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Final

(9) Ohio State 21

(10-3, 7-1 Big Ten)

(4) Texas 24

(12-1, 7-1 Big 12)

Coverage: FOX

8:00 PM ET, January 5, 2009

1 2 3 4 T
#9OSU 3 3 0 1521
#4TEX 0 3 14 724

Top Performers

Passing: C. McCoy (TEX) - 414 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Wells (OSU) - 16 CAR, 106 YDS

Receiving: Q. Cosby (TEX) - 14 REC, 171 YDS, 2 TD

Longhorns squash Buckeyes' upset dreams with 26-yard score at :16

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Left out of the national title game, Colt McCoy and Texas made the most of their trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

They just hope they did enough to impress poll voters.

McCoy hit Quan Cosby for a 26-yard touchdown with 16 seconds to play, lifting the third-ranked Longhorns to a 24-21 victory over No. 10 Ohio State on Monday night. The dramatic strike capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive that took only 1:42.

Having A Party

Colt McCoy's performance against Ohio State was the second-highest yardage total for a Texas quarterback in a bowl game.

Year Bowl Player Yards
2001 Holiday Major Applewhite 473
2009 Fiesta Colt McCoy 414
1987 Bluebonnet Bret Stafford 368
2006 Alamo Colt McCoy 308
2003 Cotton Chris Simms 269

"It doesn't feel any better than to come from behind and win," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "It was just a classic, really, between Texas and Ohio State, the way it should be."

When it ended, Texas players rushed onto the field, then gathered in front of the band and sang "The Eyes of Texas" with jubilant fans.

As exhilarating as the victory was, it may not have been dominant enough to persuade voters that the Longhorns (12-1) deserve a share of the national championship. Because they were locked out of the Bowl Championship Series title game, Texas' only chance is The Associated Press Top 25.

McCoy had a message for the pollsters: "I don't think there's anybody in the country who can beat us at this point."

The Buckeyes (10-3) nearly did.

They flirted with the upset behind quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman but instead went down to a third straight BCS bowl loss -- a defeat that left the Big Ten 1-6 in this postseason.

Fast Facts

• Quan Cosby's 26-yard touchdown reception with 16 seconds remaining gave Texas its fifth straight bowl victory, tied for the second-longest active streak in the FBS.

• The Longhorns (3-0) are one of five schools undefeated in BCS bowls (minimum two games), joining LSU (4-0), Wisconsin, West Virginia and Utah (all 2-0).

• Ohio State has now lost three straight BCS bowl games, and the loss is the Buckeyes' first in four Fiesta Bowls under Jim Tressel.

• Chris Wells led the Buckeyes with 106 rushing yards, but only 10 came after halftime.

-- ESPN research

It didn't help that Buckeyes tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells, who rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries, missed much of the second half with a concussion.

"That's the problem in tight ballgames like this," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "Two outstanding teams, sometimes you finish it [and] the game ends when you are the one ahead, and sometimes the game ends when you're not."

The Longhorns rebounded after Ohio State had taken a 21-17 lead on a 15-yard run by Dan Herron with 2:05 to go.

That score came five minutes after Boeckman hit Pryor for a 5-yard score to cut Texas' lead to 17-15. Pryor's pass on the 2-point conversion was incomplete.

Boeckman completed five of 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Pryor was 5-for-14 for 66 yards, and also ran for 78 yards on 15 carries.

Brown, who once coached Vince Young to a national title, was impressed by Pryor, a rangy freshman.

"He will be a guy that's in a Heisman race, and it may be sooner than we think because he is a leader," Brown said.

But this night belonged to McCoy, himself a Heisman Trophy runner-up. He completed a school-record 41 of 59 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns, ran for a score and was picked off once.

McCoy may have launched his candidacy for the 2009 award with a memorable march through the din of sold-out University of Phoenix Stadium, which was split between fans wearing burnt orange and others decked out in scarlet and gray.

Down 21-17 with 2:05 to play, McCoy calmly led the Longhorns down the field. He said he never doubted they would score.

"I can't think of a better place to be at that point," McCoy said.

On the touchdown, Cosby caught a short pass, slipped a tackle and sprinted toward the goal line before diving into the end zone.

"He made a play. I gave him a good ball," McCoy said. "I can't explain the feeling that we have right now. To have the faith and confidence in each other that we do, man, that was awesome."

McCoy completed seven of 10 passes for 76 yards on the final march and ran for the other 2 yards.

Before the touchdown, the biggest completion came on fourth-and-3 to James Kirkendoll at the Ohio State 40. The Buckeyes demanded a review, but the spot was upheld, setting the stage for the winning touchdown.

"The [official] closest to the ball spotted it one place and the guy from the other side said he had a better vantage point," Tressel said.

For most of the night, the Buckeyes stifled the high-powered Longhorns, who averaged 43.9 points this season but mustered only a field goal in the first half. They didn't lead until a nifty third-quarter touchdown run by McCoy.

The Longhorns finished in a three-way tie atop the rugged Big 12 South and thought their 10-point victory over Oklahoma should have put them in the conference title game. But Oklahoma was declared the division winner on a BCS standings tiebreaker, and the Sooners ripped Missouri in the Big 12 playoff to earn a trip to the national championship.

"This team started this way and finished this way, and they're obviously one of the best teams in the country if not the best," Brown said.

The Longhorns didn't look like it early on. Texas brought Bevo, its steer mascot, but left its offense back in Austin, at least in a sluggish first half.

The Longhorns failed to score in the first quarter. Texas was shut out in only four quarters all season -- and only once in the first quarter, in a 39-33 loss at Texas Tech on Nov. 1.

Ryan Pretorius' 30-yard field goal with 5:39 left in the second quarter sent Ohio State to a 6-3 halftime lead.

Texas' best chance came late in the second, when McCoy smartly marched the Longhorns from their own 9 to the Ohio State 16 in 47 seconds.

But on third-and-2 at the Buckeyes 16 and 9 seconds to go, McCoy threw perhaps his worst pass of the season. McCoy lobbed the ball toward Cosby at the goal line, but safety Anderson Russell picked it off to kill the threat.

Had McCoy thrown the ball into the seats, the Longhorns would have had time for a chip-shot field goal. But they went into the dressing room still down by three.

It didn't take McCoy long to atone for the miscue.

On Texas' first possession of the second half, he scored on a terrific 14-yard run to give the Longhorns their first lead. Taking a shotgun snap, McCoy bolted through the right side of the line, broke to the sideline and then spun past charging cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who came up with nothing.

Seven minutes later, McCoy found Cosby in the back of the end zone to put the Longhorns up 17-6.

"He is strong-willed and he is a guy that's very confident, and he never thinks he is going to lose," Brown said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
OSU
TEX
1st Downs2133
Total Yards379468
Passing176414
Rushing20354
Penalties7-678-83
3rd Down Conversions4-126-17
4th Down Conversions0-03-4
Turnovers01
Possession30:1329:47

Passing Leaders

Ohio StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Boeckman5/121109.210
TexasC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
McCoy41/584147.121

Rushing Leaders

Ohio StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Wells161066.6026
Pryor15785.2026
TexasCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ogbonnaya11423.8012
Whittaker6233.808

Receiving Leaders

Ohio StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Robiskie511623.2048
Wells12121.0021
TexasRECYDSAVGTDLG
Cosby1417112.2226
Shipley10787.8020

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTEROSUTEX
FG07:28Aaron Pettrey 51 Yd 30
SECOND QUARTEROSUTEX
FG11:45Hunter Lawrence 27 Yd 33
FG05:39Ryan Pretorius 30 Yd 63
THIRD QUARTEROSUTEX
TD08:29Colt McCoy 14 Yd Run (Hunter Lawrence Kick) 610
TD01:04Quan Cosby 7 Yd Pass From Colt McCoy (Hunter Lawrence Kick) 617
FOURTH QUARTEROSUTEX
FG13:22Aaron Pettrey 44 Yd 917
TD07:26Terrelle Pryor 5 Yd Pass From Todd Boeckman (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 1517
TD02:05Daniel Herron 15 Yd Run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 2117
TD00:16Quan Cosby 26 Yd Pass From Colt McCoy (Hunter Lawrence Kick) 2124