ARLINGTON, Texas - Colt McCoy and No. 3 Texas are headed for the BCS championship game.
Hunter Lawrence nailed a 46-yard field goal as time expired, giving a roughed-up McCoy and the Longhorns a 13-12 victory over No. 21 Nebraska in the Big 12 championship on Saturday night.
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"We had so many things not go our way tonight but we found a way," McCoy said.
McCoy returned for his senior season in hopes of matching predecessor Vince Young's feat of leading Texas to a national championship. Now he'll get that shot Jan. 7 in Pasadena, Calif., against No. 2 Alabama, the SEC champion.
McCoy was hit, hurried and hassled by waves of Cornhuskers, dazing the winningest quarterback in college football history into a guy who made a bunch of freshman mistakes - including the nearly costly flub of letting time run out on his chance of reaching the title game.
Officials put 1 second back on the clock and Lawrence converted to keep the Longhorns undefeated. Texas players flung helmets and rushed the field to celebrate this agonizingly close conference championship. The Cornhuskers slunked off, unable to believe they weren't going away with the upset.
"We're excited about being Big 12 champs and we'll see you in Pasadena," Texas coach Mack Brown said in a raspy voice at the end of a confetti-filled celebration at midfield.
McCoy was sacked nine times, 4 1/2 by Ndamukong Suh, but he drove the Longhorns (13-0) from their 40 after a kickoff out of bounds to the Nebraska 26. Losses on the next two snaps left only a few ticks left and Texas seeking a few more yards. McCoy ended up scrambling and throwing the ball out of bounds and time ran out.
While Nebraska players swarmed the field, officials huddled and went to a video replay that determined there was still one tick left. The Cornhuskers called their final timeout to make Lawrence think about it a little more. With McCoy on one knee and looking down, a hand covering his eyes, the pro-Texas crowd of 76,211 let him know the kick was good the second it left Lawrence's foot.
"He's clutch," McCoy said. "He works for those situations."
Once the celebratory scrum ended, Lawrence was carried off on the shoulders of his teammates. That just as easily could've been Nebraska's Alex Henery enjoying the star treatment as his 42-yard field goal with 1:44 had put the Cornhuskers ahead. He accounted for all of their points, also making kicks of 45, 52 and 28.
Nebraska's offense was downright terrible, with just three first downs through three quarters, yet the Cornhuskers were always within a play of the lead because McCoy was unable to get anything going against Suh and crew.
McCoy was 20 of 36 for 184 yards with three interceptions; he had only two over the previous six games.
"Nebraska's defense is great," McCoy said. "They're one of the best we've played."
Nebraska's Zac Lee was 6 of 19 - with three more passes completed to Longhorns - for 39 yards. The Cornhuskers had only 106 total yards.