3:30 PM ET, October 22, 2005
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, AUSTIN, TX
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- As Billy Pittman cruised into the end zone with a 75-yard touchdown pass, Vince Young struck a pose. Hands on hips and chest out, Superman style, the Texas quarterback soaked in the roar of an adoring crowd.
Less than two minutes into the second half, another Longhorn landslide was in the making.
Young threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and No. 2 Texas handed the 10th-ranked Red Raiders their first loss of the season Saturday, a 52-17 victory that should do nothing but help the Longhorns' run for the Rose Bowl.
Trying to start 7-0 for the first time since 1976 and move into national title contention, the high-scoring Red Raiders (6-1, 3-1) couldn't keep up with the Longhorns (7-0, 4-0).
But that should be no surprise at this point. Other than a three-point win at Ohio State, Texas' average margin of victory is 37 points.
Brown said at the beginning of the season he felt defending national champ Southern California was a worthy No. 1 but no team could rightfully lay claim to No. 2.
"Now I think this team definitely deserves to be No. 2 in the country," Brown said after Texas' 14th straight victory.
Cody Hodges, coming off a 643-yard passing day against Kansas State, did his best to keep the Red Raiders from getting blown off the field. The fifth-year senior went 42-for-64 for 369 yards and two touchdown passes.
"When you play a team like Texas you have to eliminate ... mental mistakes," Hodges said. "And we shot ourselves in the foot early on offense."
Texas withstood the barrage of short passes from Tech's Air Raid, made a couple of momentum changing special teams plays in the first half and countered with a balanced and relentless attack led by Young.
The Heisman Trophy contender threw two early interceptions, matching a career high, but finished 12-for-22 for 239 yards. More comfortable in the pocket these days, the 235-pound speedster ran just seven times for 45 yards and used that smooth stride on a 10-yard TD run to make it 45-17 in the third quarter.
Young gave his performance a C+ and said in the past throwing two picks might have crushed his confidence.
"But now I'm more mature and understand the game and have more faith in my defense," he said.
Young graded out much better to Brown.
"You score 52 points, no I don't think C+ is fair," Brown said. "That shows you the standard this team is trying to play to."
The Longhorns were second behind USC in the first Bowl Championship Series standings released this week. After snapping Texas Tech's eight-game winning streak, that spot seems safe.
USC improved to 7-0 with 51-24 win over Washington to keep the Trojans and Longhorns on track for a date in the BCS title game.
"Of course we're biased out there with the Pac-10. So if we could have USC and Texas, it would be just special," said David Davis, chief of the Rose Bowl football committee, in Austin on Saturday. "It would be as good a game as we could hope for."
And with Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas up next for the Longhorns, it might be a while before Texas faces another challenge. Maybe in the season finale at Texas A&M? Or maybe in Pasadena on Jan. 4?
"To be a team that has a chance to win all their games, you can't think that way," Brown said.
Safety Michael Huff summed it up this way: "Every Big 12 games is a hurdle. We just have to play every game like it's a national championship [game]."
The Texas Tech-Texas matchup hasn't been much to get excited about through the years with the Longhorns holding a 40-14 lead in the series. But this season's visit by the Red Raiders turned out to be the most anticipated game in Austin in several years.
Coach Mike Leach had Tech in the top 10 for the first time since 1977, and never before had the Raiders and Longhorns faced each other with perfect records this late in the season.
Tech also still had much to prove after scoring 54 points per game against sketchy competition. The Raiders weren't up to the challenge and the Longhorns led 31-10 at half.
"This is the best Texas team I have played," Leach said. "The margin of error gets narrower and today when it came down to those points, we collapsed, which is disappointing."
Quan Cosby's 38-yard punt return set up Texas at the Tech 8, and 270-pound freshman Henry Melton scored from a yard out moments later to give the Longhorns a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Leach played it uncharacteristically conservative on a fourth-and-5 from the Texas 35 midway through the second quarter and down by seven, choosing to try to draw the Longhorns offside instead of going for the first down. It didn't work, and neither did the Raiders' punt.
Ian Smetona's snap sailed to the right and punter Alex Reyes couldn't catch it. Reyes tried to get the kick off but Michael Griffin blocked it and sent the ball flying out of bounds at the Raiders' 23.
"It was disheartening to see that happen," Tech receiver Jarrett Hicks said.
This time it took just two plays for Texas to convert. Young rolled right, then pulled back and flipped a 15-yard TD pass to Pittman to make it 24-10.
The Red Raiders were poised to answer the score, driving to a first-and-goal at the 3. But Hodges passed into traffic, the ball bounced off Aaron Harris' facemask and into Tim Crowder's arms for an interception.
The turnover hurt even more after Texas went 88 yards on four plays and went up 21 points on Selvin Young's second TD run of the game, a 7-yarder.
"Texas deserves a lot of attention," Hodges said, "and they have a chance to run the table and win it all."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Longhorns scored TDs on six straight possessions in the second and third quarters.
Gameball goes to... the Texas D. Even though it gave up 471 yards UT held Tech 37 points under the Red Raiders average.
Stat of the game... 8: The Horns have won eight straight games against opponents ranked in the Top 25.
The Fan Pick
88.6% of College Pick'em players picked Texas to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-16||5-10|
|4th Down Conversions||2-3||0-1|
|FG||10:40||DAVID PINO 40 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 21 yards.
|TD||5:08||TAUREAN HENDERSON 3 YD PASS FROM CODY HODGES (ALEX TRLICA KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 21 yards.
|TD||1:12||HENRY MELTON 1 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 8 yards.
|FG||11:11||ALEX TRLICA 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 14 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||8:58||SELVIN YOUNG 10 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||6:41||BILLY PITTMAN 15 YD PASS FROM VINCE YOUNG (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 23 yards.
|TD||1:57||SELVIN YOUNG 7 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 88 yards.
|TD||13:42||BILLY PITTMAN 75 YD PASS FROM VINCE YOUNG (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||8:39||JOEL FILANI 6 YD PASS FROM CODY HODGES (ALEX TRLICA KICK)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||4:15||VINCE YOUNG 10 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||6:30||CHRIS OGBONNAYA 22 YD RUN (DAVID PINO KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 26 yards.