Texas' offense put on a dominating display on the opening possession of the game, but still got the benefit of some bad tackling by the Cyclones. Cedric Benson rushed four times for 29 yards, while Vince Young completed both of his passes, including a 46-yard strike to Roy Williams. However, ISU's defense had its chances. Young was nearly stopped in the backfield on a 3rd-and-3, but escaped and picked up five yards for the first down. On the next play, Williams broke loose of Marc Timmons for a long gain. Benson capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown with 12:18 left in the quarter.
Despite some great field position and a change at the quarterback position, the Cyclone offense sputtered in the opening moments. A Cris Love-led unit managed just one first down in the opening three possessions, despite starting near midfield for two of the three. However, late in the period, starting at the Texas 37 after a Joe Woodley interception, the Cyclones got going. Love hit Danielsen for 13 yards on first down, and Mike Wagner netted 19 yards on his first two carries of the game.
ISU would reach the eight-yard line of Texas. But two consecutive incomplete passes brought Adam Benike onto the field for a short field goal try, which the senior had blocked 13 seconds into the quarter.
Texas countered with a long scoring drive of six plays and 80 yards. The Longhorns got a big five-yard carry by Benson on 3rd-and-4, before Williams connected with B.J. Johnson for 56 yards on a reverse pass. Two plays later, Benson walked into the end zone untouched from eight yards out, making it 14-0 with 12:32 left in the half.
After an ISU three-and-out, the Longhorns mounted another scoring drive. Mock hit on consecutive passes to Johnson for 22 yards when Billups missed a sack and a 15-yarder to Bo Scaife into the red zone. However, UT would end up settling for a 20-yard field goal from Richmond McGee.
Another early exit for the Cyclones set up a 13-play scoring drive for the Longhorns. Benson carried the load for much of the possession, rushing seven times for 21 yards. But it was a 13-yard pass from Young to Johnson that put UT up 24-0 with 1:06 left in the half.
A substitution at quarterback gave the Cyclone offense a slight boost to open the second half. Austin Flynn spelled Love and led a 51-yard drive into Longhorn territory. Flynn carried four times for 39 yards, just six shy of ISU's total offensive output in the first half. The redshirt freshman also hooked up with David Banks-Bursey for 20 yards on 3rd-and-10. However, back-to-back incomplete passes brought on Tony Yelk for a 51-yard field goal attempt. The kicker nailed it for a career-high in yardage.
ISU's defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and Flynn kept up the momentum by spearheading another scoring drive. After three carries from Stevie Hicks for 17 yards, Flynn hit Lance Young over the middle for 47 yards on 3rd-and-9. On the following play, Danielsen ran it in from three yards out on a reverse, making it 27-11 with 7:01 remaining in the quarter.
The Cyclones' new-found momentum met its match, however, in the form of a long UT scoring drive. Starting at the 20-yard line, it charged 80 yards over 14 plays.
Benson capped off the long scoring drive with a one-yard plunge over the top. A missed two-point conversion left it 33-11 with 14:15 remaining in the game.
Hicks emerged as the workhorse back Cyclone fans envisioned on the ensuing possession. The redshirt freshman carried seven times for 49 yards as ISU drove 86 yards on a touchdown drive. Flynn also held his own, hitting Jack Whitver for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-9 out pattern. He later connected with Danielsen in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. Flynn's two-point conversion run made it 33-19 with 8:23 to play.
But just when the Cyclones had hope down two scores, Texas put that optimism to rest with an 80-yard scoring drive that lasted just three plays. After hitting B.J. Johnson for 50 yards on the opening play, Mock found Roy Williams down the right sideline for 30 more. The score put the Longhorns up 40-19 with 7:07 remaining.
An ISU three-and-out signaled the end of what turned out to be an exciting second half.