Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said yesterday he didn't realize the football must hit something before the clock stops when he tossed away a pass at the end of the Longhorns' 13-12 victory against Nebraska - a gaffe that nearly left his team with no time to kick the game-winning field goal.

McCoy said he thought the clocked stop on a pass out of bounds as soon as it crossed the first-down marker. Had he known the rule, he said, he wouldn't have floated a long and high pass over the bench area that didn't touch down until it appeared to hit a railing near the stands.

After McCoy's pass, the clock hit :00 and the Cornhuskers began to celebrate. But 1 second was put back on after officials looked at a replay, enough time for Texas to kick the winning field goal.

Noteworthy

* An announcement that Brian Kelly will replace the fired Charlie Weis as Notre Dame's coach could come Friday, after Kelly has had a chance to talk to his Cincinnati players, the Chicago Tribune reported.

* A person with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press that Louisville is expected to hire Florida associate coach Charlie Strong as its head coach. Strong would replace Steve Kragthorpe, who was fired on Nov. 28 following three disappointing seasons.

* Alabama's Rolando McClain won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker, and Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.

* Portland State named Nevada defensive coordinator Nigel Burton as its head coach. Burton replaces Jerry Glanville, who resigned last month after going 9-24 over three seasons.