The Texas Longhorns’ Week 11 overtime win over the West Virginia Mountaineers wasn’t pretty, but we learned a lot about this inconsistent Mack Brown squad nonetheless. Now all of the things we learned aren’t good things, but the potential shown by the Longhorns on both sides of the ball finally gives Texas fans something about which to smile for the first time in a long time.
For starters, the McCoy and Shipley families partied like it was 2009 in the second half of this surprisingly wild Big 12 contest. Case McCoy went from incapable game manager in the first half to Kid Clutch in the second half while Jaxon Shipley did the same. Texas scored just 13 points in the first half after turning the ball over on their first drive, getting a punt blocked on the second drive and converting just one third down. But when the Longhorns came out of the tunnel after intermission, the game changed from a turnover-fest to a shootout.
Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite can’t get enough credit for his offensive play-calling in this game. With all the home-run hitting West Virginia did, it would have been so easy for him to let that trigger finger get the best of him, but he stuck with the running game, even during the two-minute drill to send the game to overtime with Jonathan Gray out of the game due to a calf injury. Needless to say, McCoy responded.
Seriously, Case looked like his older brother, Colt McCoy, although it was against West Virginia’s 102nd-ranked defense. So take that with a grain of salt, but McCoy converted seven straight third downs with passes in the second half to rally Texas into overtime.
Now again, McCoy should have shredded the Mountaineers’ porous pass defense all game, but having gone through all the quarterback controversy he has this year and his entire career, Texas fans have to be pleased because their team came through in the face of adversity for once, which hasn’t been common since the elder McCoy’s days in Austin.
Beginning in Week 12, we’ll find out if this six-game winning streak actually means something for McCoy, Shipley and Brown. The Longhorns play Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor to finish the season and heading into Week 11, all three of those teams were ranked in the top 25. That will change after the Red Raiders’ embarrassing loss to Kansas State, but the Bears and Cowboys are still much more difficult challenges than the Mountaineers were. Heck, Baylor might even be a top-four team when the Week 12 BCS standings come out.
Here’s the bottom line: McCoy and company proved they can come through in the clutch on the road against a team that’s average, at best. The offense answered the call down the stretch and the defense rose to the occasion to ensure overtime and then capped the win with a huge fourth-and-goal stop. Now we’ll see if this Texas team can perform like the Longhorns squads of old against teams they’re not supposed to beat.