AUSTIN, Texas —Colt McCoy and Quan Cosby spent several late nights together in the Texas training room this week trying to heal their aching bodies.
Together on the field Saturday, they helped the No. 5 Longhorns get over the red-and-black blues—that last-second loss at Texas Tech that knocked them out of the No. 1 spots in the AP poll, BCS standings and Big 12 South.
“I don’t ever want to feel like I did last week again,” Cosby said. “Not only getting hurt, but losing. It was important to come out and play like we today.”
McCoy passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns, two to Cosby, as Texas rebounded with a 45-21 victory over Baylor.
“You want to get the bad taste out of your mouth,” coach Mack Brown said. “More than anything I felt that Monday, and I know the kids did too.”
The Longhorns (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) still need plenty to happen to get into the Big 12 championship game and stay in the Bowl Championship Series hunt. But they got some needed relief after four straight games against top-11 teams.
While Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all face each other this month, the Longhorns have already played them all—beating the Sooners and the Cowboys.
Texas scored on its first two drives before Baylor (3-7, 1-5) tied it by scoring twice in 4 minutes. The Longhorns went ahead to stay when Ryan Palmer picked off a deflected pass, pulling it off his shoulder pads, then spinning and running to the end zone.
“Pretty much the momentum changed to us and never turned back,” said Brown, who is 11-0 against the Bears.
Baylor then went three-and-out and the Longhorns took a 28-14 halftime lead on McCoy’s 26-yard TD to Cosby, who caught the ball near the 10, split two defenders and stretched into the end zone.
Cosby only played the opening series in the 39-33 loss at Texas Tech after hurting his back. McCoy was bleeding from his mouth after a piece of skin connected to his gum got ripped in the third quarter of that game, among the many hits he’s taken this season that have taken a toll on his body and require extra treatment.
Against Baylor, Cosby had eight catches for 111 yards and two TDs, the first a 35-yarder on the game’s opening drive.
And McCoy likely refueled his Heisman Trophy bid by completing 26 of 37 passes for his fourth 300-yard game this season, and eighth of his career, even without playing the final 12 minutes. The touchdowns went to four different receivers, though he did have two interceptions.
“Colt played great,” Brown said. “I’m impressed with Quan. He didn’t practice near as much this week as you would have thought for him to play that well.”
While McCoy and Cosby were feeling better, Brown sustained a cut on his lower left ear after a sideline collision with a Baylor defender.
“I am probable for next week,” the coach said with a smile.
Robert Griffin had a 1-yard keeper and threw a 55-yard TD pass to tie the game in the second quarter. But Baylor’s freshman quarterback, whose interception on his final attempt last week in a 31-28 home loss to No. 13 Missouri ended his FBS record of 209 attempts without an interception to start a career, threw a high pass that deflected off Kendall Wright’s hands.
Once Palmer was able to control the ball with his back to the end zone, he made a spun-and-run move for a 21-14 lead. Palmer also sacked Griffin for a 6-yard loss with 22 seconds left in the first half after Baylor went for it on fourth-and-11 from the Texas 34.
“Last week was tough. We needed to get back on our feet and rebound,” Palmer said.
Despite the energy provided by Griffin and first-year coach Art Briles, Baylor is guaranteed its 13th consecutive losing season.
“I don’t like to use the word failure, but we didn’t step up to the plate,” Griffin said. “We didn’t help them (seniors) out, and they’ve been wanting to go to a bowl game for a long time. … It hurts.”
The Bears have lost 17 straight games against ranked teams over the past five seasons, by an average margin of four touchdowns.
Baylor had tied the game with a pair of five-play scoring drives, one covering only 6 yards and the other 96.
Undeterred and untouched while blitzing, safety Jake LaMar had a crushing hit on McCoy as he let go of the pass. Krys Buerck picked it off and returned it 46 yards to the 6. A pass interference penalty put Baylor at the 2, and Griffin scored on a 1-yard run.
Griffin’s 55-yard TD pass to Wright came after a 34-yard gain by Wright on a lateral and Griffin’s 17-yard keeper.
On the opening drive of the game, McCoy rolled out of the pocket and motioned to Cosby, who got behind two defenders. Cosby then had three catches for 35 yards on the next drive before McCoy bootlegged right on second-and-goal from the 1 and hit wide-open tight end Greg Smith.
“There are a lot of positives we can take away from this, because it’s a win,” McCoy said. “That got us back on track.”