America has been transfixed on the alleged design flaw of a giant video screen so close to the turf at Cowboys Stadium for months. Now the Horned Frogs have their own piece of that stadium to hold in scorn for the rest of history.
For those reaching for something in which to pile their anger and denial on, hurl it no farther than the railing that lines the ground level suites around the field at Cowboys Stadium. But then again, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy did and boy did it work for him.
With just over a minute left, the Longhorns trailed the Nebraska Cornhuskers by two points following the best drive the Huskers put together on the night, capped off by a 42-yard field goal by kicker Alex Henery. Then, McCoy made his Heisman statement by driving his team 31 yards down the field, putting the Longhorns in field goal range.
With just seconds left, McCoy took a snap looking to put the ball in the middle of the field for Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence to put the game away. With no receivers open, McCoy simply flicked the ball out of bounds and onto the suite railing around the ground level. As the ball hit the ground, the Nebraska players rushed the field with the clock showing no time left in the game.
However, the play was reviewed and the booth saw the ball hit that railing with one second remaining on the clock and made the call that changed the New Year’s plans of so many football fans in the state of Texas
“The ball by rule has to hit something,” said Walt Anderson, coordinator of football officials for the Big 12 Conference, after the game. “It hit the railing over there by one of those suites that are on the ground level. It may have bounced around a little bit, too. Once we saw it hit something, that was the point at which we stopped the clock.”
That one second was just enough time to crush the crazy, but not impossible, national title dream of the purple nation from Fort Worth as Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence hit the game winning field goal from 46 yards out.
With the Texas win and a Clemson loss, the Frogs bowl outlook is back up in the air, but no matter what any other team has done, TCU has earned the right to join the club of BCS busters and deserve nothing less than the national spotlight in their bowl game for the history-shattering season they put in the books.
Nebraska had the chance to pay TCU back for the boost the Frogs gave them into the National Championship in 2001, interlocking destiny and these two programs tonight. Last year Texas was snubbed from the National Championship but found retribution the very next season with the win Saturday. So if there is anything to learn out of the agony of defeat Saturday night, it might as well be an old clichÃÂ©: there’s always next year.