There's finally one quarterback atop the Texas deep chart heading into the season finale against Baylor on Saturday and his name is Case McCoy.
After having been listed as the co-starter with freshman David Ash ever since Garrett Gilbert was demoted, McCoy's name now stands alone after engineering the game-winning drive against Texas A&M on Thursday, capped by his 25-yard run that put the 'Horns in field goal range.
As usual with McCoy, whose play seemingly can't be discussed without mentioning his record-setting brother or devolving into cliches about his intangibles, the performance was far from pretty and at times quite ugly. The Longhorns struggled to move the ball early as the sophomore quarterback struggled with his footwork and at times threw dangerous passes across his body.
Later in the game, just as the offense appeared to gain rhythm in the running game, McCoy inexplicably took a delay of game penalty that put the team behind the chains on second down, killing the drive and earning himself a tongue lashing from offensive lineman Mason Walters.
The ultimate factor in his ascension to the top of the depth chart is his ability to avoid turnovers, according to Mack Brown, an area in which Ash struggled noticeably during his last several starts. Although defenses have had several opportunities to intercept McCoy on the season, it hasn't happened yet. Whether that's mainly a factor of luck or strong decision making is tough to tell, bu the end result is that McCoy has not suffered from the crippling interceptions that have slowed the Texas offense under Ash and put the defense in difficult situations, especially in the Kansas State game.
It may be ugly with McCoy, who is seemingly allergic to stepping into his passes and likes to bail from the pocket early, but he did enough to win against A&M in a monumentally important game and that seems to be his preferred, and perhaps only, mode of operation at this point. But a win is a win, even if it happens comes in a less than aesthetically pleasing package.
McCoy seems to believe in himself as much or more as any of his supporters, so there's little doubt that he believes he can make the plays with the game on the line to pull it at, certainly a favorable quality for a starting quarterback in a high-pressure environment.
Brown also said Monday that Ash will continue to see the field at times with his package of plays, but if the Texas A&M game was any indication, he will only see the field for a handful of plays. If there's any factor that plays in his favor, it's that the Baylor run defense is much more ripe for exploitation than the stout A&M front.
In other depth chart news, leading receiver Mike Davis has been demoted on the depth chart and is now behind Jaxon Shipley, while Miles Onyegbule moved into a starting role opposite his fellow freshman. Davis has been a major disappointment this season and dropped several passes against the Aggies. Mack Brown revealed Monday that Davis has been dealing with a hip strain, but that doesn't account for his inability to catch passes thrown his direction.