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Colt following: Frosh QB plays like a vet as Horns handle Sooners

DALLAS (AP) -- Colt McCoy probably doesn't realize how quickly
things have changed in the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry.

Not long ago, the No. 7 Longhorns were the ones getting
outhustled, outcoached and flat-out beat.

No one's handing out any hardware just yet, but Texas took a, well, Texas-sized step toward a Big 12 title with its 28-10 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. Five of the last six winners of the Red River Rivalry game went on to win the Big 12 South (with UT winning it in '01 despite losing to OU), while four of the last six won the Big 12 Championship. Will the Horns follow through in '06? Stay tunedÂ…

Year
OU/UT winner
Big 12 South winner
Big 12 Champ

2006

Texas

?????

?????

2005

Texas

Texas

Texas

2004

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

2003

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Kansas State

2002

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

2001

Oklahoma

Texas

Colorado

2000

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Now, it's the No. 14 Sooners who are finding ways to lose -- like
having their best player give up on a loose ball near his end zone
with the game still on the line in the fourth quarter.

Adrian Peterson thought the ball bouncing off his hands meant an
incomplete pass, not a fumbled lateral. Texas cornerback Aaron Ross
wasn't sure, but scooped it up and scored just in case, and wound
up with the touchdown that sealed a 28-10 victory Saturday in the
101st edition of the Red River rivalry.

"I'm just sitting there like, `What the, you know, is going
on?" Peterson said after the game, still puzzled by what
happened.

Such confusion was typical for the Longhorns (5-1, 2-0 Big 12)
from 2000-04 in their annual meeting with the Sooners. Between
blowout losses and tight finishes, Oklahoma (3-2, 0-1) always made
all the right moves.

Vince Young turned things around for Texas last year. McCoy kept
it going this year.

A redshirt freshman who watched Young from the sideline last
year, McCoy overcame a slow start by throwing two perfect touchdown
passes in the third quarter to turn a 10-7 halftime deficit into a
21-10 lead. Ross did the rest, following his head's up play with a
pair of interceptions that ended the Sooners' final two drives.

McCoy's numbers were mediocre -- 11-of-18 for 108 yards, plus 11
more rushing -- but his poise was off the charts. He overcame an
awful second quarter and never turned the ball over.

"When we've come out of this game with a huge deficit, it's
usually been because of turnovers," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
"Today, they lost five and we lost none. And that's why the game
got to where it is."

During the five-game losing streak to Oklahoma, Brown was
labeled as being outsmarted by Sooners coach Bob Stoops. He didn't
even get all the credit last year's victory because Young soaked it
all up.

This time, Brown made his mark by making sure the Longhorns
didn't let one rough patch overwhelm them.

Texas let an early 7-0 lead slip away by giving up a touchdown
and a field goal on Oklahoma's final two drives of the first half.
The worst part was that the offense gained only 1 yard the entire
second quarter, wasting great field position.

Brown thought offensive coordinator Greg Davis was being too
conservative with McCoy, so he told him at halftime to let the kid
loose. McCoy responded with his longest play yet on his first snap
of the third quarter and built from there.

He lobbed a blitz-beating 33-yard touchdown to Limas Sweed two
plays later, putting Texas ahead. He took the Longhorns 79 yards on
the next series, running three times for 23 yards and capping it
with a 7-yard pass to Jordan Shipley near the back of the end zone.

"He managed the game for them in a really good way," Stoops
said.

This could prove to be a landmark victory for McCoy, who had the
unenviable task of facing No. 1 Ohio State in his second career
start. With a few games more experience, he proved he could handle
the pressure of a big game, even one that got off to a rocky start.

"Colt has grown so much since Ohio State," said teammate
Selvin Young, who ran for 60 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown
in the first quarter.

Texas has now won 17 straight conference games. This one puts
the Longhorns in the lead for the Big 12 South and a spot in the
conference title game, which could then yield a BCS berth. If
things break their way elsewhere in the country, they could wind up
with a chance to defend their national title.

Oklahoma was hoping this game would get them back in the race.
While the Sooners were able to overcome some early mistakes, their
biggest weakness -- defense -- ultimately was exploited.

Peterson ran 25 times for 109 yards, including a 29-yard
touchdown, but Texas was able to focus on him because none of
Oklahoma's other play-makers made the Longhorns pay for it.

The Sooners hurt themselves early: An unnecessary roughness
penalty that took 15 yards off what would've been a 73-yard kickoff
return by Peterson, Peterson's fumble on the final play of the
first quarter and an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped
out a 29-yard gain.

Still within reach at 21-10, Oklahoma reached the Texas 15 on a
pass to Juaquin Iglesias, but he fumbled. Then came the lateral,
which left Stoops as angry as he'd been since the referee fiasco at
Oregon three weeks earlier, when a series of close calls led to a
34-33 loss.

He remained angry even after getting the ruling: The ball was
"thrown at the 12 and landed at the 12. By rule, that's a
backwards pass."

"They didn't say anything about where it hit his hands,"
Stoops said. "That's the part I don't understand."

Ross' first interception with more than seven minutes began an
exodus of Oklahoma fans. The rest began heading out when Paul
Thompson -- who was 15-of-27 for 209 yards -- was picked off by Ross
again, drawing chants of "Poor Sooners" from the Longhorns fans.

At the final gun, McCoy turned to the crowd and pumped his arm
in victory. Last year, Young ran to the seats and gave high-fives
and hugs on his way around the seats; McCoy was content blending in
with his teammates singing "The Eyes of Texas" in a group in the
end zone.

"It's great for our fans, it's great for this team, but it's
not me," he said. "I didn't come out here and win this game. This
is because of my teammates."