Sun Devils Lose Wild Holiday Bowl To Texas, 52-34
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Now this was a Holiday Bowl to remember.
Texas coach Mack Brown's stepson sure won't forget it, after he reached out to touch a live ball and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that took away a big turnover.
Colt McCoy won't either, because how often does a quarterback fumble four times and lead his team to a win?
McCoy led the way Thursday night as the No. 17 Longhorns beat the mistake-prone and 12th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils 52-34 in the first game between the schools and their successful coaches.
McCoy threw for a touchdown, ran for another and fumbled into the end zone at the end of a 30-yard run, with tight end Jermichael Finley recovering for a score. The Longhorns recovered two other fumbles by McCoy, with ASU getting one. Jamaal Charles carried 27 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns for the Longhorns (10-3).
The 86 points were the fourth-most in the Holiday Bowl's 30-year history. The wackiest play, though, in a bowl that's had plenty of crazy ones over the years, belonged to Texas' Chris Jessie, a member of his stepfather's football operations staff.
With the Longhorns leading 21-0 and the Sun Devils (10-3) driving early in the second quarter, ASU's Rudy Carpenter was sacked by linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and the ball went squirting toward the Longhorns' sideline.
Jessie stepped about a yard onto the field and was motioning toward a player when he reached down and appeared to touch the ball with his left thumb. Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller slapped the ball away from the sideline and defensive end Aaron Lewis recovered and returned it to about the ASU 44.
After review, officials reversed the call, ruling that Jessie touched the ball, which is an unsportsmanlike act. Texas was penalized half the distance to the goal, giving the Sun Devils fourth-and-3 at the 7. Carpenter then threw a touchdown pass to Chris McGaha.
'I saw the ball coming, I thought it was a forward pass,' Jessie said. 'It was just natural instinct.' The gaffe didn't end up costing the Longhorns, other than some embarrassment. 'I didn't touch it, I didn't touch it,' Jessie said. 'The focus shouldn't be on me. That was a great game.'
Brown and ASU's Dennis Erickson have been friends for years, but had never coached against each other. Erickson won two national championships at Miami and Brown coached Texas to the national title two years ago.
Texas cornerback Brandon Foster had a monster game, with two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a tipped pass that was picked off by teammate Marcus Griffin. McCoy was 21-of-31 passing for 174 yards, and carried 16 times for 84 yards.
The Longhorns raced to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, including the fastest score in Holiday Bowl history. McCoy threw a 2-yard TD pass to Derek Lokey just 1:21 in. John Chiles scored on a 4-yard run, and Charles had a 15-yard scoring run.
After ASU's score following the bizarre play, McCoy added a 9-yard TD run.
It looked like he was going to score again in the third quarter when he went zigzagging through ASU's defense. But he fumbled as he was tackled at the 3 and the ball rolled into the end zone. Finley was the third player into the pile and ended up with the ball and the TD.
Carpenter went 18-of-32 for 187 yards. He was sacked four times.