America.
The Longhorns will continue the Big 12's bowl journey at 7 tonight when they face Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. I'll be updating the blog later tonight with some thoughts from the game.
That's all for now, friends. I think I've brought back some of this Kansas weather to Texas. High of 32 in Plano today with freezing rain, and high of 37 in Lawrence with reportedly clear skies. What the heck is going on here?
As always, discuss.