Following his three-interception performance two weeks ago, Case McCoy said Monday that he needed to play better for Texas to get back in the win column.
The senior quarterback made good on these words Thursday, passing for two touchdowns while rushing for another to lead the Longhorns to a 41-16 Thanksgiving victory over Texas Tech.
McCoy completed 10 of his 19 pass attempts for 139 yards, and he avoided throwing an interception for the first time in six games. Both of his touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Mike Davis, who led the Longhorns with four receptions for 112 yards.
“[My] job is to take care of the ball and manage the game, like I’d say I did tonight,” McCoy said. “It’s good in this stadium to bounce back and have a game like that.”
The Longhorns also spurned the Red Raiders’ defense on the ground, racking up 281 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 61 carries. Junior running back Malcolm Brown led the way with 128 rushing yards, while junior running back Joe Bergeron tallied 104 yards and a score on the ground.
The Texas defense was just as impressive, limiting the nation’s topped ranked passing attack to just 5.8 yards per pass attempt and 301 yards through the air. After failing to bring down the quarterback two weeks ago against Oklahoma State, the Longhorns registered a season-high nine sacks on Thursday.
“It comes in bunches,” Jeffcoat said. “You just keep playing, keep going for them, keeping hunting for sacks… We just were getting in the right spots at the right time.”
Jeffcoat led all players with a career-high three sacks, while junior defensive end Cedric Reed pitched in with two. Texas now has 33 sacks in its eight wins this season, compared to zero in its three losses.
The victory over the Red Raiders allows the Longhorns to earn at least a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Baylor on Dec. 7. Defeating the Bears, coupled with a loss by Oklahoma State against Oklahoma, would crown Texas as the outright conference champions.
“We’re still in the race, and we had to win this one,” Jeffcoat said. “We have to win the next one.”
Head coach Mack Brown said the Longhorns still need to limit turnovers and improve their coverage on kickoff and punt returns, but he believes the Longhorns turned in a strong overall performance on Thursday
“I’m proud of our team, proud of the way we fought,” Brown said. “A lot of guys are banged up at the end of the year, but at least they’ve given themselves an opportunity to go to Waco and play for a championship.”
The Longhorns may no longer control their own destiny for a BCS Bowl game, but with their win on Thanksgiving, they remain in contention for at least a share of the conference title.