Rather, fast forward to the 2009 season and UT had re-positioned itself for a chance to hoist up that crystal football again, much like Young did. Fittingly, the game was also back at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where the Longhorns won their 2005 national title.
Texas was riding a high wave into the 2009 national championship game, after Hunter Lawrence drilled a 46-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Nebraska, 13-12, in the Big 12 Championship.
The year 2009 was McCoy's senior season and last chance to bring a national championship back to Austin after nearly missing out on his chance the year prior. McCoy led the nation with a 70.6% competition percentage and had also thrown for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns. McCoy was college football's all-time leader in wins at the time with a 45-7 record (.865%).
Nick Saban, in his third season as Alabama's head coach, was making his national championship debut with the Crimson Tide program. Saban had one national championship on his resume when he won it all with LSU in 2003.
The game started out great for Longhorns fans after 'Bama threw an interception on its first drive, but the good fortune was short-lived. Five plays later, Texas lost its best player on the Longhorns' opening offensive drive. McCoy injured his right shoulder after being hit by Marcell Dareus.
McCoy said he lost feeling in his right shoulder but wasn't in pain. He asked to come back in, but coach Mack Brown didn't want to risk it, according to The Associated Press. Looking back at the last decade, some may argue this decision changed the landscape of UT football – and perhaps even 'Bama's legacy to a degree, as well.
Freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert was thrust into the game with only 26 total college passes under his belt. It was then his task to go lead UT to a potential fifth national championship ... no big deal, right? Only one true freshman in the history of college football had won a national championship: Oklahoma's Jamelle Holieway. To date, it's only been done twice after Clemson's Trevor Lawrence beat Alabama in 2018, 44-16.
We all know the story, Gilbert wasn't able to pull it off but did lead a valiant effort to give UT a chance late. Texas only trailed 24-21 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter, but three UT straight turnovers fueled a 13-0 'Bama run and cemented the Crimson Tide's first of five national championships in the next 10 seasons.