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September 2, 2006

McCoy passes first test with Longhorns

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AUSTIN, Texas - Colt McCoy and No. 3 Texas passed their first test without Vince Young. It only gets harder from here.

In his first start at quarterback for the defending national champions, McCoy hit Limas Sweed for a 60-yard touchdown on his second pass and Texas cruised to a 56-7 victory over North Texas on Saturday.

McCoy, a redshirt freshman who won the preseason battle with freshman Jevan Snead to start, finished 12-of-19 for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a tuneup for next weekend's showdown with top-ranked Ohio State.

Sweed finished with five catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

McCoy's numbers would have been even better if not for a few dropped passes. While seldom pressured, he looked comfortable checking through his receivers and even showed some of Young's pizazz with his feet, scrambling 27 yards to set up a second-quarter touchdown.

Texas has won 21 straight games, including a 25-22 win over the Buckeyes in Columbus last season that helped propel the Longhorns to their first undisputed national title in 36 years.

The Longhorns returned 16 starters from that team but coach Mack Brown didn't have a scholarship quarterback with any game experience.

McCoy was named the starter Monday. He quickly calmed any nerves on his first drive in front of a Royal-Memorial Stadium record crowd of 85,123 still celebrating the national title and watching his every move.

While his first pass - a completion - was a bit underthrown, his second was nearly perfect as he found Sweed streaking deep in the secondary.

The big receiver stepped around a defender in the middle of the field and bobbled the ball, but hauled it in and outran four tacklers for 7-0 lead just a minute into the season.

Texas' second drive was hampered by two penalties and ended with a punt. It was McCoy's only drive of the half that didn't end with a touchdown. He capped the next drive with his first touchdown, a 1-yard sneak behind center Lyle Sendlein.

McCoy led the Longhorns' two-minute offense at the end of the half, driving 63 yards in 10 plays. His long run up the middle of the field set up a 5-yard shuffle pass TD to Selvin Young with 16 seconds left.

Defensively, the Longhorns had three sacks in the first half and Brian Robison blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt. It was the sixth career block for Robison, who tied safety Michael Griffin for the Texas record.

North Texas opened the second half with an 80-yard drive for Brandon Jackson's 12-yard touchdown catch before McCoy and Sweed connected again for another TD.

The Texas drive appeared stalled at midfield when Brown called a fake punt. Rashad Babino took a short snap and ran 4 yards for a first down. McCoy then found Sweed on a curl route and the receiver shook one defender, then stiff-armed another on his way to the end zone.

For more coverage of the Texas Longhorns, check out Orangebloods.com.

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