South Plains Shootout? No, A UT Blowout

LUBBOCK -- The Texas Longhorns had something to prove in Lubbock Saturday night. And no one Longhorn more so than Vince Young.

The Horns' sophomore QB had endured two weeks of heavy criticism, rivaled only by the barbs leveled at offensive coordinator Greg Davis, following the O's scoreless performance in Dallas and a two-INT breakdown against Missouri. Heck, even Tech players called out VY and his Texas offense, with Red Raider CB Antonio Huffman even predicting a Tech win due to UT's one-dimensional offense.

Young had a prediction of his own. "We're gonna pound that guy, that's all I know," he said.

Consider it done.

Texas ran and passed all over Huffman and the Red Raiders, sending many of the record Jones SBC Stadium crowd to the exits before the start of the fourth quarter as the Horns drove for another score in what turned out to be a 51-21 demolishing of the upstart hosts.

"I got a bunch of criticism," Young said of the last two weeks. "'Vince can't do this, Vince can't do that.' I just try to go out there and play my game and have fun with it, running the ball and throwing the ball well, so I just tried to stay focused on that."

That fun and focus led to arguably Young's best performance in the Orange and White. He rushed for 158* yards and four TDs on 25 carries and, perhaps more importantly in terms of UT's future success, completed 10-of-15 passes for 142 yards and one TD, with just one bad (read: almost intercepted) toss in the bunch.

Add in Cedric Benson's workman-like 168 yards on 38 carries and you've got an offensive explosion to the tune of 493 yards and an almost 20-minute time of possession advantage (39:12-to-20:48).

That's two-dimensional, Mr. Huffman.

"I thought Vince played like we see him in practice every day," Mack Brown said post-game.

The Texas coaches may have helped prompt that effort with a tape viewing earlier in the week. The coaches put together a highlight reel of 20 or so plays, including from last year's Oklahoma State and Tech games, with gushing talking head commentary and all.

"We showed him film and said, 'Here's who you are, here's who we want you to be again'," Brown said.

After a scoreless possession by each team to open the game, the typical Texas-Texas Tech shootout ensued, but for only about a quarter. The Red Raiders took less than two minutes and just five plays to cover 86 yards and score the game's first points at the halfway point of the first. Sonny Cumbie's completion to a crossing Nehemiah Glover for 58 yards set up Tech at the Longhorn three and Taurean Henderson took it in for six two plays later for a 7-zip Tech lead.

Texas answered in methodical fashion with dose after dose after dose of Vince Young. The Texas QB answered the Raiders' early score by almost single-handedly leading the Horns on an 11-play, 80-yard equalizing scoring drive. The sophomore signalcaller completed both of his pass attempts on that first scoring drive, but did most of the damage with his feet, rushing eight times for 48 yards, including a two-yard TD run to the right pylon. Young also punched in UT's second score a little over two minutes later with another two-yarder, this one on an option keeper to the left side where he strolled in untouched.

Young's longest completion of the day, and longest to a wide receiver all season, went to Tony Jeffery, who got behind Huffman on a deep post. That play, the first of UT's fourth possession, pushed Texas into Tech territory and on the way to the go-ahead-and-never-look-back score to make it 21-14 mid-way through the second quarter.

After a missed David Pino field goal on the Horns' next possession, Texas put points on the board on its next six possessions to blow it open while the defense basically grounded the air Raiders.

Mack Brown called the end of the first half field goal drive, which sent Texas into the lockerroom up 24-14, and the TD drive that opened the second half pushing the advantage to 31-14, key drives of the game. On the defensive side of the ball, Brown pointed to Aurmon Satchell's first quarter INT, what turned out to be the only turnover of the game and which set up the Horns' second score.

But the Horns also gained an advantage from an unlikely source, according to Brown: that same criticism and doubt accumulated over the last two weeks that VY referenced in his post-game comments.

"I felt like coming in that everybody felt like Tech was going to win and that was probably a plus for us because that doesn't happen often at The University of Texas," the Texas head coach said. "We're not an underdog very often and our guys took it as a challenge."

Tech finished with 386 total yards (403 passing and -17 rushing), with almost 200 of those coming in the fourth quarter after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

"We knew it was going to be a big task to hold these guys to a minimum amount of points but we got the job done," Derrick Johnson said. "Made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of the game that we corrected on the sideline and my hats are off to the coaches. They did a great job preparing for this game..."

Greg Robinson went with three down linemen much of the game, with Rod Wright and Larry Dibbles alternating at nose tackle, "spinner" Eric Hall playing on the line at DE, DT and back in coverage. DT Frank Okam moved out to DE, registered a sack of Sonny Cumbie and was often responsible for the pressure that frazzled the Tech QB. And everyone across the D came to hit.

"(Our guys) got hit in the mouth and didn't want to win as much as Texas did," Raider head man Mike Leach said in a post-game press conference that turned into an unusually harsh indictment of his team.

But the most dead-on post-game comment I heard came from a Tech fan, who, when a companion said, "We didn't come to play tonight," responded, "No, that wasn't it. Texas just came to play."

With the win, the Horns move to 6-1 on the season and 3-1 in the Big 12, a game behind South-leading OU and A&M.

*The original version of this story listed Young with 163 rushing yards. He did indeed gain 163 yards, but he also lost five yards, which netted out to 158.

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