AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Call it the Shootout on the South Plains.
Big 12 football has become a weekly battle of gunslinging quarterbacks and only two -Texas' Colt McCoy and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell - are still undefeated.
That ends Saturday night in Lubbock, the No. 1 Longhorns (8-0) and No. 6 Red Raiders (8-0) meet.
If last year's 59-43 Texas win is any measure of what to expect - McCoy and Harrell combined for 785 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns - it could get wild in West Texas.
``They're both as good as any quarterbacks in the country,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``They both run their systems perfectly and they're as accurate as any quarterbacks I've ever seen.''
There are plenty of crazy numbers to support a statement like that.
er No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 14 Missouri and No. 9 Oklahoma State have made him the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Harrell could make his own claim for the Heisman with a victory that would put the Red Raiders in the national title hunt.
Harrell has riddled defenses for the last three years in coach Mike Leach's pass- and point-a-minute offense. This season he has 3,147 yards and 28 TDs.
His career numbers are staggering: He ranks No. 4 in NCAA history with 13,829 yards, and his 117 touchdown passes are tied at No. 3 with Hawaii's Timmy Chang (2000-2004).
But Harrell is sometimes dismissed as a product of Leach's system.
Since 2000, Tech quarterbacks have thrown for more than 42,700 yards, more than 24 miles. Three Red Raiders, Harrell, Kliff Kingsbury and B.J. Symons, rank among only six quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 5,000 yards in a season.
Those kinds of numbers impress McCoy regardless of the system. So do leadership and making plays to win games.
``I think every quarterback plays in a 'system,''' McCoy said. ``You don't really think about that. You think about leading your team and what you have to do to make your team win.''
These sons of high school coaches made a habit of winning under the Friday night lights in Texas, where both reached state championship games (Harrell won; McCoy didn't).
he reach of the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs but still within a hotbed of big school recruiting.
Harrell was attracted to Tech by Leach's brand of offense that goes for it on fourth down when conventional wisdom says to kick and will let a quarterback throw and throw and throw.
McCoy grew up in Tuscola, just the sort of tiny West Texas farming town that the Red Raiders typically mine for talent and where love of Texas Tech runs deep.
``Basically, my whole high school goes to Texas Tech,'' McCoy said, before quickly adding that he always wanted to be a Longhorn.
Like Harrell, he has written his name in the NCAA and school record books.
In 2006, McCoy tied a then-freshman record for most touchdown passes with 29. He's already set the Texas career mark with 72. His 27 career wins put him No. 2 at Texas behind Vince Young, who was 30-2.
While Harrell's numbers have almost become routine, McCoy's play has made him a surprise Heisman contender.
After his stellar freshman season, McCoy seemed to take a big step backward with 18 interceptions in 2007. He's thrown only four picks this season with laser-like accuracy that rarely allows defenders a chance to make a play on the ball. Last week against Oklahoma State, he completed 18 passes in a row, setting yet another school record.
shed for seven touchdowns, and his 3-yard score against Oklahoma State proved to be the game-winner in Texas' 28-24 victory.
``He's not like any quarterback we have played this year,'' Texas Tech safety Darcel McBath said. ``He is so versatile.''
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