Young threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 76 yards as No. 2-ranked Texas rallied late to defeat No. 4 Ohio State 25-22 in a classic college football game played before an Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 105,565.
The Buckeyes (1-1) forced three Texas turnovers, including two interceptions of Young. But they had to settle for five Josh Huston field goals. A 50-yard miss by Huston with 5:00 left denied the Buckeyes a chance to grab a commanding 25-16 lead.
Instead, Texas drove 67 yards in seven plays to grab the lead. Young's 24-yard touchdown pass to Limas Sweed gave Texas a 23-22 lead with 2:37 left.
OSU had two possessions after that. But the quarterback tandem of Justin Zwick and Troy Smith each made costly mistakes. Zwick lost a fumble with 2:19 left. Then, after OSU got the ball back on its own 1 with 25 seconds left, Smith was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Texas (2-0) became the first visiting team to defeat Ohio State in a night game at Ohio Stadium in seven tries. This was also the first meeting ever between these two tradition rich schools.
"I think you have to start with the fact that our kids played their hearts out and played hard and fought hard and played against a very tough football team in Texas," said OSU coach Jim Tressel. "Tip the cap, their kids played extremely hard. It was a well-fought football game. It was disappointing that we had many opportunities and didn't cash in on enough to win.
"We've got great seniors and excellent leaders like the ones sitting here and we're going to have a good football team, but obviously we have to be much more consistent than we were this evening."
OSU would now have to be considered a long shot at a chance at the national championship. Tressel was asked if he thinks this loss could haunt his team.
"We think we're capable of winning every game," Tressel said. "I don't know what haunt means exactly, but it disappoints me because of these guys sitting at this table right now and those guys that are seniors that have done such a great job of getting us prepared for this game. We didn't come through for them, but I don't know about getting haunted. It is disappointing."
Texas coach Mack Brown saw his team cement its place as at least the No. 2 team and, after a road win of this magnitude, they could get some consideration to supplant USC at No. 1.
"First, let me say what a great college football game," Brown said. "You've got to give Ohio State credit. Jim had those guys ready to play. They played 60 minutes of football. They played like he likes to play, they forced turnovers, they were great in their kicking games and they took it down to the wire. We've all heard all week about the ‘Shoe and it lived up to expectations. These people are wonderful fans, they're loud, you can't hear at all."
Brown had a rap as a coach who could not win the big one.
"I don't think you ever silence critics anymore," he said. "Critics are critics because they're called critics and that's what they're paid for. We have to go back and beat Rice next week and there will be critics in the morning. What you do learn at Ohio State and Texas is you do your best and understand there will be critics and you're not perfect and you make mistakes, we've made them tonight and I'll always make them and I'm not worried about that anymore."
Young had a similarly huge performance in last year's Rose Bowl win over Michigan. Against OSU, he completed 18 of 29 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also carried 20 times for 76 yards. His top receiver was Billy Pittman, who had five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.
For OSU, Zwick made his second start of the season, but Smith relieved on the third series. Zwick and Smith split duties in the second half.
Smith ended up 5 of 11 passing for 78 yards and one touchdown. He also carried 13 times for 27 yards. Zwick was 9 of 15 passing for 66 yards.
Tressel talked about the rationale behind the rotation.
"I suppose like anything, when they work, it was a good idea, and when they didn't work, it wasn't," he said. "I think what you have to do, whenever you make decisions, is always go back and talk about why you made the decisions and where they were right and where they perhaps weren't right and same thing when you call a play or when you call a blitz or whatever it happens to be, but that's what we do. We go back and work to get better, evaluate ourselves."
Tailback Antonio Pittman had 75 yards on 17 carries.
Huston, a sixth-year senior, sat behind All-American Mike Nugent for the previous four years. But in his biggest game, he made 5 of 6 field goal tries. He had makes of 45, 36, 25, 44 and 26 yards before a 50-yard miss for the Buckeyes.
Defensively, linebacker A.J. Hawk had an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery. Safety Nate Salley also intercepted a pass.
Texas forced a three-and-out on OSU's first possession, then drove 64 yards in 11 plays for the game's first points. The key play was a 32-yard run by Vince Young, where the play action was headed left and he crossed up the defense by going right. His big run gave UT a first down at the OSU 38. He then kept the ball for a 10-yard gain down to the OSU 24.
But after three straight incompletions – the last one broken up by OSU's Ashton Youboty in the end zone – Texas settled for David Pino's 42-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 10:03 left in the first quarter.
Zwick got a second opportunity to direct the offense, but only managed one first down before the Buckeyes again had to punt. Texas answered with a 10-play, 84-yard touchdown drive. Young got it started with a 33-yard pass to Billy Pittman on the first play. A pass interference penalty on Youboty gave Texas a first down at the OSU 16. Finally, Vince Young hit Pittman on a slant pass for the 5-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
OSU's Holmes then returned ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the OSU 49. A Texas late hit penalty on the return moved the ball to the Texas 36. But an OSU holding penalty wiped out a nice gain by Antonio Pittman on an option play and the Buckeyes had to settle for a 45-yard field goal by Josh Huston, cutting the lead to 10-3 with 14:17 left in the first half.
The Buckeyes finally forced a Texas punt and took over on their own 20-yard line. Smith then engineered a nine-play, 80-yard scoring march. He converted a key third down with a 12-yard toss to Anthony Gonzalez. Smith then got 11 yards on a quarterback draw.
Finally, on third-and-8 at the Texas 36, Smith dropped and threw a perfect go pass down the left sideline. Holmes caught it at the goal line and fought off Texas' Cedric Griffin to complete the 36-yard touchdown and tie the game at 10-10 with 8:11 left in the first half.
The Buckeyes surged ahead moments later as defensive end Mike Kudla swarmed Vince Young and forced an errant pass, which Hawk intercepted. He made a cross-country return 24 yards down to the Texas 18. The Buckeyes were unable to threaten, though, as Smith was sacked on third down. Huston's 36-yard field goal gave OSU a 13-10 lead with 4:33 left in the half.
Things went from bad to worse for Texas as Selvin Young was hit by defensive end Jay Richardson and fumbled. Hawk was again on the spot with the recovery at the Texas 30-yard line with 3:45 left in the half.
The Buckeyes lost 9 yards on their first two plays before Smith found a wide open Gonzalez for 21 yards and a first down at the Texas 18. He then hit Holmes for a 12-yard gain and a first down at the 6. But a Smith keeper lost 2 yards and two more incompletions left OSU to bring in Huston for a 25-yard field goal, which pushed the lead to 16-10 with 35 seconds left in the half.
Texas got a break on the kickoff as Tarell Brown returned it just 12 yards to the Texas 31. But an OSU late hit penalty moved the ball to the 46. Then, Vince Young hit Jamaal Charles on a crossing route for a 36-yard gain down to the OSU 18. Young then ran the ball twice and, with just eight seconds left, Pino came on and made a 37-yard field goal to cut the OSU halftime lead to 16-13.
Texas got the ball to start the second half, but on the second play Vince Young passed over the middle and OSU's Bobby Carpenter tipped it into the air. Safety Nate Salley made the sliding interception at the Texas 37 just 31 seconds into the half.Pittman had runs of 7 and 4 yards to give OSU a first down at the Texas 26. But Smith fumbled the snap on third-and-8 at the 24. He recovered, but OSU had to settle for Huston's 44-yard field goal and a 19-13 lead with 11:46 left in the third quarter.
The Buckeyes dodged a major bullet moments later as Vince Young avoided blitzing linebacker Anthony Schlegel and threw a bullet in stride to Pittman. He was off to the races, but OSU freshman cornerback Malcolm Jenkins made the touchdown-saving – and perhaps game-saving – tackle at the OSU 5. Still, it was a 63-yard pass play and the Longhorns were in business. After a false start penalty, though, Young netted 1 yard on three running plays. Carpenter made the key third-down stop on a blitz for OSU. Pino's 26-yard field goal cut the OSU lead to 19-16 with 7:36 left in the third.
OSU's Ted Ginn Jr. then returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards to the OSU 47. Pittman ripped off a 17-yard gain around right end on first down there. Zwick, who returned with this series, then hit a leaping Roy Hall for a 22-yard gain down to the 13. Pittman got 5 yards on first down, but Zwick then threw a pair of incompletions toward tight end Ryan Hamby in the end zone. On the second one, Hamby bobbled the ball twice before coming down with an apparent touchdown – only to have Texas' Cedric Griffin break up the pass with a big hit.
Huston came on and hit his fifth field goal, a 26-yarder, for a 22-16 lead with 5:12 left in the third quarter.
But his 50-yard miss with 5:00 left was wide right by just two feet.
That set the stage for Young's heroics as he led the Longhorns on their winning drive. It was capped as Sweed got behind corner Ashton Youboty and Salley was late getting over to defend the play.
* This was the first meeting ever between these two storied programs.
Coming into the season, Texas was fourth all-time in NCAA Division I annals with a winning percentage of .711 (787-310-33) and third overall in wins.
By contrast, OSU was sixth in winning percentage at .709 (764-298-53) and tied for fifth in wins at 764. Michigan and Notre Dame are 1-2 on both lists.
* Texas has now won 10 straight road games and 22 of its last 23 road games at opponents' home stadiums. The lone loss in that stretch was a 42-38 loss at Texas Tech in 2002. Texas is 26-6 overall on the road under Brown.
* OSU is now 27-4-1 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12. Texas is now 10-5 all-time against current Big Ten members.
* OSU is now 5-2 against top-10 teams under Jim Tressel. That includes a win over No. 1 Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl. The loss was to then-No. 5 Michigan in 2003.
* OSU is now 63-45-8 all-time against top-10 opponents, including 24-23-4 in Ohio Stadium.
* This was the 25th time in Ohio State history that the Buckeyes were involved in a game with two top-five teams. Ohio State now has a record of 15-9-1 in those games.
In Ohio Stadium, OSU is now 7-2 all-time in games matching top-five teams. The only previous loss was to Oklahoma (29-28) in 1977.
* The win snapped OSU's win streak in home nonconference games at 36. Since 1983, OSU is 50-2 in home nonconference games. The other loss was in 1990 against USC (35-26).
* OSU had won its last 14 games against Big 12 opponents, dating to the 1977 loss to Oklahoma. That includes bowl wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State the last two years.
* The Buckeyes are now 6-1 all-time in night games in Ohio Stadium since the first one in 1985 (Pittsburgh, 10-7). The last night game was a 28-9 win over Washington in 2003. All-time (including bowl games), OSU is now 25-9 in night games.