ARLINGTON, Texas — Nebraska had already stormed the field in celebration, having seemingly pulled off a huge upset in the Big 12 championship.
Except, upon further review, Texas still had one more second. And that was all the No. 3 Longhorns needed to completely change Nebraska's emotions – and keep the 21st-ranked Cornhuskers from pulling off a BCS-changing shocker.
The clock showed :00 after Texas quarterback Colt McCoy scrambled and threw the ball out of bounds. But while Nebraska players threw up their arms in celebration and ran onto the field, officials waved their arms trying to gain control of what proved to be a premature celebration.
A second was put back on the clock after the play was reviewed. Hunter Lawrence then made a 46-yard field goal for a 13-12 Texas victory Saturday night.
"I haven't gotten an explanation," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "I'm not going to answer any more questions about officiating or about the call. Ask me about the football game. It was a hell of a football game."
One that sends the Longhorns to Pasadena to play Alabama in the BCS national championship game. Nebraska will still get a nice bowl trip, but the Cornhuskers eliminated the chance of TCU or Cincinnati possibly sneaking into the national title game against the SEC champion.
There were surely many Horned Frogs and Bearcats fans who went through the same swing of emotion – elation at thinking Nebraska had won, to the bitter realization seconds later that Texas had instead.
Even after sacking McCoy nine times, intercepting three passes and holding Texas to a season-low 202 yards, the Cornhuskers (9-4) still couldn't pull off the upset.
They had too many mistakes of their own with an inept offense. And failed to take advantage of a chance to grab some real momentum early.
Nebraska sacked McCoy five times more than the NCAA's winningest quarterback and Big 12 offensive player of the year had ever gone down in a game his entire career. Ndamukong Suh, the league's top defensive player, was responsible for 4 1/2 sacks.
But the Cornhuskers managed only 106 yards, their lowest total in 25 years. And they had only five first downs, one coming on a replay review on their opening possession that overturned what would have been no gain on fourth-and-1.
The Cornhuskers had the ball at the Texas 28 only 36 seconds into the game after the first interception. They got only one first down, on the reviewed spot, and had to settle for the first of Alex Henery's four field goals, a 45-yarder.
They got another pick a couple of minutes later when Prince Amukamara grabbed an interception on the sideline at the Texas 43, a play that had to be confirmed by replay. No first down, but a 52-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead.
Then when they took a 12-10 lead on Henery's 42-yard field goal with 1:44 left, there was another huge mistake – Adi Kunalic's kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving Texas the ball at the 40 to start the game-ending drive.