Coach Stoops

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Colt McCoy probably doesn't realize how quickly things have changed in the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry.
 
Not long ago, the No. 7 Longhorns were the ones getting outhustled, outcoached and flat-out beat.
 
Now, it's the No. 14 Sooners who are finding ways to lose -- like having their best player give up on a loose ball near his end zone with the game still on the line in the fourth quarter.
  
Adrian Peterson thought the ball bouncing off his hands meant an incomplete pass, not a fumbled lateral. Texas cornerback Aaron Ross wasn't sure, but scooped it up and scored just in case, and wound up with the touchdown that sealed a 28-10 victory Saturday in the 101st edition of the Red River rivalry.
 
"I'm just sitting there like, 'What the, you know, is going on?"' Peterson said after the game, still puzzled by what happened.
 
Such confusion was typical for the Longhorns (5-1, 2-0 Big 12) from 2000-04 in their annual meeting with the Sooners. Between blowout losses and tight finishes, Oklahoma (3-2, 0-1) always made all the right moves.
 
Vince Young turned things around for Texas last year. McCoy kept it going this year.
 
A redshirt freshman who watched Young from the sideline last year, McCoy overcame a slow start by throwing two perfect touchdown passes in the third quarter to turn a 10-7 halftime deficit into a 21-10 lead. Ross did the rest, following his head's up play with a pair of interceptions that ended the Sooners' final two drives.
 
McCoy's numbers were mediocre -- 11-of-18 for 108 yards, plus 11 more rushing -- but his poise was off the charts. He overcame an awful second quarter and never turned the ball over.
 
"When we've come out of this game with a huge deficit, it's usually been because of turnovers," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "Today, they lost five and we lost none. And that's why the game got to where it is."
 
During the five-game losing streak to Oklahoma, Brown was labeled as being outsmarted by Sooners coach Bob Stoops. He didn't even get all the credit last year's victory because Young soaked it all up.
 
This time, Brown made his mark by making sure the Longhorns didn't let one rough patch overwhelm them.
 
Texas let an early 7-0 lead slip away by giving up a touchdown and a field goal on Oklahoma's final two drives of the first half. The worst part was that the offense gained only 1 yard the entire second quarter, wasting great field position.
 
Brown thought offensive coordinator Greg Davis was being too conservative with McCoy, so he told him at halftime to let the kid loose. McCoy responded with his longest play yet on his first snap of the third quarter and built from there.
 
He lobbed a blitz-beating 33-yard touchdown to Limas Sweed two plays later, putting Texas ahead. He took the Longhorns 79 yards on the next series, running three times for 23 yards and capping it with a 7-yard pass to Jordan Shipley near the back of the end zone.
 
"He managed the game for them in a really good way," Stoops said.
 
This could prove to be a landmark victory for McCoy, who had the unenviable task of facing No. 1 Ohio State in his second career start. With a few games more experience, he proved he could handle the pressure of a big game, even one that got off to a rocky start.
 
"Colt has grown so much since Ohio State," said teammate Selvin Young, who ran for 60 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
 
Texas has now won 17 straight conference games. This one puts the Longhorns in the lead for the Big 12 South and a spot in the conference title game, which could then yield a BCS berth. If things break their way elsewhere in the country, they could wind up with a chance to defend their national title.
 
Oklahoma was hoping this game would get them back in the race. While the Sooners were able to overcome some early mistakes, their biggest weakness -- defense -- ultimately was exploited.
 
Peterson ran 25 times for 109 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown, but Texas was able to focus on him because none of Oklahoma's other play-makers made the Longhorns pay for it.
 
The Sooners hurt themselves early: An unnecessary roughness penalty that took 15 yards off what would've been a 73-yard kickoff return by Peterson, Peterson's fumble on the final play of the first quarter and an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a 29-yard gain.
 
Still within reach at 21-10, Oklahoma reached the Texas 15 on a pass to Juaquin Iglesias, but he fumbled. Then came the lateral, which left Stoops as angry as he'd been since the referee fiasco at Oregon three weeks earlier, when a series of close calls led to a 34-33 loss.
 
He remained angry even after getting the ruling: The ball was "thrown at the 12 and landed at the 12. By rule, that's a backwards pass."
 
"They didn't say anything about where it hit his hands," Stoops said. "That's the part I don't understand."
 
Ross' first interception with more than seven minutes began an exodus of Oklahoma fans. The rest began heading out when Paul Thompson -- who was 15-of-27 for 209 yards -- was picked off by Ross again, drawing chants of "Poor Sooners" from the Longhorns fans.
 
At the final gun, McCoy turned to the crowd and pumped his arm in victory. Last year, Young ran to the seats and gave high-fives and hugs on his way around the seats; McCoy was content blending in with his teammates singing "The Eyes of Texas" in a group in the end zone.
 
"It's great for our fans, it's great for this team, but it's not me," he said. "I didn't come out here and win this game. This is because of my teammates."