AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—Jordan Shipley was so wide open it caused a sudden moment of panic.
“Don’t short-arm the throw,” Colt McCoy said to himself.
Instead, the Texas quarterback coolly tossed a perfect strike down the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown play and the No. 7 Longhorns romped to a 52-10 win over Rice on a record-setting Saturday night for McCoy.
McCoy passed for four touchdowns against the Owls, giving him a school record 62 for his career. He finished with 329 yards on 19-of-23 passing and led Texas (3-0) in rushing for the second time this season with 83 yards on eight carries.
“He’s just taken over,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “This is his team. He’s having fun.”
McCoy even got into the power running attack, bowling over two defenders who outweighed him by 230 pounds on an 8-yard TD run in the first quarter.
“I surprised myself,” McCoy said. “I just wanted to get in the end zone.”
Shipley caught five passes for 155 yards with two big highlight scores of 30 and 60 yards in the second quarter. The long one came on a flea flicker and was No. 60 for McCoy, tying the school record set by Major Applewhite from 1998-2001. Applewhite is now the Longhorns’ running backs coach.
“He was so wide open,” McCoy said of his best friend on the team. “If he hadn’t caught that, I’d have had a problem with him.”
Touchdown passes to Quan Cosby and Chris Ogbannaya gave McCoy the record all by himself. A third-year starter as a junior, McCoy could very well set just about every passing record at Texas by the time he’s done.
“Major’s a great quarterback,” McCoy said. “To be up there is a great honor.”
Rice (2-2), which has lost two in a row, played the game after a week of dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike’s smash through Houston. The storm caused widespread damage in southeast Texas and left millions in the nation’s fourth-largest city without power for several days.
Owls players made no excuses for the losing 10 in a row against Texas and 38 of the last 39.
“I think the hurricane stuff was out of the way,” said receiver Jarett Dillard, who had 158 yards receiving and a touchdown for Rice.
“I think we were making mistakes all at the same time. You add those together and it’s a tragedy,” Dillard said.
All of Texas’ wins have come against teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt. The Longhorns plays Arkansas next week in a game that was postponed two weeks because of the hurricane.
McCoy’ first touchdown showed just how much of a mismatch this one might be. He lowered his helmet and shoulder pads to plow into Owls linebacker Terrance Garmon and safety Andrew Sendejo at the goal line and those two bounced off the quarterback as he bulled his way into the end zone.
“Colt is absolutely playing like a man with confidence,” Rice coach David Bailiff said. “He’s the driver of that offense.”
Shipley had little trouble darting into space in the secondary. When he and tailback Ogbannaya perfectly sold the fake on the flea flicker, Shipley was so wide open there wasn’t a defender within 15 yards of him.
“It was probably the most open I’ve ever been in my whole life, even in sandlot football,” Shipley said. “tonight was probably the most fun I’ve had in, I don’t know how long.”
The Texas defense continued its trend of bend-but-seldom-break. The young secondary, which ranks No. 98 in the country against the pass, again gave up big yards but minimal points, surrendering only a first quarter field goal and Dillard’s touchdown in the third quarter. Rice passed for 301 yards but the Longhorns also had seven sacks.
Rice drove inside the Texas 30 three times in the first half but came away only a single field goal. Late in the second quarter, the Owls got to the Texas 2 and took 11 snaps—Texas was twice called for pass interference in the end zone—but still couldn’t punch it in before a final incompletion on fourth down.
“In 33 years of coaching,” Brown said, “that was a first.”