at Austin, Texas • Oct. 15 • 1:30 p.m. (MT) • ABC
Head Coach: Mack Brown (8th season)
2005 Record: 5-0
Last Meeting: 2004, Texas 31, Colorado 7 (Boulder)
In case you hadn't heard, Texas quarterback Vince Young is a stud. He's picked up where he left of in last season's Rose Bowl when he came of age and toyed with the Michigan defense in the Texas win.
No longer one-dimensional, the junior beats teams in the passing game and as a runner out of UT's shotgun formation (1,021 yards passing, 355 yards rushing). Young also has that intangible that makes him a special player – a huge will. He's 22-2 as a starter for Texas.
Besides Young, Texas utilizes a pair of true freshmen in the run game, speedster Jamaal Charles (563 yards) and bruiser 270-pound Henry Melton (199 yards). However, rumor is that Charles won't start Saturday (ankle), and junior Selvin Young will get his carries. Texas leads the Big 12 and is second in the country with 288 rushing yards per game.
The Texas offense boasts one of the best offensive lines in the country, including seniors Jonathan Scott (left tackle) and Will Allen (right guard). For those who like numbers, the UT OL averages 314 pounds.
Player to watch: In the one-that-got-away department former Centennial State prepster Kasey Studdard chose Texas over Colorado at the last minute and is in his second year as starting left guard. He wears No. 64 for the Longhorns.
Matchup to Watch: Colorado Linebackers vs. Young. Just like last week, the CU defense faces a potent dual-threat quarterback. CU's brigade of ‘backers will need to contain Young when he tucks and runs.
KEY for COLORADO
Create Some Turnovers
Young has thrown five interceptions through five games. But the real eye-opener is that the Longhorns have but the ball on the carpet 17 times (losing just four). If CU has a chance of winning, they have to win the turnover category.
Asked this week to compare Young and Missouri's excellent quarterback Brad Smith, Barnett said the two were similar, but one thing that gives Young the edge is the players around him. Barnett included the Texas defense in his comment, which has given the Longhorn offense the ball in good field position this season.
UT is blitzing less than it did a year ago under departed DC Greg Robinson, but new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik has the Longhorns playing well. As usual, UT boasts NFL-sized defensive tackles, with senior Rodrique Wright and sophomore Frank Okam (who, in a fall camp surprise, beat out returning starter senior Larry Dibbles) clogging the middle.
Player to watch: No. 2, Harris, a hard-hitting 6-foot, 230-pounder has lived up to expectations in his second season as starter at MLB.
Matchup to Watch: Joel Klatt vs. the Texas blitzes. Even though they haven't blitzed as much this season as last, UT could try and rattle Klatt Saturday. Thing is, Klatt handled Texas A&M's pass rush extremely well last weekend.
Keys for COLORADO
Know You Can Win: CU players and coaches say their performance in the loss at Miami validated the belief they can play with the nation's top teams. Time for validation is officially over. It's time to display that confidence for four quarters.
Don't Stop Now
CU OC Shawn Watson called an excellent game last weekend. CU had the Aggies guessing, and guessing wrong, on nearly every series through three quarters. The Buffs were able to create mismatches all game long, and got all of their playmakers involved, including Joe Klopfenstein, Quinn Sypniewski and Lawrence Vickers. No one's mistaking UT's defense for Texas A&M's, but Watson needs to put his players in the position to move the ball.
UT Statistical Leaders
Passing: Vince Young, 68-190-1,021, 5 INT, 10 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 64-563, 8.8 ypg, 6 TD
Receiving: Billy Pittman, 13-311, 3 TD
Kickoff returns: Tarell Brown, 5-108, 0 TD
Punt returns: Aaron Ross, 15-255, 1 TD
Punting: Richmond McGee, 15-606/40.4
Tackles: Aaron Harris, 41
Tackles for loss: Brian Robison, 8.5-45
Sacks: Nathan Brian Robison, 3-31
Interceptions: Three tied with 1
Prediction: Texas 27, Colorado 17