AMES, Iowa – Call it luck, call it good fortune, call it whatever you wish. Texas' 31-30 win over Iowa State on Thursday night in front of 52,782 fans at Jack Trice Stadium was strange.
Case McCoy and the offense went 75 yards in 12 plays for the winning score.
It wasn't pretty, but the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0 in the Big 12) will take it.
In case you missed it, here's how the scoring happened.
Texas 7, Iowa State 0 (12:06, 1st Quarter)
The Score: Johnathan Gray made a beautiful cutback, hit a crease and split the Iowa State defense on his way to the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Drive: Five plays, 64 yards, 1:12 in length
The Key Play: It looked like the drive might stall on a 3rd-and-6 for the Longhorns at their own 40. But Case McCoy's pass down the sideline and well past the marker to Marcus Johnson drew a pass interference call against Iowa State's Jansen Watson. Gray scored two plays later.
How the Longhorns Made It Happen: Texas was fortunate Gray made the big play happen. Case McCoy threw a deep ball to Marcus Johnson on the play prior that should have probably been an interception. Gray's jaunt into the end zone, however, was about as good of a start as the Longhorns could have hoped for.
Texas 10, Iowa State 0 (2:27, 1st Quarter)
The Score: Anthony Fera booted home a chip-shot field goal from 23 yards out for the second Longhorn score of the night.
The Drive: Four plays, four yards, 1:09 in length
The Key Play: It was actually made by the defense. Iowa State's James White coughed up the football with some help from Cedric Reed, allowing Jackson Jeffcoat to pounce on the loose ball at the Cyclones 16-yard line.
How the Longhorns Made It Happen: After a drive where the Longhorns threw the ball on eight of nine plays they came back with the run. Two Johnathan Gray totes set up a 3rd-and-6 at the Iowa State 12, but Case McCoy missed a wide-open Mike Davis in the end zone. McCoy also had Gray open in the flat, and it's possible he would have scored as well.
Texas 10, Iowa State 3 (14:21, 2nd Quarter)
The Score: Cole Netten booted home a 37-yard field goal to cap off a nice drive by the Cyclones.
The Drive: Seven plays, 56 yards, 3:06 in length
The Key Play: Cedric Reed made the big one for the Longhorns. Iowa State had a good drive going, but Reed knifed into the backfield on a 3rd-and-1 at the Texas 19 to end the drive and force the field goal try.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: There were some mixups on defense that allowed Iowa State tight end E.J. Bibbs to get behind the Texas linebackers for some big yards. It was similar to what Ole Miss did to Texas using play action and backfield motion to get the tight end free. Bibbs had catches of 13 and 22 yards, respectively.
Texas 10, Iowa State 10 (4:34, 2nd Quarter)
The Score: The Cyclones had the Longhorn defense reverting to the defense of old as they drove the ball methodically down Texas' throat, ending the march with an 11-yard touchdown pass on a screen from Sam B. Richardson to Aaron Wimberly.
The Drive: 15 plays, 92 yards, 7:36 in length
The Key Play: Pick one, but it better be a third down. The Cyclones converted all five third down attempts they faced on the drive, including twice where Richardson rushed for big yards.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: There were blown assignments, busted coverages, bad jobs done of setting the edge and, in general, some of the same stuff that has plagued the Longhorns over the past year. It wasn't anything fancy, it just seemed like the defense was content to let the Cyclones try and chip away and they did.
Iowa State 13, Texas 10 (0:33, 2nd Quarter)
The Score: A 41-yard field goal by Cole Netten marked 13 unanswered points by the Cyclones as Iowa State took the lead late in the first half.
The Drive: Eight plays, 34 yards, 2:07 in length
The Key Play: Sam B. Richardson connected on three straight passes to move the Cyclones from their own 49 to the Texas 30 in a hurry. An eight-yard pass from Richardson to E.J. Bibb helped get things started.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: More of the same from the previous scoring drive. Richardson picked his spots and hit his windows as needed to move the Cyclones into scoring position.
Texas 17, Iowa State 13 (0:00, 2nd Quarter)
The Drive: Five plays, 75 yards, 0:33 in length
The Key Play: McCoy got the drive started with a 12-yard screen pass to Joe Bergeron. That started things and a 19-yard pass down the middle of the field to Jaxon Shipley got the Longhorns on the plus side of the field.
How the Longhorns Made It Happen: Devine intervention?
Iowa State 20, Texas 17 (6:34, 3rd Quarter)
The Drive: Three plays, 98 yards, 1:29 in length
The Key Play: The Bundrage touchdown was really the Cyclones had on the series.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: More terrible play by the Texas defense. The worst part? The touchdown catch happened on a third down.
Texas 24, Iowa State 20 (4:30, 3rd Quarter)
The Score: Joe Bergeron reached the zone after three straight impressive runs with the scoring jaunt coming from six yards out.
The Drive: Nine plays, 78 yards, 2:06 in length
The Key Play: Texas got two straight pass interference calls to go in their favor. Both went against Mike Davis and the second of those got the Longhorns to the Iowa State 30.
How the Longhorns Made It Happen: After the two pass interference calls the Longhorns went to the ground game. Bergeron had two physical 12 yard runs before he reached the end zone. It was a welcomed sign as the Longhorns had abandoned the run for some reason after gashing the Cyclones early.
Iowa State 27, Texas 24 (11:37, 4th Quarter)
The Score: Aaron Wimberly ran over and through the Texas defense for a 20-yard touchdown.
The Drive: Three plays, 37 yards, 1:17 in length
The Key Play: A Joe Bergeron fumble that gave the Cyclones the ball back at the Texas 37-yard line.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: More bad tackling, especially on Wimberly's run where he drug Adrian Phillips into the end zone.
Iowa State 30, Texas 24 (3:40, 4th Quarter)
The Score: Cole Netten nailed his third field goal of the game, a 29-yard boot, that accounted for the final Iowa State score of the game.
The Drive: Eight plays, 42 yards, 3:14 in length
The Key Play: The play was made by the Texas defense that kept it from being a touchdown. It felt like Iowa State wanted to bleed the clock and try to hold Texas, but Dalton Santos made a great play to tackle Aaron Wimberly for a loss and set up a third down. This time the Longhorns stopped it as Sam B. Richardson's pass fell incomplete.
How the Longhorns Allowed It: Richardson had yet another big scramble on the drive that got things moving. Wimberly had a couple of big runs but the Santos play thwarted the scoring attempt and the Longhorns held.
Texas 31, Iowa State 30 (0:51, 3rd Quarter)
The Score: Case McCoy punched the ball across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run on what will go down as perhaps the most controversial scoring drive of the season for the Longhorns.
The Drive: 12 plays, 75 yards, 2:49 in length
The Key Play: Where do you even begin? The two pass interference calls, including one in the end zone. A personal foul face mask for a tackle Johnathan Gray. A fumble by Gray that was reviewed before the officials determined he didn't fumble. All of those were a few of the plays that made the drive.
How the Longhorns Made It Happen: The moment of the game was when Sam E. Richardson was flagged for a pass interference against Greg Daniels in the end zone. That came on a 3rd-and-8 at the Iowa State 11. McCoy scored three plays later on 3rd-and-goal at the one.