AUSTIN, Texas — Texas quarterback Case McCoy has spent four years with the Longhorns living in his older brother Colt’s considerable shadow.
While Colt led Texas to two BCS bowl games, a Big 12 title and was one win shy of a national championship, Case has spent his career as part-time starter, most-of-the-time backup.
But McCoy will start for Texas (3-2, 2-0) against No. 12 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) Saturday because David Ash remains sidelined with lingering concussion symptoms.
It will be up to McCoy to try to end Texas’ three-game losing skid to the Sooners and add a little depth to the McCoy family legacy
The Texas-Oklahoma game tends to have high stakes for Longhorns quarterbacks, and McCoy said Monday he’s embracing his chance for fame or infamy.
“This is a game that I could be remembered for the rest of my life,” McCoy said. “I’m preparing and (practicing) for a game I’ll be remembered for forever.”
McCoy’s uneven career has produced uneven results.
Texas fans will always remember his scramble to set up the winning field goal at Texas A&M in 2011, the last game played between the historical rivals. The run captured the same gritty competitiveness that Colt McCoy had given the Longhorns from 2006-2009.
But Case also started a 55-17 blowout loss to Oklahoma in 2011. He had five turnovers in a loss at Baylor that season. And he was suspended before the 2012 Alamo Bowl amid a criminal investigation in which ultimately no charges were filed.
And while his arm strength has been questioned and he was overtaken by Ash as the full-time starter this year, McCoy’s belief in himself has never been shaken.
The Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, with the stadium split 50-50 in burnt orange and crimson, has been known to rattle players, notably quarterbacks. Colt McCoy handled it and was 3-1 against the Sooners.
“I think he’ watched his brother for four years,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “They know the team who wins this game gets celebrated, and the guys who win this game become heroes.”
Saturday will be McCoy’s third start this season. And despite question marks about his arm strength and decision making, his career includes three victories that included game-winning drives in the final minutes. That includes last week’s 31-30 win at Iowa State.
“Case brings more than your average backup quarterback,” Texas running back Johnathan Gray. “The guys rally around him.”
But after two seasons of pushing Ash for playing time, McCoy wasn’t supposed to be a factor this year. The Longhorns had settled on Ash, who has a stronger arm, as the clear No. 1 and McCoy spent 10 weeks over the summer on a church mission in Peru.
But played well in the season-opener but struggled to overcome a head injury in the second game at BYU. Since then, Ash has played only the first half against Kansas State on Sept. 21. He was still showing lingering signs of a concussion on Saturday, so Texas announced McCoy would play against the Sooners and Ash would sit again.
McCoy’s backup will be freshman Tyrone Swoopes. Swoopes’ athleticism can dazzle in practice and the Longhorns have drawn up plays for him, but Brown has said he’s not yet ready to get into a game.
The rivalry with Oklahoma hasn’t been much of a game the last two years. The Sooners have routed the Longhorns, outscoring them 108-38 and Texas hasn’t even looked competitive. Texas went through a similar run, losing five in a row from 2000-2005, a streak that included blowouts of 63-14 and 65-13.
“We’ve got to beat them,” McCoy said. “That’s something you’re known for when you come here. Now that we don’t play A&M anymore, one of the questions everyone asks is, ’What’s your record against OU?’ That’s become a pride issue for a lot of us, for us seniors ... This is a game we need to go and win.”