Texas wins second half, game
AUSTIN, TX -- Odds are, you won't find another football game this season with more different halves than what we saw here tonight.
19th-ranked TCU rode a dominating performance from its defense to 10-0 halftime lead.
Then 7th-ranked Texas got it all together after intermission, scoring 27 unanswered points and coasting to a 34-13 victory in front of 84,621.
The Longhorns had an extremely lackluster performance on both sides of the ball last week in a 21-13 win over Arkansas State, causing many of their fans to question whether this team has what it takes to compete for titles.
The defense answered those questions all night tonight, but the offense was still in a fog early.
With 3:33 left in a scoreless first half, TCU nickelback Torrey Stewart faked a blitz, then jumped back and snagged a Colt McCoy pass and took it 45 yards for a TD. Two minutes later, safety David Roach picked off a tipped McCoy pass and took it into scoring position. Though a goal line stand by the Longhorn defense held TCU to a field goal, Texas trotted into the locker room hearing a smattering of boos.
"Our defense did a great job hanging in there while we were hunting and pecking trying to find something," said Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
The Longhorns had generated only 137 yards of total offense, but in spite of their lead, TCU had only 111 yards.
The 20-minute halftime break, though, changed the game in a big way.
"I think everyone in there knew we had to play to another standard," said defensive tackle Frank Okam. "We had to go to another level that we need to play at."
"I knew if we came in, sat down and got everybody focused, we were going to score some points," said McCoy.
Those points came quickly. 2:44 into the half, McCoy scrambled to his right to avoid pressure and lofted a perfect 33-yard TD to Nate Jones. After two exchanges of punts, McCoy then led a 81-yard game-tying drive.
TCU fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Texas punched in another TD, set up by a 23-yard McCoy scramble, to take the lead, 17-10.
Meanwhile, the Texas defense was really revving it up. Two more quick TCU possessions produced zero total yards, and Texas tacked on a field goal and got another TD when Brandon Foster swept up a fumbled punt snap and sprinted into the end zone to make it 27-10.
By the time the Texas cannon fired for the final time, Horned Frog devastation was complete.
Texas ran for 119 yards in the fourth quarter alone, and churned out 278 total yards in the second half, while TCU had only 251 for the entire game.
"I'm really proud of our guys," beamed Texas head coach Mack Brown. "We played with great emotion throughout the game, we played with intensity, and the hardest thing for a football team to do in my opinion is to overcome adversity."
Player of the game: McCoy finished 25-of-38 for 239 yards against a very good defense. He threw two interceptions, but one was on a tipped ball and one was a phenomenal play by Stewart. McCoy also ran five times for 37 yards.
Play of the game: If he wasn't a fan of instant replay before, Mack Brown is now. Trailing 10-7 late in the third quarter and facing a third down deep in TCU territory, McCoy scrambled for a first down and was met by several Horned Frog defenders. He took a big hit, the ball popped loose, the play was ruled a fumble, and TCU had what looked to be a huge momentum shift. Texas had already spent all three timeouts, so they couldn't request a review of the play, but the Big XII replay official took it on his own and ruled McCoy down before the fumble. Texas kicked a field goal to tie, then TCU fumbled the ensuing kickoff.
Next up: TCU has a huge trap game Thursday night at Air Force. With a short week to prepare and the high altitude, the Falcon offensive attack will be a very tough challenge. Texas heads to Orlando for a Saturday game at Central Florida.