As McGee smiled and talked about the heart shown by his teammates, McCoy pushed his way through media members to get to McGee and shook hands with the victor.
"Congratulations, Stephen," said McCoy, calmly.
McCoy nodded slowly, his thoughts distant. McGee turned back to the doting press and McCoy walked away slowly, then stopped and turned back one last time and just stood there, staring.
It's where he should have been, being interviewed on television and celebrating a win over the hated rival. Yet, that's an honor that went the his friend Stephen and the Aggies of Texas A&M, who beat Texas 38-30 on a cold day at Kyle Field.
The Texas pass defense, already ranked towards the bottom of the country heading into the game, gave up 362 yards through the air to the run-heavy Aggies in a game where Texas was beaten physically from the start. The Longhorns once again started slow, but Texas head coach Mack Brown said emotion was not a problem and that it was evidenced by the near comeback at the game's conclusion.
"If you're not emotional, you don't come back. Flat's flat. We weren't flat," said Brown. "We're not worried about emotion. We're worried about missed tackles, missed assignments, missed protections."
The game was certainly full of each. Aggie swing passes turned into big gains, a simple toss turned into a big run, a sure sack turned into a 30-yard scramble. Co-defensive coordinator Duane Akina, who's defense gave up 533 yards to A&M, said that a major reason behind the constant breakdowns was missed assignments.
"When you're playing against option football, assignments are important and we missed our assignments," said Akina, "and when you've got a quarterback like McGee, with his scrambling ability, it makes assignments that much more important."
The game began much like each of the Horns' dramatic comebacks this season, with a lackluster beginning, but unlike each of those comebacks, Texas' opponent controlled the clock from start to finish. The Aggies' time of possession was a dominating 40:06, compared with Texas' 19:54.
"We were never consistent," said offensive coordinator Greg Davis. "We couldn't stay on the field and that was because we couldn't get into a rhythm."
All of it added up to a Longhorn loss to the Aggies in Dennis Franchione's final game as the head coach of Texas A&M. After the game, Franchione did not take questions from reporters. Instead, he announced that he was resigning as head coach, effective immediately, stood up, walked out of the building, got in a car and left College Station for good.
Texas A&M's message was clear: "Thanks for the wins over Texas, Fran...now get lost."
It was unexpected, at least to those who don't wear maroon, that Franchione's final game coaching Texas A&M would be a joyous occasion for the Aggies, but that's exactly what it was for the Kyle Field-record 88,253 on hand. It was a game full of the traditional pageantry and noise expected at an Aggie home game, but the loudest sound may have been the "thud" made by Texas' BCS chances falling. The Horns had more than one possible route to a BCS bowl still out there, but both those doors were closed with the loss to the Aggies.
Now, Longhorns will go a lesser bowl, as it were, for their efforts, probably along the lines of a Holiday, Cotton or Gator. After the game, Texas defensive tackle Frank Okam said, frankly, all the Horns can do is go back to work.
"It hurts," said Okam. "It hurts bad. We've just got to get ready for our bowl game. That's all we can do."
The game was also painful for Texas because of how close the Longhorns came to pulling of yet another miraculous comeback. The Aggies built a big lead on Texas in the early goings and they did it in a surprising, if you look at A&M's passing statistics on the season, but not surprising, if you look at Texas' pass defense, manner.
The Aggies jumped out to a 10-0 lead, primarily on the arm of McGee as A&M hit big play after big play thanks to missed tackle after missed tackle. The offense wasn't having much luck either as McCoy faced relentless pressure from the Texas A&M front.
The first real momentum shift came with 11:08 left in the second quarter, when McGee's pass sailed over the head of tight end Martellus Bennett and into the arms of Texas cornerback Deon Beasley. But, once again, the Texas offense stalled out at midfield and the Horns were forced to punt.
It was a solid punt from Justin Moore, pinning Texas A&M on its own five, but the Aggies responded by reeling off a 12-play, 95-yard drive culminating with a fake field goal to score the touchdown, putting Texas A&M up 17-0.
The Texas offense finally showed some life on the next drive. Jamaal Charles caught a screen pass from McCoy and ran 62 yards, down to the A&M 18, to set the Longhorns up in prime position. The Horns were unable to put the ball in the endzone, but came away with, finally, their first points in the game.
The game went to half 17-3 and things were not looking good for Texas. The halftime stats were astounding: 16 first downs to six, 209 passing yards to 102, both in the favor of the Aggies, but the statistic that told the story was time of possession. Texas A&M held the ball for 19:19 in the first two quarters, compared to only 10:19 by Texas.
When the Longhorns came out of halftime, they needed to make a statement and attack the Aggies. They'd done little in the first half and they need to go deep and make something happen.
Well, Texas went deep alright...right into the arms of Texas A&M DB Marquis Carpenter at the Aggie seven-yard-line on an under-thrown ball.
Texas A&M took over on its own seven and McGee worked the offense out towards midfield. The Aggies were helped by a personal foul on Texas cornerback Brandon Foster, but Foster more than redeemed himself with 38-yard interception return to the A&M eight-yard-line.
On the next play, Charles plowed into the end zone and it was a one-score game, 17-10.
The Aggies were still in control, but all of a sudden we had a football game on our hands. But after a couple of possession changes, Texas A&M put the football in the endzone again and did it, converse to the first half, with a drive that was comprised entirely of runs to take a 24-10 lead.
Texas desperately needed another breakout play and got it with a kickoff return for a touchdown from Quan Cosby. The junior wide receiver's 91-yard TD return was the first kick-off touchdown given up by A&M since Rodney Blackshear of Texas Tech did it back in 1990.
The game went to the fourth at 24-17 and the Horns had a lot of hope on their side. Clearly, the kick-off return to make it a one-score game would be the spark that lifted Texas to another come-from-behind win.
It was not to be.
A&M started the fourth quarter off with a bang as McGee hit running back Mike Goodson on a wheel route up the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Texas' response? A three-and-out. A&M's response to Texas' three-and-out? A 66-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Taylor Earvin.
It was 38-17 at this point and starting to get ridiculous. Texas would not go away, though, and for the first time all game started putting together legitimate drives.
But it was too little too late. Despite two more Texas touchdowns, one on a 28-yard strike to Shipley and one on a four-yard plunge by Chris Ogbonnaya with 2:45 to go to bring it to an eight-point game (only eight because Ryan Baily, astoundingly, missed an extra point), there wasn't enough time left because the Aggies just kept plugging away on the ground. McGee right, Goodson left, Jorvorski Lane up the middle. Texas A&M churned 171 yards on the ground in the game, yet another statistic the Aggies out-gained the Horns in.
Because Texas just couldn't get a stop, the game ended in the same way things had gone all day, with Texas A&M in complete control of the clock. On the final play, McGee ran around in the backfield to kill time, then went to the ground and that was all she wrote.
"I love the way we fought back, but we didn't enough consistency to win and that's on me," said Brown after the loss.
Against Texas A&M, the Longhorns showed the heart they've had all season, but they also showed the poor tackling, poor blocking and inconsistent performance they've had all season as well. At Kyle Field on Friday, it finally caught up.