By Chad Bonham
BCS Championship Game: Alabama 37, Texas 21 (January 7, 2010)
It was supposed to be the greatest moment of Colt McCoy’s college football career. Instead, it turned out to be one of the worst.
Heading into the 2010 BCS Championship Game, head coach Nick Saban and top-ranked Alabama were the favorites to win the title over #2 Texas. McCoy would need to have the game of his life for the Longhorns to have a legitimate chance.
Unfortunately, after just five plays, any chances of him leading his team to victory were abruptly halted when Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus tackled McCoy on a designed running play. The hit caused the senior quarterback to suffer a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder.
For the rest of the game, McCoy stood helplessly on the sideline as freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert did his best to keep Texas’ hopes alive. The Longhorns kept the game close early on, but Alabama exploded in the second quarter to take a 24-6 halftime lead. Texas fought back in the second half, but the Crimson Tide defense shut down the late comeback attempt en route to a 37-21 victory and national championship trophy.
After the game, Brad McCoy found his son sitting at his locker. Thinking he might need some old fashioned parental consolation, the elder McCoy instead saw the dejected All-American reading a devotional book. It was an Old Testament passage that jumped off the pages and provided much-needed solace in the middle of a difficult moment:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
In its historical context, the verse was part of a larger passage whereas the prophet was communicating a message from God to the kingdom of Judah. It was a dark time in the people’s history. According to the Bible, they were fighting against Babylonian rule as a punishment for turning away from God.
Yet there was hope amid the despair, praise in the midst of the lament. Jeremiah was telling the Judahites that they could be saved if they resisted the temptation to rely on man and instead shifted their hearts back to the Lord.
For McCoy, ceasing to trust God was never an option. But that verse certainly helped reassure him that everything was going to be okay.
“There’s definitely some ups and downs,” McCoy told the Christian Sports Journal. “You have to lean on the relationships around you…I love playing football, but without those relationships and without those principles that my parents taught me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve faced some challenges, but that’s what I lean on—my family and my faith. That’s what gets me through tough times.”
And just like in many other moments in his life, the Bible brought McCoy comfort and peace amid one of the most disappointing circumstances of his young life.
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photo: Jeff Arredondo)