Dec. 30, 2006
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -Texas fans swarmed to the Alamo Bowl expecting an easy victory over Iowa. They ended up sweating out a close one behind another gritty performance by Colt McCoy.
The Longhorns' quarterback threw two touchdown passes to tie a single-season record for freshmen and Texas rallied to beat Iowa 26-24 on Saturday in the Alamo Bowl.
McCoy had been cleared to play just a week earlier after suffering a severely pinched nerve in his neck in each of Texas' last two games - both losses. He also ran 8 yards on fourth down to set up a 2-yard scoring run by Selvin Young early in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game winner.
McCoy, a redshirt freshman, finished 26-for-40 for 308 yards. His 29 touchdown passes this season tied the NCAA freshman record set by Nevada's David Neill in 1998.
"I was just glad to be back," McCoy said. "I had my confidence back."
Texas (10-3), the 2005 national champion, won at least 10 games for the sixth straight season and avoided its first three-game losing streak since 1999.
Drew Tate passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns, both to Andy Brodell, for the Hawkeyes (6-7), who lost six of their last seven games.
The Longhorns were heavy favorites in front of an Alamo Bowl record crowd of 65,875 that was mostly a sea of burnt-orange. Texas fans had an easy 70-mile drive from Austin.
But Iowa stunned them by taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and retaking it at 21-20 with 1:08 left in the third when Brodell scored his second touchdown on a 23-yard reception.
Brodell had six catches for 159 yards.
McCoy, who looked shaky early, gave Texas its first lead - 20-14 - with a 72-yard sideline strike to tailback Jamaal Charles in the third.
After Young's touchdown with just under 11 minutes left, Iowa pulled within 26-24 two when Kyle Schlicher kicked a 38-yard field goal. The Hawkeyes then forced a punt and had the ball near midfield.
The Hawkeyes got tripped up by their own trickery. Texas safety Marcus Griffin tackled Dominique Douglas for a 9-yard loss on a wide-receiver pass and the Hawkeyes were forced to punt three plays later.
Texas won its third straight bowl game and became the first team to win the Alamo Bowl after trailing at halftime.
Longhorns fans so disappointed in not making a third consecutive Bowl Championship Series game, will remember this one for McCoy's game effort.
Knocked down several times by Iowa's blitz-heavy pass rush, McCoy wasn't sharp at the start. He underthrew several receivers and looked tentative to run and risk another injury. The Longhorns didn't have another scholarship quarterback available if he got hurt.
Tate was just the opposite, passing for 184 yards in the first half. He played high school football in Baytown, just outside of Houston, and his final college game was his first back in his home state.
Iowa stunned the "home" crowd by scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions. Albert Young set up the first with a 26-yard run then scored on the next play on the opening drive.
After forcing a Texas punt, the Hawkeyes struck again on one play. Brodell took a short pass, faked out Texas cornerback Aaron Ross, the Thorpe Award winner, and outraced the Longhorns down the sideline for a 63-yard score.
Ross made up for it with an interception in the end zone and Texas drove to its first touchdown when McCoy floated a perfect pass to Limas Sweed for a 20-yard TD just before halftime to make it 14-10.
"That was huge, It turned things around for us," McCoy said of the interception. "Nobody gave up."