AUSTIN, Texas -- The Longhorns (No. 18 BCS, No. 23 AP) will have a different starter under center for the first time this season when they play Kansas State (No. 6 BCS, No. 7 AP) in the last game of the season.
Case McCoy, who started five games last season, has been named the starter. McCoy has twice relieved David Ash, and he picked up the win with two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Kansas. He went 11-of-17 for 110 yards with an interception and a touchdown drive in relief of Ash against TCU on Thursday in a game Texas lost 20-13.
Mack Brown had no qualms in declaring that Ash would be "really good in the future," but the Texas coach refused to say if the sophomore quarterback's future was as a starter at Texas.
"I see David being a good player in the future," he said a second time when asked if Ash's future was as the starter for Texas in 2013.
Ash has been listed as questionable for the Kansas State game due to a rib injury.
The switching of starters could be perceived as a step back for Texas. The Longhorns went through 2011 alternating starters and finally settled on Ash as the full-time starter in August. The sophomore, however, has struggled with his consistency against Oklahoma, Kansas and TCU.
McCoy came on in relief in all three of those games -- Ash was injured in the OU game -- and was 21-of-33 for 321 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. In Ash's 17 starts he has been pulled four times.
"(McCoy) came in against Kansas State last year and gave us a chance," said Brown. "This is a great opportunity for him to do what he did against Kansas."
Ash's primary issue has been throwing ill-timed interceptions. He has thrown seven picks, with all coming inside the opponent's 30-yard line. Four of those interceptions came in losses to OU and TCU.
McCoy's last start was against Baylor last season. He had four interceptions and two fumbles in a loss. McCoy did not see another snap that season, as Ash played the entire Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and was awarded MVP.
McCoy has played in seven games this season, completing 66.7 percent of his passes with the one aforementioned interception. Ash initially won the job because of his ability to manage the game and make the right decision at the right time. In fact, even after Ash was pulled in the Kansas game and McCoy came on to win the game, Texas elected to go back to Ash because he gave the Longhorns the best chance to win.
Ash has completed 67.7 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 154.9 ranks him 19th in FBS. But his stats could be slightly misleading, as his seven 2012 wins -- the KU win was not factored in -- have come against defenses collectively rated 82nd overall and 87th in pass defense.
McCoy brings the ability to scramble but also an air of danger. While scrambling and keeping plays alive could be his greatest asset, McCoy has been known to force balls into tight windows where they have been picked. That was the case against TCU, as McCoy, trying to rally the team down seven points, scrambled and forced a ball to Jaxon Shipley. TCU had three defensive backs in the area and intercepted the pass to seal the win.
McCoy started five games as a sophomore and was 3-2. The three wins were over UCLA, Iowa State and Texas A&M. His losses came against Oklahoma and Baylor.
In its past 24 games, Texas has changed starters six times.