Texas’ McCoy injured, doesn’t return

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy hurt his passing shoulder on the
Longhorns’ first drive of the BCS championship game Thursday night,
knocking him out of the biggest — and final — game of
his record-setting college career.

School officials never specified the seriousness of his
injury but declared him out with Texas trailing Alabama 24-6 early
in the third quarter.

Minutes later, McCoy returned to the sideline in full gear
except for his helmet and went straight into an offensive huddle as
the Longhorns were on the sideline, preparing to start a
possession.

McCoy appeared animated as he spoke, walking around the
center of the group. He touched the helmet and shoulder pads of his
replacement, freshman Garrett Gilbert. McCoy then stood alone on
the sideline as the offense took the field. He later put on a
headset.

McCoy was injured on his fifth snap of No. 2 Texas’ game
against No. 1 Alabama. He kept the ball on an option to his left
and was hit square by lineman Marcell Dareus for no gain. McCoy got
up and appeared to be OK, but went to the sideline as Gilbert ran
in and called timeout.

McCoy remained crumpled on the ground throughout the break,
then was helped to the bench and later taken away for X-rays. He
didn’t return to the sideline until after he was ruled out.

“They would be a lot better team because he’s a great
player,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban told ABC at halftime. “So
it’s unfortunate for them.”

McCoy is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, with 45
victories in his 52 starts. He’s been durable, too, never missing a
game with an injury despite weighing only 180 pounds when he first
took over as a redshirt freshman. He’s filled out to 215 pounds,
but has also taken a beating as one of the team’s top runners.

He was sacked nine times in the Big 12 championship game, yet
still led a winning drive in the final minute.

“You know, I’ve been lucky to stay healthy,” he said Tuesday.
“For me, as a quarterback, you understand you’re going to take
shots. I understand that the coaches need me to run the ball, so I
bust my tail in the weight room. I work out as hard as I can. I
work out three to four times a week really preparing my body for
those shots that I take. I try to be in the best physical shape
that I possibly can be.”

McCoy was third in Heisman Trophy voting this season after
finishing second the year before.

He was 2 of 2 for 9 yards in this game, closing his career
stats at 1,157 of 1,645 (70.3 percent) for 13,253 yards with 112
touchdowns. He holds the school record for passing yards, passing
touchdowns and passer rating, and finishes among the top 10 in NCAA
history in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense.
He’s second in career accuracy, narrowly missing the mark of 70.4
percent.

He is a two-time winner of the Walter Camp Foundation’s
player of the year award. This season, he also won the Maxwell
Award as the player of the year, the Davey O’Brien Award as the top
quarterback and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the top
senior quarterback.

At the end of his redshirt year, McCoy watched from the
sideline as Vince Young led Texas to a national championship with
an upset of No. 1 Southern California in the Rose Bowl. Back on the
same field under very similar circumstances, McCoy was looking
forward to trying to cap his career with a title, too.

Instead, the Longhorns began the Gilbert era a game earlier
than planned.

Gilbert is the son of former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert and
was a prized recruit, winning several national high school player
of the year awards in 2008.

Texas has been grooming him to replace McCoy, using him in
nine games this season. He went 15 of 26 passing for 124 yards.
However, the four games he didn’t play were against the Longhorns’
toughest foes: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

Gilbert also appeared to be shaken up on a first-half hit,
but stayed in the game.