(Saturday, December 5th)
Final Score: (3) Texas 13, (21) Nebraska 12
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Hunter Lawrence kicked a 46-yard field goal on the final play and third-ranked Texas escaped with a 13-12 win over No. 21 Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game, lifting the Longhorns into the BCS national title contest.
No. 2 Alabama beat top-ranked Florida, 32-13, in the SEC Championship contest earlier Saturday, setting up a probable Longhorns-Crimson Tide battle in Pasadena on January 7. The final Bowl Championship Series standings will be revealed Sunday night.
Texas' victory came with some controversy as officials called for a replay, leading to a second being put back on the clock prior to the game-winning kick. It was a reversal role from last year when the Longhorns lost with a second left to Texas Tech, which ultimately kept them out of the Big 12 title game.
Alex Henery kicked four field goals, including a 42-yarder with 1:44 left, giving Nebraska a 12-10 edge.
Colt McCoy then completed a 19-yard pass to Jordan Shipley, and Nebraska's Larry Asante was called for a horse collar tackle, moving the ball an additional 15 yards to the Cornhusker 26. McCoy was then sacked for a two-yard loss and scrambled for a loss of one. On third down, with the clock ticking down and instead of Texas calling a timeout, McCoy rolled right and threw the ball out of bounds.
"I knew there was a second left," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "I was trying to get timeout with the official, and he couldn't hear me, and it was loud. And Colt snapped the ball, and Colt knows what he's doing. He said, 'Coach, I threw it away. I looked at the end zone, we were trying to get five yards and get out of bounds. But I saw the clock was down enough so I threw it out of bounds.' He thought there were two seconds left instead of one. So I never felt there wasn't any chance there's been time left on the clock. He's been around too long to do that."
Zeroes were showing on the clock, but officials used replay to determine there was a second left, giving the Longhorns (13-0) a reprieve.
"When I saw everybody rushing the field I thought, there's no way," said McCoy. "We've got one or two seconds left. It was close, but at same time I was just trying to get Hunter back in the middle."
After a Nebraska (9-4) timeout, Lawrence sneaked in his kick just inside the left post.
"We went out there and knew I had to make it, because their defense was playing so well, and our offense did amazing the last minute to get us a chance," said Lawrence. "And I just had to make it for them."
With TCU and Cincinnati just trailing Texas in the BCS standings, it became imperative that Lawrence make his kick, which the senior did to give the Longhorns their first Big 12 title since 2005.
McCoy connected on 20-of-36 passes for 184 yards, but was picked off three times. Shipley had seven grabs for 71 yards.
Zac Lee had a troublesome game for the Cornhuskers, as he connected on 6-of-19 throws for 39 yards with three interceptions. Nebraska had just five first downs to 17 for Texas, which also won the overall yardage battle, 202-106. The Cornhuskers, though, sacked McCoy nine times. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh had 4 1/2 sacks.
"We couldn't get any movement up front," said Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. "They limited our running game. They're a good defense, formidable group, very talented, well coached. Our formula was to hang in there and have a chance to win it. We had a chance to win it at the end, and we didn't get it done. We had to play to the strengths of our football team. We did that. We made enough plays, we just were a point short."
And a second too, with a replay that will be talked about for the next month until the national championship game.
"As far as I'm concerned, I thought the time was over, but obviously it wasn't," said Suh. "So they had an opportunity to kick a field goal, and from that point on our job on defensive linemen was to block that field goal. Obviously we didn't do that, so they ended up winning the game."
Eric Hagg picked off McCoy just 36 seconds into the game, giving the Cornhuskers the ball at the Texas 41. Henery booted a 45-yard field goal a short time later.
Blake Gideon intercepted Lee later in the quarter, but McCoy gave the ball back as he was picked off by Prince Amukamara. That led to a Henery 52-yard field goal.
Lee was intercepted on the second play of the second quarter, but McCoy was sacked on a third down play, moving the ball back to the Texas 35, and the Longhorns were forced to punt.
The field position chess game continued later in the second thanks to more punts, but the Longhorns finally cracked the end zone on a McCoy two-yard plunge up the middle. A big pass interference penalty on third down helped the Longhorns gain a 1st-and-goal at the four, and two plays later McCoy was in the end zone for a 7-6 edge with 2:19 left in the half.
Roddrick Muckelroy's interception of Lee nearly 4 1/2 minutes into the third didn't net any points for the Longhorns, despite them starting a drive at the Nebraska 32. Matt O'Hanlon sacked McCoy and the Texas QB dropped back in punt formation and had the Cornhuskers pinned at their own 1.
Hunter Lawrence's 39-yard field goal with under two minutes left in the third extended Texas' lead to 10-6.
A 43-yard punt return by Niles Paul had Nebraska at the Texas 10 early in the fourth, but the Longhorns' defense stiffened, forcing Henery to kick a 28-yard field goal.
McCoy later moved Texas to the Nebraska 34, but he was picked off by Dejon Gomes, who ripped the ball away from Texas receiver Dan Buckner. That led to Henery's go-ahead 42-yard kick.
The Longhorns are 3-2 in Big 12 Championship games, having also won a title in 1996. Texas and Nebraska have faced off three times in the Big 12 Championship game. The Horns won the 1996 matchup, 37-27, while the Huskers defeated UT, 22-6, in 1999....This was the fifth straight win for Texas over Nebraska. The Longhorns lead the series, 8-1, since Big 12 play began in 1996.
12/06 01:58:53 ET