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LONGHORNS FOOTBALL

Texas wins Alamo Bowl 26-24

For Horns, 10 victories enough reason to cheer


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Sunday, December 31, 2006

SAN ANTONIO — The Longhorns' come-from-behind 26-24 victory over the hardluck Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday might have represented more of a relief than a classic bowl win for the ages.

Or, as more than one Texas player shouted to the sellout crowd after all the Alamo Bowl hardware had been handed out:

Rodolfo Gonzalez
AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas' Roy Miller hangs on for a sack on Iowa quarterback Drew Tate during the second half. The Longhorns' defense came up with several big plays in the half.

Deborah Cannon
AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy tied the freshman record for touchdown passes with his 29th on Saturday.

Rodolfo Gonzalez
AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It all culminated in a celebration for Aaron Ross and the other seniors who were playing their last game as Longhorns. Texas finished with at least 10 wins for the sixth straight season.

"It's all about the 10 wins, baby."

The Longhorns, with 26 seniors giving one final curtain call, picked up their 10th win, defeating a 6-7 Iowa team and extending their national-leading streak of double-digit victory seasons to six. That achievement was the main remaining goal for the team.

"We win so much at the University of Texas that a 10-win season doesn't seem that big," said Longhorn receiver Limas Sweed. "But a 10-win season is a good one."

To achieve No. 10 in the Alamodome, Texas relied heavily on an offense that junked the run in the second half and a much-maligned defense that finally played the pass late in the game the way many expected it to do all season.

The significant plays were many in a game in which the Longhorns found themselves down by 14 midway through the opening quarter. They included:

•Aaron Ross' interception in the end zone late in the second quarter that kept Iowa from taking what would have been a momentum-gutting, 21-3 lead at halftime. On the previous play, Iowa had a touchdown wiped out by a penalty.

"The momentum change from that point was huge," understated Texas coach Mack Brown said.

•Colt McCoy's 20-yard touchdown strike to Sweed on the ensuing possession that allowed Texas to cut the score to 14-10.

When the Longhorns got to the line of scrimmage, McCoy and Sweed immediately saw that Iowa was using a single cornerback to cover the split end. As they've done so many times during the season, McCoy gave Sneed a nod for an audible, changing the route from a post to a sideline streak.

•McCoy's throw on a little-used wheel route to tailback Jamaal Charles, who then jetted 72 yards for the touchdown. The throw was McCoy's 29th touchdown pass of the year, tying the national freshman record. More important, it gave the Longhorns their first lead at 20-14 with 7 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

"That was his best throw of the game," offensive coordinator Greg Davis said of McCoy's toss, the longest completion of the season. "It was over the shoulder; he laid it right in there and then he got blasted right after it."

McCoy, who suffered a severely pinched nerve after he was blasted at the end of the Texas A&M game, showed no lingering symptoms, completing 26 of 40 passes for 308 yards. He was voted outstanding offensive player of the game.

•McCoy's unexpected scramble on fourth down with 11 minutes to go in the game to set up Selvin Young's winning touchdown. McCoy bootlegged to the right with fullback Chris Ogbonnaya as a lead blocker, running 8 yards to the Hawkeye 2.

•Safety Marcus Griffin's stuff of an Iowa trick play — an attempted flanker pass that has burned Texas all season. The play, with 3:35 left to play, resulted in an 11-yard loss.

"I knew it was coming — we'd been beaten by that play in the last 10 games," Griffin said. "We knew it had to come, I guess that was the best time for it."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz described the call as "totally my fault. I was being greedy, I thought we had a secure play."

Iowa quarterback Drew Tate threw two incomplete passes, then the Hawkeyes punted with a little more than 2 minutes to play. The Longhorns, buoyed by an 11-yard end around from flanker Billy Pittman, burned all but 10 seconds off the clock. Greg Johnson's 56-yard punt pinned Iowa at its own 15.

A play later, the game was over, setting off a Longhorn party that at times turned as rowdy as any celebrated championship. At least a dozen Texas starters climbed to the podium at midfield to to preen next to the trophy, while an Alamo Bowl volunteer passed out commemorative T-shirts to all the players.

The last celebration of the season culminated with a cacophony of loud pops, as Texas players and coaches stomped on balloons that littered the field as they trotted to the locker room to extend the party.

"This team was really under a lot of pressure," Brown said. "Because a lot of people thought we didn't want to be here.. . . We continued with a legacy of 10 wins. That's really something to get excited about for the fall."

Comments

By jk

Jan 11, 2007 10:05 PM | Link to this

Jim, who posted about TCU on 1/1/07. TCU is going to kick Longhorn's butt next season? Yeah right! Were you actually talking about little crybaby McCoy that got accolades all year for his great play or the one that came back after the injury and played his heart out at the Alamo Dome for a Texas win. Also stop screaming and type like a human being. Your disgusting.

By coby

Jan 4, 2007 11:24 AM | Link to this

This season was just a preview of how great Coly McCoy will be. The coaches need to make a couple of adjustments and let Colt play to win. If this happens Texas will be back in the ***le hunt. Imagine the possibilities!!!

By J.Mathis

Jan 3, 2007 12:11 AM | Link to this

Love to see Texas call plays like Boise St. Throught the d--- ball vertically down the field! You beat Zero-U everytime. Let them see the whole playbook! Boy, I loved the aggressive way they went after the gooners!

By og2008

Jan 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Link to this

Another good season, congrats to all players & staff. We wanted great, but sometimes good ain't bad.

We cannot sit still, however. We need to play every snap of every play of every game like champions. That easily could have been us getting worked by Boise State last night. The best don't sit still and are never satisfied.

By Lee

Jan 2, 2007 12:27 PM | Link to this

For all your whiners and complainers..

Gentlemen,just look at our record,take your whining elsewhere and stop referring to yourselves as Longhorns! NO ONE IS PERFECT ON THIS EARTH...

Hook'em,

Lee

By jeff

Jan 2, 2007 5:21 AM | Link to this

Longhorns did good! Win or lose LONGHORNS all the way!!!

By Anonymous

Jan 2, 2007 12:16 AM | Link to this

I think Boxxer has it right. The whiners on here crying like little babies about Mack and Greg can't be real Longhorn fans. Real football fans act like men, and accept a good season versus and outstanding one now and then. We had a good season, and won the Alamo Bowl. So what if it wasn't a BCS Bowl this year, not everyone has perfect seasons every season. You guys who want Mack and Greg out (who gave us a National Championship last season) need to find a different team to be a "fan" of.

By RHINO

Jan 1, 2007 4:43 PM | Link to this

our D fense is the worst ive seen. We cant get to the quarterback and our secondary plays likes high school kids. Ridiculous and embarrasing. If you dont want to cover anybody, then get your a$$ on the bench. We are VERY lucky to have won 10 games. Im glad we won the crappy bowl game we got sent to and hope we can a d coach that can do something with these slackers on d or we are in trouble.

By AL

Jan 1, 2007 4:24 PM | Link to this

If Texas is gonna have a shot at a National ***le in 2007, they need a much better Offensive Coordinator, and, please replace those lousy and terrible secondary people that are so easily outsmarted by any passing team. It was obvious that they are limited on their level of intelligence because they could never defend against the pass. Those incompetent idiots cost Texas a shot at a BCS Bowl game.

By Keith

Jan 1, 2007 4:21 PM | Link to this

Disappointing year. We have a HC who has 1 NC in 8 yrs (we all can live with that) but only 1 Big 12 Championship (unacceptable). We should have won at least 4 Big 12's and played in 3 NC games. Mack should thank his lucky stars for VY getting him that 1 NC and Big 12. He needs to find DC who can coach and one day wake up and realize his OC is not helping him. Despite all of this we will be in the hunt again next year and I will of course renew my Foundation and season tickets again.

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