at Folsom Field • Oct. 30 • 1:30 p.m. (MT) • ABC
Head Coach: Mack Brown ( 7th year)
2004 Record: 6-1
Coming off a great freshman campaign, sophomore QB Vince Young has played well in 2004. He has completed 72-of-128 passes for 900 yards and nine TDs (four INTs) in seven games. Young has rushed for 489 yards on 81 carries.
Last week at Texas Tech, Young registered a career best 300 yards of total offense. He produced 158 rushing yards and four rushing TDs in addition to his 142 yards and a TD on 10-of-15 passing against the Red Raiders. For his performance he was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.
The Longhorn offensive line has combined to start 105 career games. In seven games this season, the line has cleared the way for Texas to rank second in the nation in rushing (301.7 ypg), 14th in total offense (449.4 ypg) and 20th in scoring (35.0 ppg).
Texas features two of the Big 12's best and a pair of John Mackey Award candidates at the tight end position — senior Bo Scaife and junior David Thomas. Senior Tony Jeffery leads a receiver corps that's not as experienced or talented as what UT has fielded in recent years. Jeffery has 19 catches for 247 yards on the year. The other top receivers are junior Brian Carter and redshirt freshman Limas Sweed.
Player to watch: RB Cedric Benson is second in the nation in rushing (165.1 ypg), and is 10th in scoring (9.4 ppg) through seven contests. His 6.2 yards per carry ranks 13th nationally, and his 178.1 all-purpose yards per game ranks second nationally. Benson became just the second back in UT history to open the season with four-straight 100-yard rushing games, and his 1,156 rushing yards in 2004 already rank 10th on UT's single-season list. One of Cedric Benson's most productive traits on display during his career has been his ability to make yards after contact. For his career, Benson has gained 2,685 of his 4,862 career rushing yards (55.2%) after contact. In 2004, he has gained 639 of his 1,156 yards (55.2%) after contact.
KEYS for COLORADO
Colorado must keep Vince Young from getting outside the pocket, where he can be dangerous as a runner. Young is at his best when the Longhorn running game is going well. The Buffs must force Young to pass from inside the pocket.
Limit Benson's Long Runs
Benson is very good at breaking tackles and picking up yards after contact. That means the Buffs must improve upon their tackling from a week ago when they missed 19 tackles at Texas A&M.
Texas' defense under first-year co-coordinators Greg Robinson and Duane Akina has been solid in 2004. Through the seven games, the defense has allowed just 320.0 yards per game (33rd NCAA) and is giving up just 14.3 points per game (12th NCAA) this season.
Texas' linebacking duo of senior WLB Derrick Johnson and junior MLB Aaron Harris is arguably the best pair in the nation. Through seven games, the tandem has produced 155 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and eight forced fumbles. Johnson has already been named a semifinalist for the Lombardi (nation's top lineman) and Butkus (nation's top LB) awards.
Junior DT Rodrique Wright is considered by many as one of the nation's premier defensive linemen, while the secondary features a pair of two-year starters, juniors SS Michael Huff and CB Cedric Griffin. The UT secondary ranks 35th in the nation in pass defense (189.7) this season.
Player to watch: LB Derrick Johnson leads the Longhorn defense in 2004. Johnson is one of the favorites for the nation's defensive player of the year award. He leads UT with 79 tackles and has 10 TFLs, and an amazing seven forced fumbles.
KEYS for COLORADO
Mix the Run and the Pass
Texas has a great linebackers, who can dominate a game. CU must keep them off balance. That means play action passes, and running back draws from the shotgun. Throwing to the running backs and pulling a reverse now and then will also keep them honest. The shotgun formation has to as effective this week as it was last week against Texas A&M.
Senior PK Dusty Mangum has proven to be a steady and reliable kicker since claiming those duties as a true freshman in 2001. In 2004, he has converted 5-of-8 field goals and 29-of-29 PATs.
Junior punter Richmond McGee has become one of the Longhorns' top defensive weapons this season. He is averaging 40.0 yards on 29 punts in 2004. Of his 29 punts, seven have been dropped inside the opponents' 20-yard line and 14 have not been returned. McGee also handles kickoffs for the Longhorns, where 18 of his 42 kickoffs have gone for touchbacks on the year. Opponents' average starting position on McGee kickoffs has been the 21.7-yard line.