By Brett Beaird
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy returned to Texas for his senior season with one goal: to win the BCS National Championship.
Prior to the 2009 BCS Championship game with Alabama, McCoy became the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. McCoy, who led the Longhorns to 45 victories, finished in the top three in the Heisman Trophy voting the last two seasons and set nearly every passing record in Texas history. On Jan. 7, 2010, McCoy faced Alabama in the Rose Bowl with a chance to achieve his final dream.
However, the night did not go according to plan. On the fifth offensive play of the game for the Longhorns, McCoy kept the ball on an option and Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus hit McCoy in the shoulder for no gain. McCoy jumped up and appeared at first glance to be uninjured. But he went to the sideline at the insistence of the training staff for a medical evaluation. Unfortunately for Texas fans, he never returned.
Alabama did not play well early in the game. Before McCoy suffered the injury, the Longhorns seemed to have Alabama befuddled. Uncharacteristically, the Crimson Tide botched a fake punt, which led to a Texas field goal. Then the Tide failed to recover a kickoff which led to another Longhorn field goal shortly after McCoy was hurt. However, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Nick Saban countered with a scheme that confused inexperienced backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert.
McCoy told AL.com after the game he had a pinched nerve in his right shoulder. He said his arm felt like a "noodle" and had no strength.
"I could throw the ball hard," McCoy said. "I just didn't know where it was going."
The Texas training staff officially declared McCoy out with Texas trailing Alabama 24-6 early in the third quarter.
Gilbert regained his composure and led the No. 2 Longhorns on touchdown drives of 59 and 65 yards, throwing touchdown passes on both drives to All-American Jordan Shipley. The Texas rally cut the Tide’s lead to 24-21 with 6:15 left. Texas got the ball back on its 7-yard line with three minutes remaining. But instead of a storybook ending, Alabama reserve linebacker Eryk Anders blindsided Gilbert, stripped the ball and Courtney Upshaw recovered. Three plays later, Ingram bulled in from the 1-yard line.
Trent Richardson scored a late touchdown to make the final 37-21 as the Tide won its first national championship since 1992.