"Once I saw that happen, I knew it was gonna be down hill the whole game," Benson said.
The play was set up after the fire-breathing Texas defense yielded all of one yard on UNT's opening offensive series, followed by a 15-yard interference penalty call at the end of a 34-yard Brad Kadlubar punt. Following another UNT three-and-out, Texas took over on its own 40 where Vince Young connected with FL Tony Jeffery in the right flat for 14. The drive resulted in a 37-yard Dusty Mangum FG, upping the Longhorn lead to 10-0 with 9:43 remaining in the quarter.
A 43-yard punt spotted Texas at its own 44 with backup RB Selvin Young giving Benson a breather. A 10-yard strike to SE Limas Sweed moved the chains on 3rd and seven. Then on 3rd-and-6, Young found TE David Thomas over the middle for 12. A swing pass to FB Will Matthews was good for 11, moving the down markers to the 16. From there, Selvin bounced outside of RT Justin Blalock's pancake block to scoot in from the 16, completing the 56-yard, eight-play drive.
DT Larry Dibbles, DE Kaelen Jakes and DE Neale Tweedie checked in on UNT's fourth offensive series. The Mean Green picked up two quick first downs with a pair of 19-yard completions (a right sideline pass to TE Andy Blount and a left sideline pass to RB James Mitchell). But on 1st-and-10 from the Texas 42, WLB Derrick Johnson forced a WR Zach Muzzy fumble at the end of swing pass that Jakes recovered at the 37.
"To be the number one defense, you have to force turnovers," Johnson said. "It's what we've been working on in practice and we saw it on the field."
Texas went quickly to the air with Young's 36-yard play action pass over the middle to Thomas. From there, Benson and Matthews just pounded the Mean Green behind a massive line surge: Benson over right guard for 9, Matthews up the middle for 4, Benson up the middle for 8 and Benson up the middle for 4. On 1st-and-goal from the two, Matthews was rewarded with a two-yard TD plunge. Texas lead 24-0 with 59 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Following another North Texas three-and-out, Texas took over at its own 29 where a pair of Benson runs generated 21 yards. Young's 3rd-and-four middle pass to Scaife picked up five, but the sixth-year senior was whistled for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. On 1st and 10 from 46, Young strolled for 19 on the zone read play around right end. From the 35, Benson's cutback run netted 24 yards to the UNT 11 as Cedric topped the century mark early in the second quarter. Young's seven yard completion to WR Brian Carter was ruled out of bounds but Mangum's 24-yarder gave Texas a 27-0 advantage with 10:25 remaining until intermission.
Facing 3rd-and-11 from their own 31, QB Scott Hall found Blount on a 13-yard completion where D.J. welcomed him to DKR with his second forced fumbled of the half. FS Phillip Geiggar recovered at the UNT 44. But Texas failed to score for the only time in the entire first half when Young's right sideline pass to Scaife fell incomplete on 4th-and-3.
DJ wasted no time showing why he is the leading Butkus Award candidate, forcing a Hall fumble that freshman DT Frank Okam advanced six yards to the Texas 29. Benson rumbled for 18 and then, on 2nd-and-goal from the 9, the senior back raced around left end, reaching the one behind Jeffery's flattening block. From there, Benson bulled in from the one as Texas increased its lead, 34-0.
On Texas' next possession, Selvin Young displayed the hiccup-quick explosiveness he possessed prior to the groin injury suffered last September 21 against Rice. On 3rd-and-2, Young carried it in from 48 yards to cap a 74-yard, five play drive. Now, Texas lead 41-0 with just under two minutes remaining until half. Another three-and-out gave Mack (the Knife) a chance to run the one minute offense just before intermission. The half ended with Mangum's 48-yard FG, capping a seven-play, 38-yard drive that took the final 43 seconds off the clock.
Heading into the locker room, the Horns had gored the visitors for 258 rushing yards on 30 carries while UNT had minus-seven yards on 11 attempts.
Vince Young launched the second half with a 33-yard rush over right end. His two-yard left sideline pass to Matthews capped a 71-yard, seven-play drive to open the second frame. Mangum's PAT made it 51-0 with 2:46 eclipsed from the third quarter. At this point, the only question was when backup QB Matt Nordgren gets into the game. It happened following the next UNT punt. The result, however, was Texas' first punt of the contest at the 7:21 mark of the third quarter (a bad bounce netted just 27 yards for P Richmond McGee).
Displaying his best Vince Young imitation to date, Nordgren bolted 32 yards around right end on the zone read. Then, Selvin Young topped the century mark with his 18-yard dash. RB Ramonce Taylor (remember: he's R.T. now) picked up 10 on his first collegiate carry. Nordgren was given the honors of carrying it over from the one to finish the 59-yard, six-play drive. PK David Pino added the PAT to make it 58-0 with 2:38 remaining in the quarter.
After losing three yards on first down at the UT 13, R.T. rushed over left end for 15. That set up the longest running play of the evening: exhibiting the burst that garnered Texas 5A first-team honors, R.T. rushed up the middle, cut left, turned on the jets and raced 74 yards before being lassoed at the 1-yard line. Walk-on FB Ahmard Hall carried it over to complete the scoring, putting the finishing touches on both the four-play, 87-yard drive and Texas' biggest season-opening win since 1916. R.T. finished just four yards shy of joining Young and Benson in the 100-yard club.
"The way we came out and ran the football today is just gonna carry over into next week," Benson predicted.
Texas travels to Arkansas, 7:45 p.m. (CDT) Saturday on an ESPN national telecast and looking to avenge last year's upset in Austin.