Texas more impressive than most in college football weekend

After some substandard performances, quarterback Colt McCoy (12) and Texas came up big in a 41-7 thrashing of Missouri.
After some substandard performances, quarterback Colt McCoy (12) and Texas came up big in a 41-7 thrashing of Missouri. (Jamie Squire/getty Images)
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By Steve Yanda
Monday, October 26, 2009

On a night when it appeared for a time that the pool of undefeated teams was going to shrink dramatically, No. 3 Texas -- the national title contender most observers were down on entering the weekend -- improved its stock the most. The Longhorns bludgeoned Missouri, 41-7, on Saturday night and reaffirmed they are indeed worthy of their lofty ranking.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, whose status as a Heisman Trophy contender was in question based on his performance in recent weeks, completed his first 11 passes en route to throwing for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

"Colt has had a very tough year," Texas Coach Mack Brown told reporters of McCoy, who has thrown as many interceptions (eight) this year as he did all of last season. "He's been sick, he's been hurt, but he's tough. We've got the Colt of old back now and ready to make the stretch run."

If McCoy's performance Saturday night is indicative of a change in fortunes, that should bode well long-term for a Longhorns squad that was ranked a distant third last week when the first Bowl Championship Series rankings were announced. However, despite Texas's demonstrative win and sub-par showings by the two teams ahead of the Longhorns -- Florida and Alabama -- the Longhorns' deficit behind the top two remained essentially the same in the new rankings.

Alabama needed two blocked field goals from defensive tackle Terrence Cody and a missed field goal by Tennessee place kicker Daniel Lincoln to prevail over the Volunteers by two points. Florida was unable to pull away from Mississippi State until midway through the fourth quarter.

"I did not coach well tonight," Florida Coach Urban Meyer told reporters on Saturday. "I put [quarterback] Tim [Tebow] in some tough situations. As an offense, we're not well right now."

With a healthy quarterback under center, Texas's offense is feeling well for perhaps the first time all season. McCoy had been dealing with illness, as well as a bruised thumb on his right (throwing) hand, in recent weeks, but he appeared to be doing fine against the Tigers. He completed 26 of 31 passes.

The Longhorns play at No. 13 Oklahoma State this week, but their schedule softens considerably the rest of the way. Considering that Florida and Alabama must survive their remaining Southeastern Conference opponents and then face each other in the conference title game, Texas seems well positioned for a run to the BCS championship game.

No. 7 Iowa's chances of sneaking into the national title game might be slim, but the unbeaten Hawkeyes at least kept the possibility alive with a last-second win at Michigan State on Saturday night. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi connected with wide receiver Marvin McNutt on a seven-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

The Hawkeyes are 8-0 for the first time in program history and remain in position to claim their first outright Big Ten championship since 1985.

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