LAWRENCE — All Mack Brown wanted to do was relax and enjoy a come-from-behind 21-17 victory over Kansas, one of the most thrilling in his 15 years as head coach at Texas.
If there’s a quarterback controversy involving David Ash and Case McCoy, it could wait.
“I’m excited that we won the game, and I’m excited for Case,” Brown said when asked who would start next week. “We will do all of that when we get home.”
McCoy replaced an ineffective Ash in the fourth quarter and engineered the winning drive in the final 2 minutes for the Longhorns (6-2, 3-2 Big 12). Taking over on the 30 after Kansas’ Nick Prolago hit a 29-yard field goal for a 17-14 lead, McCoy and the Longhorns were unstoppable. He hit Jaxon Shipley for 18 yards on fourth down, then connected with Mike Davis for 39 yards to the 3.
On third-and-goal from the 1 and with Kansas crowding the line of scrimmage, D.J. Grant sneaked into the end zone and cradled McCoy’s softly tossed pass for the winning TD.
“Our team and our coaches decided to dig down deep and decided to fight,” said McCoy. “We came out slow and sluggish, and that is definitely something we cannot do the rest of this year. We are lucky we came out of here with a win.”
On that, he’ll get no argument from the downcast Jayhawks (1-7, 0-5), who were straining to end a 16-game conference losing streak.
“It’s crazy how just a couple of plays can change the game,” said Kansas’ James Sims, who rushed for 176 yards and became the first Jayhawk with four straight 100-yard games since 1991. “We were in it until 12 seconds left and they ended up scoring the touchdown.”
Altogether, McCoy was 5 of 7 for 68 yards. Ash was 8 of 16 for 63 yards and two interceptions.
“Our offensive staff thought (McCoy) was ready to go,” Brown said. “We thought Case was prepared, and he gave us the little momentum that we needed to get it turned in the right direction.”
The Jayhawks are 0-10 against Texas since the Big 12 was formed. First-year coach Charlie Weis may come in for criticism for his management of the game clock during Texas’ final drive. Weis called a timeout with 1:16 left when Texas was driving, but he kept two more in his pocket while the clock continued to run with Texas near the goal line.
“Our best chance right there was to make a goal-line stand,” Weis said. “I was personally hoping they got down to the 6-inch line and instead of kicking a field goal, they go for it and we make a stand and we’re all partying right now. It just didn’t work out the way I planned.”
The Jayhawks rushed for 234 yards altogether against a Texas defense that was ranked 107th in the country against the run. Freshman quarterback Michael Cummings did not attempt a pass in the second and third quarters and was only 3 of 9 for 39 yards.
Tony Pierson scored on an 11-yard run for Kansas, and Christian Matthews added a 15-yarder in the second quarter.
The Longhorns tied it at 14 on an 11-yard run by Marquise Goodwin following his 41-yard run on an end-around in the fourth quarter.
Big 12 Conference
Texas 21, Kansas 17
Texas 7 0 0 14 — 21
Kansas 0 14 0 3 — 17
Tex — Bergeron 3 run (Fera kick), 10:53.
KU — Matthews 15 run (Prolago kick), 12:06.
KU — Pierson 11 run (Prolago kick), 7:16.
Tex — Goodwin 11 run (Fera kick), 9:41.
KU — FG Prolago 29, 2:28.
Tex — Grant 1 pass from McCoy (Fera kick), :12.
A — 40,097.
First downs 16 18
Rushes-yards 35-211 56-234
Passing 131 39
Comp-Att-Int 13-23-2 3-9-0
Return Yards (-3) 14
Punts-Avg. 5-42.6 5-33.2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-1
Penalties-Yards 5-65 1-5
Time of Possession 27:12 32:48
RUSHING — Texas, Gray 18-111, Goodwin 2-52, Bergeron 7-32, Monroe 1-11, Hills 2-11, Da.Johnson 1-2, Team 1-(minus 2), Ash 3-(minus 6). Kansas, Sims 28-176, Pierson 12-51, Cox 6-28, Matthews 3-14, Team 2-(minus 16), Cummings 5-(minus 19).
PASSING — Texas, Ash 8-16-2-63, McCoy 5-7-0-68. Kansas, Cummings 3-9-0-39.
RECEIVING — Texas, Shipley 6-66, M.Davis 4-59, Da.Johnson 1-4, Grant 1-1, Hills 1-1. Kansas, Pick 1-19, Mundine 1-18, Sims 1-2.