Texas confident heading into Rose Bowl

Updated: December 5, 2005, 1:54 AM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Crank up the hype machine. The No. 2 Texas Longhorns are heading to the Rose Bowl in full swagger.

"We want to go out there and dominate," senior defensive tackle Rod Wright said Sunday night after the Big 12 champions held their first meeting to start preparations to play No. 1 USC in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi.

"We want to beat them physically and we want to go out there and just have fun," Wright said.

Here we go.

Dominate the two-time defending national champion that spins defenses in circles with quarterback Matt Leinart, running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White and a receiving corps that boasts it is the best in the country?

Dominate a team that already has one Heisman Trophy winner (Leinart), might have another by Saturday (Bush) and has a 34-game winning streak? The Trojans (12-0) have the No. 1 offense in the country, averaging 580 yards and 50 points. Texas just beats them in the points category, averaging 50.92.

"If you prepare like that, it can happen," Wright said. "That's our game plan and we're not going to get too overwhelmed by anything and we're going to play Texas football."

Reminded that last season's Big 12 champion -- Oklahoma -- was sent home from the BCS title game with a 55-19 whipping by USC, Wright said, "We're going go put on a better show than that."

While USC has won 34 games, Texas (12-0) has its own 19-game winning streak and a top Heisman candidate in quarterback Vince Young.

It also has a veteran defense, which Wright anchors from his role as run stopper in the middle of the line. The Longhorns have the sixth-rated defense in the country, giving up 280 yards and 14.6 points per game.

"A lot of people say we haven't seen an offense like USC," he said. "They haven't seen a defense like UT. We've got some guys back there who I think are the best secondary in the nation."

Wright said he respects Leinart, Bush, White and the others, but that his team will be heading west ready to play.

"We're not coming out here to just hang with those guys and hopefully we can win the game in the fourth quarter," Wright said. "We want to dominate. That's not been said about USC."

There's that word again. And it's sure to cause a seismic quake in Los Angeles.

Wright's words will no doubt raise eyebrows across the country, but the Longhorns have dominated opponents this season in going 12-0.

Still, they expect to arrive in California as the underdog against a USC team that has blazed through one the most amazing winning streaks in modern college football. Longhorns tight end David Thomas said Texas won't be intimidated.

As if Wright's words left any doubt.

"There's a reason they've won 34 games," Thomas said. "We're a veteran team & we'll embrace the role of underdog in their home town."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press