The crowd cheered loudly for the first down, but then something different happened, something perhaps most Texas fans haven't seen in McCoy's young career. He jumped to his feet and flapped his arms, waving them toward the crowd, who responded with an even louder burst of jubilation for the Texas quarterback. Teammates slapped him on the helmet, shouting encouragement. It was downright Vince Youngish.
For a redshirt freshman from the small and nondescript town of Tuscola, Texas, this was an uncharacteristic moment. He is normally reserved, not prone for much celebration or exuberance. Heck, he wasn't even named the starter until a few days before the opener. And in his first game against a big-name opponent, Ohio State, he threw a critical interception in the second half, a play many considered the most pivotal play of the ballgame.
But this was different. This was the first Saturday in October. This was the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.
And this was McCoy's first big success as the Texas quarterback.
Granted, he'll remember the touchdown passes he had to Limas Sweed and Jordan Shipley. He'll remember bouncing back from five three-and-out drives in the first half to guide the Longhorns to the victory. But perhaps, most of all, he'll remember a plain-Jane quarterback sneak that kept a scoring drive alive, a drive that ended in a touchdown that gave the Longhorns a lead they would never relinquish.
McCoy certainly had plenty of reason for doubt after a first half that saw him complete just six of 11 passes for 41 yards. After an early touchdown drive that ended with a 15-yard Selvin Young touchdown run, McCoy was pretty much a non-factor for the remainder of the first half, which ended with Oklahoma leading, 10-7.
Offensive adjustments at halftime helped McCoy rebound in the second half, when he tossed both of his scoring passes and seemed like a completely different quarterback. Texas coach Mack Brown uncharacteristically admitted that the Longhorns might have saddled McCoy with second-quarter play calling that was too conservative.
"He sure grew up today," Brown said. "At halftime, I told our offensive staff that I thought we were worried too much about Colt making a mistake in the second quarter. Our play selection in the second half was aggressive, and I'm not only proud of Colt, I also very proud of our coaching staff."
McCoy was effusive after the game in his praise for everyone…except himself.
"This is awesome, and it feels great," McCoy said. "Our defense shut those guys out in the second half. We knew we needed to take some deep shots in the second half, and we were able to make some things happen. They were stopping our run, so we needed to throw it."
Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis admitted to second-quarter conservatism.
"In the second period, we probably called things a little conservatively," Davis said. "We lost some yards on a reverse on one drive, then we had a holding call once on first down. Rather than be silly, we decided the best thing to do was to play it conservatively. Then at halftime, we told them, 'Okay, you have a half under your built. Now let's go out and do our deal.'"