Colt McCoy's legend grows with each passing day and with each passing play. He accounted for two rushing TDs and two passing TDs, breaking Vince Young's record for the most TDs in school history at 82. McCoy also set a new program record with 17 straight completions in a single game. He increased his school record for career completions to 653 and was just nine yards shy of breaking his career-best for passing yards in a single-game.
"I guess I have to stop getting three batted balls," McCoy grinned, before adding, "It all starts with the offensive line. When they play like that, we can complete a high percentage."
Texas is now a perfect 11-0 under coach Mack Brown in games following the emotionally-draining Red River Rivalry. The Horns have also opened the season at 7-0 for just the second time on Brown's watch; the last time it happened, Texas ran the table en route to the 2005 national title. In fact, neatly-attired Orange Bowl officials (representing the host site of this year's BCS National Championship game) were in the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium press box Saturday. So were Fiesta Bowl officials, scouting a couple of teams that could very well meet for the Big 12 Conference title in Kansas City.
For now, Texas has defeated -- in consecutive weeks -- the two programs projected to win their respected divisions of the Big 12 conference.
Texas coaches kept the chip on their players' shoulder pads throughout week by telling them, "Everybody questions if you can do it two weeks in a row", Brown mentioned. For his part, McCoy has refused to read newspapers, surf the Internet, watch TV or familiarize himself with those who have anointed him as the Heisman front-runner. He does not intend, until the end of the season, to flip through this current issue of Sports Illustrated that features him on the cover.
There was no Sports Illustrated jinx this week, as Texas successfully defended a No. 1 ranking at home for the first time in 31 years. If anything, the cover boy and his Burnt Orange crew battled second-half complacency after a thoroughly dominating first-half resulted in a 32-point lead. The good news, from a burnt orange perspective, is that Texas keeps getting better and is far from satisfied.
Despite the 25-point thumping, this was not Texas' most complete game of the season. Brown said it was "as good of a first half as I've ever been involved with", but the fact that the Horns rested on their laurels after intermission did not sit well with at least one prominent member of the defense.
"I don't look forward to going to the film room tomorrow," DT Roy Miller said. "I'm not happy. We've got to live up to our own standards because it's not about anybody else but us. We can't play like that. We're held to that standard every day in practice."
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp dialed-up a few more zone blitzes against the nation's No. 3 passing attack but, generally, was able to get pressure with a four-man front. He even got good pressure with three down linemen, flipping his DTs and DEs, at times. Muschamp used more nickel Saturday than at any time all season. Overall, the unit held Missouri's patented jailbreak screens to a reasonable amount of damage during the first 30 minutes of play when Texas got all the separation it needed.
"We went from odd to even with four down (linemen) and three down from down-to-down," Muschamp said. "We were able to get a productive rush with three guys. We've had a consistent rush with three and four guys all year."
DE Brian Orakpo and company effectively moved and collapsed the pocket throughout the first half (and intermittently after intermission) to keep QB Chase Daniel off-rhythm. The Texas native was 31-of-41 for 318 yards, with two TDs and two INTs. The Tigers managed just 53 rushing yards on 19 attempts.
"We wanted to finish better," Orakpo said, "but a W is a W. We started strong and forced Missouri to play catch-up. We buried the Oklahoma game and went right back to work. Coach Muschamp says we're a blue collar team and nobody takes things for granted."
RB Chris Ogbonnaya continues to stake his claim as Texas' featured back, rumbling for 65 yards on 13 totes. Vondrell McGee enjoyed one of his most productive nights as a Longhorn, averaging 9.7 ypc (58 yards on six attempts). RS-freshman Foswhitt Whittaker has been sidelined all but one game with knee (ligament) injuries, but added 20 yards on two carries late in the fourth quarter. All told, Texas ran for 225 yards against a decent rush defense spread thin by McCoy's pinpoint passing.
It was also the best night of the season for Texas' backup WRs, collectively. Brandon Collins set career bests for receptions (six) and yards (76). Freshman Dan Buckner's 51-yard TD reception from John Chiles was also a career best. Malcolm Williams' 32-yard TD reception was the first of his career.
"A lot of the young guys stepped up and made plays," said WR Jordan Shipley. "If we can continue to get that, we're going to be tough to stop."
Roy Miller set the tone early, blowing up a Missouri reverse by throwing WR Jeremy Maclin for a seven-yard loss on the first snap from scrimmage. It led to just the third three-and-out of the season for the Tigers.
Texas' opening series began on its own six following a knuckle ball of a 51-yard punt that bounded over Quan Cosby's head. The result was a precision 12-play march with McCoy deftly throwing quick-hitters, beginning with a an 11-yard shovel pass to Ogbonnaya to get Texas out of the shadow of its end zone. TE Greg Smith was Johnny-on-the-spot, recovering an Ogbannaya fumble at the end of an eight-yard yard reception. Credit McGee with the drive's biggest play: his 21-yard counter set up shop on the Tiger six. From there, McCoy hit pay dirt with his keeper staking a 7-0 lead at the 8:03 mark of the opening frame.
SLB Sergio Kindle dropped Daniel for a two-yard loss on third-down to force a second MU punt in as many possessions. McCoy beat the blitz when he found Collins on the hot route; the 38-yard gain reached the Tiger 40. McCoy has a tremendous knack for feeling the pressure and stepping away from it, finding Cosby for 13 yards to move the chains on 3rd-and-seven from the MU 22. Operating from 1st-and-goal from the nine, Ogbonnaya continued to showcase his surge as Texas' featured back. The fifth-year senior bounced off three would-be tacklers for his second rushing TD of the season to cap a nine-play drive.
The verdict at the end of the first quarter: two punts for Mizzou; two TDs for Texas. Here's when you knew Texas could name the score -- on 3rd-and-12, McCoy found a streaking Malcolm Williams down the middle. Williams just wanted it more than FS William Moore; the RS-freshman went airborne to snag the first TD grab of his career. It put the exclamation mark on a six-play, 43-yard drive.
Next possession, Ogbonnaya stepped through a Tiger blitz and gashed the middle for 26 yards to set up first-and-goal from the 10. The Big O was rewarded for his effort, pushing the pile and carrying tacklers into the end zone, accounting for 36 of the 41-yard, three-play drive. The runaway train rumbled on: Texas 28, Missouri 0.
Mizzou's first sustained drive, covering 72 yards, reached the Texas eight. But on 4th-and-five, an official review overruled WR Damario Alexander's apparent TD reception in tight coverage from RCB Deon Beasley. The Horns took over on downs.
Was there any doubt, given the way this night was going, that the Horns would drive 92 yards to cash another one in before halftime? The ball continued to bounce Texas' way: McCoy collected his own fumble before hitting Cosby in stride for 23 yards to the Tiger 36.
"I didn't see the play," Cosby said. "I caught the ball, but I was running the route. It's one of the those things where you don't stop working. Some guys might have dove on the ball, but he picked it up and threw a perfect spiral. That just shows his athletic ability. That's why he's one of the best in the country."
Shipley was due, the fifth-year senior's 13-yard reception against the middle blitz led to his first score of the contest.
Maclin's 50-yard kickoff return to midfield set up MU's 33-yard FG as time expired. It was a 35-3 ballgame at intermission, and the stat sheet reflected the dominance. five possessions; five TDs and 7-of-7 on third-down conversions for the Texas offense. Meanwhile, the defense held Mizzou to four yards rushing (on 10 carries) and just 1-of-6 on third-down attempts.
Texas' first punt of the night was a 55-yarder after its opening drive of the second half went nowhere fast. Daniel found his stride, orchestrating a nine-play, 81-yard march. Derrick Washington carried over from two yards out to narrow the Longhorn lead, 35-10.
The momentum had started to ebb to the Missouri sideline, but McCoy answered with a 77-yard, 10-play march. The Tigers continued to order a steady diet of blitzes, but an over the middle toss to Shipley, a sprint-out to Cosby, a screen to Ogbonnaya and a quick out to Cosby combined to move the sticks to the Mizzou 25. Facing 3rd-and-seven from the 21, McCoy's 16-yard dart to Shipley (add on a half-the-distance face mask penalty) set-up 1st-and-goal from the four. From there, McCoy scampered untouched into the end zone off the zone read to regain the five-TD comfort zone.
The Tigers went with an empty set and, just as quickly, negotiated 66 yards in eight pays. TE Chase Coffman's 13-yard TD reception made it a 42-17 contest. Next Tiger possession, Orakpo led a three-man rush, wrapping up Daniel in the end zone and forcing an ill-advised heave that hit LCB Ryan Palmer in the numbers. The game's first turnover put Texas in prime real estate at the Mizzou 15. It led to a one-yard TD run, out of the jumbo package, from designated driver Cody Johnson. Now, it was a 49-17 runaway.
MLB Jared Norton was assisted from the field (left arm) during Missouri's 60-yard, seven-play response. Backup QB John Chiles capped the scoring for Texas with a career-best 51-yard left sideline pass to freshman WR Dan Buckner.
It sets up yet another Game Of The Year for Texas as it navigates through its Murderers Row non-conference slate Next up: undefeated and No. 8/10 Oklahoma State.
"I pointed out to our team that we're now playing the team that beat Missouri last week," Brown said.
Kickoff is st for 2:30 p.m. (CDT) in Austin.