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Tight test for Longhorns

Associated Press / October 26, 2008
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Colt McCoy made rare mistakes. The Texas defense got pushed around and the Longhorns watched their big lead and momentum at home gradually disappear.

Suddenly, the No. 1 team in the country looked vulnerable.

Yet here they are, still unbeaten, and with still more tough games to play.

McCoy passed for 391 yards and two touchdowns yesterday but the Longhorns' defense needed to come up with two huge stands in a 28-24 win over No. 7 Oklahoma State after McCoy threw a third-quarter interception and fumbled in the fourth.

"We're not going to beat everybody by 50 or 60," Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer said. "We showed we can dig down and fight."

Texas (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) led, 28-21, when McCoy threw the interception - his first in 101 pass attempts - and the Cowboys (7-1, 3-1) seemed to have stolen all the momentum with the ball near midfield.

Instead of allowing a touchdown, Texas held OSU to a field goal that cut the lead to 4. And when McCoy fumbled as he was swarmed by three defenders at the Cowboys' 10 late in the fourth, Texas didn't allow the them to get past the OSU 30.

Texas fans have watched McCoy play with near-perfect precision - especially while beating Oklahoma and Missouri the previous two weeks - and the turnovers seemed to stun the crowd of 98,515.

"No one plays this game perfect," said wide receiver Jordan Shipley, McCoy's roommate who was also his favorite target with 15 catches for 168 yards.

Texas had a chance for a final touchdown after getting the ball back at the 30, driving to the 1 before a busted call on fourth down gave OSU one last chance to cover 99 yards in about 30 seconds. The Cowboys got to midfield before a desperation pass fell just short of the end zone on the final play.

Texas got its third straight win over a ranked opponent and it was the toughest by far. Texas beat Oklahoma, 45-35, in Dallas with a big rally and used a 35-point first half to swamp Missouri in a rout at home.

The Cowboys' Kendall Hunter, the Big 12's leading rusher, ran for 161 yards and a TD against the nation's No. 2 rush defense.

McCoy, who was 38 of 45, threw TD passes to Shipley and Quan Cosby in the first half.

Alabama 29, Tennessee 9 - John Parker Wilson passed for 188 yards and ran for a TD, and the No. 2 Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) doubled up the Volunteers (3-5, 1-4) in total yardage, 366-173, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Oklahoma 58, Kansas St. 35 - The No. 4 Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) blew a 21-point first-half lead, but still crushed the host Wildcats (4-4, 1-3) by tying the school record for points in a half with 55. DeMarco Murray scored four times for Oklahoma and Sam Bradford threw for three TDs.

Florida 63, Kentucky 5 - Tim Tebow threw two TD passes and ran for two scores, and the fifth-ranked Gators (6-1, 4-1 SEC) drubbed the visiting Wildcats (5-3, 1-3) for their 22d straight win in the series. Florida blocked punts on Kentucky's first two possessions and turned them into short TD runs.

USC 17, Arizona 10 - Mark Sanchez threw for 216 yards and a touchdown, and the sixth-ranked Trojans (6-1, 4-1 Pac-10) used their dominant defense to hold off the Wildcats in Tucson.

Texas Tech 63, Kansas 21 - Graham Harrell passed for 386 yards and five TDs as the No. 8 Red Raiders (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) had their way with the No. 19 Jayhawks (5-3, 2-2) in Lawrence, Kan., scoring on eight of their first nine possessions.

Louisville 24, South Florida 20 - Hunter Cantwell threw two TD passes to Scott Long, and the host Cardinals (5-2, 1-1 Big East) picked off Bulls star Matt Grothe twice - including one late that enabled Louisville to run out the clock in its upset of No. 14 South Florida (6-2, 1-2).

Georgia 52, LSU 38 - Knowshon Moreno ran for 163 yards, including a 49-yard TD in the third quarter that gave the ninth-ranked Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1 SEC) a three-touchdown lead over the No. 11 Tigers (5-2, 3-2). Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble returned two interceptions for TDs.

TCU 54, Wyoming 7 - The No. 15 Horned Frogs (8-1, 5-0 Mountain West) won their fourth straight game as Jimmy Young had a school-record 226 yards receiving and caught three TD passes in Fort Worth.

Missouri 58, Colorado 0 - At Columbia, Mo., Chase Daniel matched his school record with five TD passes and the No. 16 Tigers (6-2, 2-2 Big 12) handed the Buffaloes (4-4, 2-2) their first shutout in 20 years.

Rutgers 54, Pittsburgh 34 - At Pittsburgh, the Scarlet Knights (3-5, 2-2 Big East) broke out of their season-long offensive funk by scoring the most points against the 17th-ranked Panthers (5-2, 2-1) in 12 years. Mike Teel threw five of his school-record six TD passes in the first half against the 10th-ranked pass defense in the nation.

BYU 42, UNLV 35 - Max Hall threw for four TDs and Austin Collie had his sixth straight 100-yard receiving game, but the No. 18 Cougars (7-1, 3-1 Mountain West) didn't finish off the visiting Rebels (3-5, 0-4) until Andrew Rich intercepted Omar Clayton's pass in the end zone on the final play.

Ball St. 38, E. Michigan 16 - At Muncie, Ind., Nate Davis threw for two scores and caught the first TD pass of his career to keep the 20th-ranked Cardinals (8-0, 4-0 Mid-American) off to their best start in 43 years.

Minnesota 17, Purdue 6 - Adam Weber passed for a TD and ran for another as the No. 25 Golden Gophers (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) held the host Boilermakers (2-6, 0-4) to 109 yards passing - the lowest total in Joe Tiller's 12 years as Purdue's coach.

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