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"The (official) closest to the ball spotted it one place and the guy from the other side said he had a better vantage point," Tressel said.
For most of the night, the Buckeyes stifled the high-powered Longhorns, who averaged 43.9 points this season but mustered only a field goal in the first half. They didn't lead until a nifty third-quarter touchdown run by McCoy.
The Longhorns finished in a three-way tie atop the rugged Big 12 South and thought their 10-point victory over Oklahoma should have put them in the conference title game. But Oklahoma was declared the division winner on a BCS standings tiebreaker, and the Sooners ripped Missouri in the Big 12 playoff to earn a trip to the national championship.
"This team started this way and finished this way, and they're obviously one of the best teams in the country if not the best," Brown said.
The Longhorns didn't look like it early on. Texas brought Bevo, its steer mascot, but left its offense back in Austin, at least in a sluggish first half.
The Longhorns failed to score in the first quarter. Texas was shut out in only four quarters all season -- and only once in the first quarter, in a 39-33 loss at Texas Tech on Nov. 1.
Ryan Pretorius' 30-yard field goal with 5:39 left in the second quarter sent Ohio State to a 6-3 halftime lead.
Texas' best chance came late in the second, when McCoy smartly marched the Longhorns from their own 9 to the Ohio State 16 in 47 seconds.
But on third-and-2 at the Buckeyes 16 and 9 seconds to go, McCoy threw perhaps his worst pass of the season. McCoy lobbed the ball toward Cosby at the goal line, but safety Anderson Russell picked it off to kill the threat.
Had McCoy thrown the ball into the seats, the Longhorns would have had time for a chip-shot field goal. But they went into the dressing room still down by three.
It didn't take McCoy long to atone for the miscue.
On Texas' first possession of the second half, he scored on a terrific 14-yard run to give the Longhorns their first lead. Taking a shotgun snap, McCoy bolted through the right side of the line, broke to the sideline and then spun past charging cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who came up with nothing.
Seven minutes later, McCoy found Cosby in the back of the end zone to put the Longhorns up 17-6.
"He is strong-willed and he is a guy that's very confident, and he never thinks he is going to lose," Brown said.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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