Young, Longhorns Do It Again

STILLWATER – Maybe, just maybe, Vince Young will skip his senior season at the University of Texas for the riches of the National Football League. That would certainly please Oklahoma State fans after seeing the Longhorn quarterback lead second-half comebacks against the Cowboys each of the past three seasons. Young rushed for a career-high 267 yards as Texas scored 35 points in a row to defeat Oklahoma State 47-28 Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.

It was the third consecutive year that the Cowboys led the Longhorns at halftime only to lose by a big margin. OSU led 28-12 at halftime Saturday night before being outscored 35-0 in the second half. A year ago, the Cowboys led 35-14 at halftime before the Longhorns scored 42 unanswered points. In 2003, Oklahoma State led 16-14 at intermission but was outscored 41-0 in the second half. Thus, Texas has outscored OSU 118-0 in the second half the past three seasons.

Young rushed for a career-high 267 yards and threw for another 239 to finish with 506 yards of total offense (the first player to account for more than 500 yards in a single game since Texas began playing football in 1893). He became only the seventh player in NCAA football history to pass and rush for more than 200 yards in the same game.

Oklahoma State, now 3-5 after losing its fifth in a row, now takes a week off before hosting Texas Tech on Nov. 12 at Boone Pickens Stadium. Texas, which moved up to No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series standings this past week, improved to 8-0 and has games with Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M remaining.

"I had a great time out there coaching those guys," OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. "I was so proud of the way they played. We don't accept losing, but the way our team fought tonight against what I think is the best football team in college football, I was very proud of them. I thought we had excellent game plans on both sides of the ball. They worked for us in the first half. Early in the fourth quarter we got worn down a little bit … but they played hard.

"You have to give credit to Vince Young and what he does. He was the difference in the second half. The first series (of the second half), when we're ahead 28-12, we had them on third-and-12 and we had an unblocked guy with an opportunity to tackle him in the backfield. He takes one move to the side, the guy misses him and he takes off and goes 80 yards. Have to give him credit for that."

The Cowboys didn't look like a team that had lost four in a row in the first half. Al Pena's 49-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open D'Juan Woods on a fourth-and-one play gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Texas and Young moved the length of the field to pull within 7-6 on Young's first of two touchdown passes – a 20-yarder to tight end David Thomas. The point after touchdown was blocked as the Cowboys held onto the lead.

Pena, who had committed 11 turnovers in his nine quarters of play entering the Texas game, directed a beautiful nine-play, 76-yard drive after the Longhorn touchdown. Julius Crosslin capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put OSU up 14-6 with 2:50 left in the first quarter.

OSU cornerback Daniel McLemore picked off a Young pass and returned it 21 yards on Texas' first play from scrimmage after the kickoff. Then, set up at the Longhorn 17-yard line, Pena kept on a draw play and rambled into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 21-6 lead. Texas pulled within 21-9 on David Pino's 45-yard field goal minutes later.

The Cowboys failed to convert after McLemore's 32-yard punt return gave them excellent field position at the Longhorn 15. Bruce Redden's 32-yard field goal was blocked. But on the Longhorns first play from scrimmage Young fumbled and OSU linebacker Rodrick Johnson recovered at the 29.

On second-and-10 from the 29 came the play that gave Cowboy fans hope that this was going to be the year. Pena threw to wide receiver Luke Frazier but he wasn't looking for the pass, and Longhorn safety Michael Huff had an easy interception. But the ball bounced off Huff's shoulder pads and appeared to be falling to the ground for an incompletion before D'Juan Woods grabbed it with one hand and raced untouched 29 yards into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 28-9 lead with 5:44 left in the half.

The Longhorns then drove to the Cowboy 8-yard line for a first down when Young threw to Nate Jones for what appeared to be his second touchdown pass of the game. The play was called back because of a holding penalty and the Longhorns had to eventually settle for a Pino 21-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

But the second half belonged to Young and the Longhorns. In the third quarter, while outscoring the Cowboys 21-0, Young had touchdown runs of 80 and 8 yards and also threw a 21-yard scoring pass to tight end Neale Tweedie. Romance Taylor added touchdown runs of 57 and 12 yards in the fourth quarter.

Cowboy tailback Michael Hamilton had the best game of his young career. The redshirt freshman from Melbourne, Fla., rushed for a career-high 194 yards on 31 carries. Also, Pena went without a turnover for the first time this season. He was 12 of 27 passing for 152 yards, including the two touchdown tosses to D'Juan Woods.

"Our coaching staff had to dig deep this week," said Gundy, making reference to playing without left tackle Charlie Johnson who was out with an injury. "That was an unbelievable game plan that those guys put together. With all due respect I think we've answered the questions whether this team will ever quit fighting. I know that we get a lot of those questions I guess because people want to know, but I think we've put a stop to that. This team expected to win this game."

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