SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -Colt McCoy was sitting at an awards banquet when he felt a breeze on the back of his neck.
The Texas quarterback knew exactly what was going on.
Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was sitting behind him, blowing on his neck and whispering that he'd better get used to it because the All-American planned to be dogging McCoy all night when the 10th-ranked Buckeyes and No. 3 Longhorns meet in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 5.
``I had a few comebacks for him,'' McCoy said. ``I told him he needed to thank me for starting him out on his All-American campaign the last three years. ... It was fun.''
The two had met before, in the second game of the 2006 season when No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Texas 24-7 a game that introduced McCoy to big-time college football and Laurinaitis to the rest of the country as Ohio State's next great linebacker.
McCoy was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy this season. Back then, he was a wide-eyed freshman trying to take command of the huddle that Vince Young led to a national championship in 2005.
now,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``That was still Vince's team (in 2006).''
McCoy's only experience going into the game against the Buckeyes was a 56-7 season-opening win over North Texas. Against Ohio State, he was on prime-time national television in the first regular-season matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a decade. Not only were the eyes of Texas on McCoy, the whole country was watching.
What they saw was a talented young QB who still had plenty of growing up to do.
For McCoy, it was all a blur.
``I really don't remember the game,'' he said, ``other than we lost.''
McCoy passed for 154 yards and a touchdown but also got hit hard several times and threw his first college interception on the first possession of the third quarter - to Laurinaitis.
McCoy jokes that it was ``definitely the easiest pick of his career.''
Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis kept the offense simple that night because McCoy was so inexperienced.
``We were asking him to do very little,'' Davis said. ``He's so much more in control now.''
McCoy's big mistake - the interception on a short pass across the middle - set up a Buckeyes field goal. It was just one of several big plays on the night by Laurinaitis, who had a team-high 13 tackles in a breakout performance in just his second career start.
e Buckeyes went undefeated in the regular season before losing to Florida in the BCS national title game.
In 2007, he won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker and this season won the Lott Trophy for top defensive player. His 121 tackles and four sacks lead the Buckeyes (10-2) this season.
He's now the first Buckeyes linebacker to be named an AP All-American three times, surpassing other Ohio State greats such as A.J. Hawk and Chris Spielman, who were both two-time All-Americans.
``He's a tremendous player,'' McCoy said.
M 49-9 on Thanksgiving.
McCoy also led Texas (11-1) in rushing this season with 572 yards - 200 more than anyone else on the team - and 10 touchdowns. And his pass completion rate of nearly 78 percent is on pace to smash the NCAA record.
McCoy was second to Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford for the Heisman Trophy, but won the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year.
``The thing that's impressive to me is that he came in after a guy who's a legend, not only for the Longhorns but for all of college football,'' Laurinaitis said.
about Vince Young, `` he said. ``But people are talking so much about Colt McCoy now. He started a tradition of great quarterbacks that's going to be hard to follow.''
Laurinaitis and McCoy had a good time teasing each other on the banquet circuit about that 2006 game and who would win in the next one.
Even Davis, the Longhorns' offensive coordinator, got in on the good-natured ribbing. Davis was in Orlando, Fla., when Laurinaitis was whispering in McCoy's ear about all the times he's going to hit him in the Fiesta Bowl.
``When I introduced myself to him, I said, 'This is the guy who got you started on your All-American career, hitting you right in the numbers,''' Davis said.
``That's as close as I'd like him to be to Colt,'' Davis said, ``sitting behind him at an awards banquet.''

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