7:00 PM ET, September 4, 2004
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, AUSTIN, TX
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The big fella had to like what he saw.
On a night Texas retired one massive steer mascot and introduced another, the (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) Longhorns churned out 673 total yards -- 513 on the ground -- in a 65-0 win over North Texas.
With the Longhorns leading 44-0 after two quarters, about the only excitement left was the halftime ceremony that sent Bevo XIII out to pasture after 16 years on the sideline.
In his place stood Bevo XIV, a 2-year-old, 1,300-pound beast whose horns measure almost 56 inches from tip to tip and also goes by the name "Sunrise Studly."
Standing behind the end zone, the newest Longhorn got an up-close view of a dominating performance.
"We got about everything out of an opening win that we could get," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We have to realize we'll have to beat better teams than North Texas."
North Texas (0-1) was supposed to be a stern test for a season opener. The Mean Green won the last three Sun Belt Conference titles and running back Patrick Cobbs rushed for 1,680 yards last season.
Instead, Texas steamrolled to its biggest margin of victory since an 81-16 win over TCU in 1974 and held Cobbs to minus-1 yard rushing on eight carries.
Benson averaged 12.1 yards on 15 carries. The Longhorns' 673 total yards was the third best in school history.
Texas had one of the best rushing attacks in the nation over the last half of the 2003 season but had mysteriously abandoned it in a Holiday Bowl loss to Washington State.
There was no chance of that happening Saturday night as the Longhorns churned up yards and touchdowns at will.
"We just came out motivated," Benson said. "Everybody knows what we can do."
Benson led the nation with 21 TDs last season and took all of about eight seconds to find the end zone on his first carry of 2004.
On Texas' first play on offense, he took a handoff from Vince Young, darted through the left side of the line and scampered 38 yards for a touchdown.
"That was the perfect way to start the game," Vince Young said. "We came in and took care of business.
When Benson wasn't carrying the ball, the Longhorns gave it to Selvin Young, whose two touchdowns covered 16 and 48 yards. The first made it 17-0 when he juked a defender at the 5 and ran over another at the goal line.
While the rushing attack was to be expected, Texas came into the contest with question marks on defense, particularly in the front seven.
The Longhorns would appear to have some of them answered, although a much tougher test likely comes next weekend against Arkansas.
New co-coordinator Greg Robinson and former Arizona head coach Dick Tomey were brought in to shore up a defense that had slipped to 25th nationally in 2003.
"We want to be a real dominant defense," said linebacker Derrick Johnson, a Butkus Award finalist last season. He had seven tackles and forced three fumbles, two of which Texas turned into points.
With each touchdown, Longhorns defenders played more aggressive, flying around the field to tee off on North Texas runners at every chance. The Longhorns gave up just four first downs and 130 total yards.
"They completely stopped our running game, which we do best," said North Texas quarterback Scott Hall. "Offensively, we couldn't do anything."
Cobbs didn't have any room to run as he was often met by Texas defenders behind the line of scrimmage.
"You could feel an intensity from our guys," Robinson said. "I liked the hitting."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||1-14||7-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||12:49||CEDRIC BENSON 38 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 38 yards.
|FG||9:43||DUSTY MANGUM 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||4:21||SELVIN YOUNG 16 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||0:59||WILL MATTHEWS 2 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yards.
|FG||10:25||DUSTY MANGUM 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 64 yards.
|TD||5:10||CEDRIC BENSON 1 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||1:57||SELVIN YOUNG 48 YD RUN (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 74 yards.
|FG||0:00||DUSTY MANGUM 48 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||12:14||WILL MATTHEWS 2 YD PASS FROM VINCE YOUNG (DUSTY MANGUM KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||2:38||MATT NORDGREN 1 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 59 yards.
|TD||13:38||AHMARD HALL 1 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 87 yards.