Brown: Benson will start against CU

After his 31-carry, 131-yard first-start performance vs. Oklahoma State Saturday, <B>Cedric Benson</B> will remain in the starting lineup when Colorado comes to Austin this weekend, <B>Mack Brown</B> said Sunday.

Pass protection questions kept Benson off the field last week in Dallas, but the Texas head coach said, after reviewing the OSU film, that the true freshman played "pretty much assignment mistake-free" and did a "good job mentally" against the Cowboys to go along with his impressive rushing performance. Brown also said Benson got better as the game continued and he got the ball more, much like he did in high school when Lee coach John Parchman would mercilessly pound defenses with his star tailback.

As good as Benson played in his first collegiate start, Brown said, "we expect him to be much better this week." The Buffs will provide a stiffer defensive test for the Longhorn ground game in general and Benson in particular, the coach added, but Brown believes that challenge, and the fact that his RB will know throughout the practice week that he's the No. 1 guy, will push the true freshman to excel.

"I'm sure he puts a tremendous amount of pressure on himself," the head coach said. "He's got high expectations of himself (and) he's a very competitive young man. He's been as successful as anyone in his high school career and I'm sure he expects that to remain the same (at the college level)."

Based on Benson's post-game comments Saturday -- "I'm gonna try to keep this job till my days here are up" -- that looks to be the case.

To some, that statement may sound overly bold, even cocky, but when the true freshman said the words, he said them without a trace of ego. Confident, yes. Cocky, no.

"He is a team player," Brown said. "He's not an ego guy. He wants to block well and run routes well. Those are the things he's trying to improve to help his team."

Notes: Benson yesterday became the first UT freshman back since Ricky Williams in '95 to rush for 100-plus yards in a game. Williams topped the 100-yard mark three times that season on his way to gaining a Texas freshman record 990 yards. Through six games this year, Benson has 317 rushing yards, 673 yards from Ricky's record (Ivan Williams remains the team leader with 494 yards after a nine-carry, 70-yard performance against the Cowboys). The Midland Lee product would have to average just over his OSU total of 131 per game over the season's final five games to reach the record. . . . Benson had 52 yards after contact in the Oklahoma State game, one of the key RB stats that the coaches evaluate. . . . Brown said Sunday that the Horns performed well against the Cowboys in all phases of the WIT stats (turnovers, explosive plays and first down, third down and red zone efficiency) except for opponent's third down efficiency. OSU finished six of 13 (46-percent) and the benchmark figure for the defense is 44-percent or less. . . . This weekend's Colorado game will kick at 2:30 and be broadcast regionally on ABC. . . . The Horns climbed to No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 rankings released earlier today. Texas moved to No. 9 in the AP poll. Fresno State, which is No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today rankings, occupies the No. 8 spot in the AP poll. In both polls, UT (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) is the second-highest-ranked one-loss team in the country, behind former No. 1 Florida, which lost last night to Auburn 23-20. . . . The Horns suffered no significant injuries during the game in Stillwater. The status of RB Victor Ike (bruised ribs) and RDE Kalen Thornton (sprained knee) will not be announced until later today.


Horns Digest Top Stories