SPECIAL TO BUFFSINSIDER FROM THE AP
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - This looks awfully familiar to Texas.
A running back churning out yards and scoring touchdowns and then flashing a healthy head of dreadlocks when he takes off his helmet.
Ricky Williams? Not quite.
Try Cedric Benson, the freshman whose straight-forward running style punishes defenders and has added a new element to the Longhorns' offense over the last two weeks.
Benson rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries and a pair of touchdowns as No. 9 Texas cruised past No. 14 Colorado 41-7 Saturday. He also had 59 yards receiving.
The victory kept alive Texas' Bowl Championship Series bid hopes and snapped Colorado's five-game winning streak.
"We have to make a statement every game to prove that we are a good football team," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We not only won, but we dominated the contest."
Benson, one of the greatest runners in Texas high school history, was the most anticipated recruit in this year's freshmen class and always hits the field to large cheers from the home crowd.
But his playing time had been limited behind former starters Ivan Williams and Victor Ike as Brown worried about whether Benson could handle his assignments.
All that changed after a 14-3 loss to Oklahoma in which Benson played only one down. He got his first start a week ago and gained 131 yards against Oklahoma State, becoming the first Texas freshman to gain 100 yards since Williams did it in 1995.
"I've been put in at a good time. It's a big challenge for me," Benson said.
Against Colorado, Benson scored twice in the first half on runs of 12 and 4 yards as Texas (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) built a 24-7 lead after two quarters.
"He's becoming a dominant back. He's stepping up and growing up," Texas senior offensive tackle Mike Williams said. "He's going to be spectacular."
Colorado (5-2, 3-1), which had turned its season around since an opening loss to Fresno State, hasn't won six in a row since 1996.
"I'm fine," Ochs said afterward. He took part in pregame warmups.
"I certainly wanted to play but concussions aren't something you take risks with."
Pesavento, who had attempted just 11 passes this season, was 15-of-27 for a 165 yards and an interception. But Colorado's true offensive strength lies in a rushing game that ranks second only to Nebraska in the Big 12 in yards per game.
Texas held Colorado to 124 yards rushing - 100 below its average - and the Buffaloes couldn't overcome three early turnovers and a missed field goal that led to the Longhorns' big early lead.
"That was meltdown," said Colorado coach Gary Barnett, who interviewed for the Texas job when it came open in 1997. "It's been a while since nothing went right. This was one of those days."
Benson and Texas quarterback Chris Simms did just about everything right. Simms, who threw five TD passes a week ago, added three to Roy Williams and Sloan Thomas against Colorado.
The first, a 3-yarder to Williams, gave Texas a 7-0 lead. He hit Thomas on scoring strikes of 24 and 29 yards in the third and fourth quarters. Simms was 17-of-28 passing for 234 yards.
The Longhorns rolled up 425 yards of offense and have scored at least 40 points in 11 consecutive home games - all victories - dating back to the middle of the 1998 season.
"There's no limit to what we can do offensively," Simms said.
He and Benson connected on the game's biggest play in the second quarter.
Texas was leading 17-7 when a Colorado pinned the Longhorns on their own 5. The situation was similar to two weeks ago when Texas was backed up against its own end zone in the final minutes against Oklahoma.
But unlike that game when Simms was pressured into an interception by a blitzing defender, he beat the Colorado rush with a shuffle pass underneath to Benson, who took it 40 yards to near midfield and out of danger.
"I was nervous dropping back. I could see the defensive end coming," said Simms. "He (Benson) got it just as he was turning around and made an incredible move to get free."
"I never ran that before," Benson said. "It was cool for me."
Simms found Williams on the sideline for a 29-yard gain and Benson capped the drive with his second touchdown on a 4-yard run.
Texas stretched the lead to 34-7 on Simms' first TD pass to Thomas. The two connected again in the fourth for the final touchdown.