Shipley’s big day leads No. 2 Texas, 35-3
AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—At the end of his big day, a group of Texas fans were chanting Jordan Shipley’s name when he was pushed out of a group of Longhorns players, flashed a quick “Hook’em Horns” salute and jumped back into the pack.
For a guy who seldom likes to talk about himself, even he had to acknowledge the best day ever by a Longhorns receiver.
“That was fun,” Shipley said. “I was trying to hide in the back but those linemen grabbed me and tossed me out in front of everyone.”
Shipley caught 11 passes for a school-best 273 yards and a touchdown as No. 2 Texas shook off a slow start for a 35-3 win Saturday over Central Florida. His total yards smashed the previous school best of 242 set by Tony Jones against Pittsburgh in the 1987 Bluebonnet Bowl.
“He’s the best receiver in the country,” Texas receiver James Kirkendoll said. “There’s nothing he can’t do on the field.”
Shipley’s biggest moment on a day full of big catches was an 88-yard touchdown pass from Colt McCoy early in the fourth quarter on a drive that started at the 1.
Afterward, Texas coach Mack Brown joked he’d like to get another year of eligibility for his sixth-year senior.
“We’d like to get him a seventh,” Brown said. “He just keeps playing so well.”
McCoy was very close to a school passing mark as well. His 470 yards was just shy of current running backs coach Major Applewhite’s 473 against Washington in the 2001 Holiday Bowl.
McCoy took his last snap with 9:13 to play. Texas coach Mack Brown briefly considered putting him back in to break the record, then worried it would be bad form didn’t want to risk an injury.
“I just decided no, we’ve got some goals out here and neither of them are passing yards,” Brown said.
The goals are much bigger than that: winning Big 12 and national championships. Texas remains in perfect position to chase both.
It took the Longhorns a little while to get up to speed, though.
After three big wins over Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State, the Longhorns seemed ripe for a letdown. Brown tried to keep his players sharp by talking about the goals in front of them.
But the home crowd was late showing up for the 11 a.m. kickoff and the Longhorns’ offense was slow waking up. Early miscues included a rare missed field goal by Hunter Lawrence and a bobbled pitch by McCoy on a flea flicker. Catch the ball and he had John Chiles wide open behind the defense for an easy score.
“We went into the game expecting a fight,” McCoy said. “We should have come out with more of an edge to start the game.”
The defense kept things in control until McCoy and Shipley could get rolling. Central Florida (5-4) managed just 151 total yards, the third Texas opponent held under 200 this year.
The Knights started reserve quarterback Rob Calabrese and was without leading rusher Brynn Harvey. Calabrese, who started the first two games of the season before being replaced by Brett Hodges, was 10 of 19 for 76 yards and was sacked six times.
“It’s awesome to play in front of 100,000 people. Not many people can say they have played in a stadium like this.” Calabrese said.
McCoy and Shipley eventually found their rhythm. Long passes to Shipley kept Texas’ two scoring drives moving in the first half. Two touchdown runs by Cody Johnson put Texas ahead 14-3.
McCoy then hit Kirkendoll with a 14-yard TD pass in the third before the big strike to Shipley.
Shipley made a double move to slip behind coverage, snared the ball in stride and easily pulled away for the score.
“We gave up too many big plays. Shipley had too many big plays,” Central Florida coach George O’Leary said.
McCoy spread the ball around to nine receivers to keep the Central Florida defense guessing where he was going. The play before the TD to Shipley, McCoy hit Chiles for 12 yards to get Texas off the goal line.
Since a bad outing against Oklahoma, McCoy has been sharp the last three weeks.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt this is the way we’ll see him play the rest of the year,” Brown said.
Texas is now 9-0 for the first time since 2005, the season Texas went 13-0 and won the national championship.
“Any time you can be part of a team that’s undefeated, that’s what I came back for,” Shipley said.