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Benson scores three touchdowns

9/21/2003

HOUSTON (AP) -- Texas finally found a cure for its ailing running
game: Rice's defense.

Cedric Benson scored three touchdowns and backup Selvin Young
had two more in a 41-point first half as Texas (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) found beat
Rice 48-7 on Saturday night.

"I was pleased with our rushing game," coach Mack Brown said.
"That's what we want to get to. We have to do different things to
win. If we can run we want to. Obviously, it was a big part of our
game tonight."

The Longhorns (2-1) were coming off a 38-28 loss to Arkansas,
when they managed only 62 rushing yards.

After that game, Texas players took a vow of silence to prepare
for the four-touchdown underdog Owls (0-3). The results: 322 yards
rushing on 53 carries against Rice, which ranked 104th in rushing
defense going into the game.

"I thought Cedric broke out tonight," Brown said. "He got to
run more and had more opportunities. He was running hard early,
then we took him out or he could have had a 200-yard game."

The Owls got inside the Longhorns 20 only twice and didn't score
until quarterback Greg Henderson's 6-yard run with 5:18 to play.

Benson scored on runs of 2 and 17 yards and caught a 59-yard
touchdown pass from Chance Mock.

"Our offensive line put it all together," Benson said. "They
told me before the game what they were going to do and they did it.
Everything starts with the guys up front. They provided me with
some holes and opportunities.

"It felt good to finally get a chance to work in the open
field."

Mock also threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams, who
became Texas' career leader in receiving yards. Williams caught
five passes for 69 yards.

Benson played the first series of the third quarter and finished
with 130 yards on 18 carries. Young scored on runs of 4 and 2 yards
to complete Texas' big first half.

Mock was relieved for most of the second half by freshman
Vincent Young, a former Houston Madison star. Mock was 8-of-8 for
159 yards and two touchdowns.

"We can always play better," Mock said. "There's a lot of
room for improvement. My numbers might have been perfect but we
still have a lot of things to work on."

Brown thought it was important to play Vincent Young.

"You have to get two quarterbacks ready because you see so many
get hurt," Brown said. "I felt we had to get him ready. Chance
was 7-for-7 in the first half. He played his best game.

"I didn't let Vincent throw much but this experience will help
him. They both run our offense the same way, thought, they're a
little different and give a change of pace."

It took the Longhorns most of the first quarter to get rolling,
with Benson opening the scoring on a 2-yard run with 2:17 left.

Selvin Young scored on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter,
starting a string of 34 points by the Longhorns. Nathan Vasher set
up two touchdowns with a 59-yard punt return and an interception.

Vasher's punt return led to an 18-yard touchdown pass from Mock
to Williams, who caught a pass in his 37th consecutive game.

"I was pleased with execution, focus and intensity after a
loss," Brown said. "The team played a nearly perfect first half.

"What you saw tonight was the offense that we are trying to get
to. We saw signs of it in the first two games."

Rice coach Ken Hatfield was upbeat despite the loss.

"It was a great game for a lot of reasons," Hatfield said.
"We just didn't have the speed to stay on the field with them. I'm
not going to grade the first half. I'm just going to grade the
second half when the game was out of control.

"If you give all you've got and get beat by a superior team,
there is nothing you can do."