Oct. 15, 2005
Young's Air Raid Grounds Buffs
By Bill Frisbie
AUSTIN -- Behind a record-setting passing performance from freak-of-nature QB Vince Young, Texas dismantled a No. 24 Colorado team, 42-17, that it will likely face in the Big 12 title game this December. The Heisman hopeful threw for a career-best 336 yards and two TDs, making it look easy on an extraordinary 25-of-29 passing day.
We'll let NFL scouts worry about his release (in hopefully two years), but Young completed 16 of his first 18 passes as all five of Texas' first half drives concluded in the Colorado end zone. It remains to be seen if Young's outing -- he committed no turnovers and set a new school record by completing 86.2 percent of his attempts -- will be enough to earn BCS style points when the rankings are released Monday. But head coach Mack Brown surmised it just may have been the best overall performance of Young's career. He also added three rushing TDs and, in essence, did it in three quarters as backup QB Matt Nordgren checked-in with 9:40 remaining.
"The question mark, even after the Rose Bowl, was whether Vince and the receiving corps was ready to have a passing attack. I think we answered that today," Brown said.
Is there any one out there who doesn't believe Young has now evolved into a dual-threat QB who can beat you with his arm?
(insert sound of crickets chirping)
And he's only getting better. Again, we're seeing VY pick up blitzes that would have been drive-killers last season. He is finding secondary receivers and making pre-snap decisions that are all but lost on the casual fan. Case-in-point: Young checked-off at the line of scrimmage on 2nd-and-2 from the Colorado 35 and changed SE Limas Sweed's route. The result was a TD toss on a post pattern, the first scoring reception of Sweed's career in Memorial Stadium, and an insurmountable 35-3 Longhorn lead.
The play called for Sweed to run a curl.
"The defensive back was sitting hard on in so he checked me to a streak," Sweed told me. "I just ran and stepped on his toes. Vince just laid it up. I just shielded the guy off of me and looked it in."
RB Selvin Young subbed for a gimpy Jamaal Charles (tweaked left ankle) and finished with 43 yards on 19 carries. The junior still has the fight but not nearly the burst he once had (particularly on east-west carries) prior to suffering a season-ending broken ankle at Arkansas last season. Charles briefly checked into the game on Texas' second possession but coaches opted to sideline him after carrying the ball three times for eight yards.
Even without Charles 8.8 ypc average, Texas managed 145 yards rushing against a CU rush defense that entered the game rated No. 6 nationally. Following a trend, the Buffs are the latest in a line of teams that stack the line and dare VY to beat them through the air.
"I think it's great for us to be the second-leading rushing team in the nation and throw for 337 yards," Brown said. "That tells people we've got the ability to do both."
Almost on cue, Young praised his offensive line ("I think I'm going to have to take them all out to eat this week") for giving him ample opportunity to pick apart what was, frankly, a suspect CU secondary. It was just a matter of taking what the defense was giving him, according to Young.
"The biggest thing for this game was using what the coaches taught me all week and making sure I get all the guys involved," Young said.
Three days after Brown bemoaned his team's post-Oklahoma lackluster effort at practice, it was a focused and fiery group of Longhorns that served notice from the opening series that this one was going to be no contest and showed no signs of easing up until after staking a 25-point halftime lead. The Horns did most of their damage in the first half, scoring on their first five possessions.
"So much for hangover," Brown grinned. "I worried about it all week, but the young people did what they were supposed to do and our coaches did what they were supposed to do."
And Vince told Brown to chill.
"Hey, coach, we're fine," VY told him. "Don't worry about us."
The first time a Texas drive didn't conclude in the Colorado end zone was on its first possession of the second half when David Pino misfired on a 39-yard FG attempt. Previously, Pino had connected on all five of his FG attempts this season. Texas notched 482 yards of total offense and dominated the game clock by holding the ball for 38:54. The Horns converted 7-of-8 third down attempts during the first half and 10-of-17 for the game. In fact, Colorado did not force a Texas punt until there was 4:18 remaining in the third quarter.
The only tense moment for Horn fans was when VY lay motionless on the field following a carry late in the third quarter. Moments later, he walked to the bench on the Texas sideline where trainers replaced his microchip. (Seriously, VY had the breath knocked out of him after falling on the ball.)
Young's efforts all but overshadowed another suffocating performance by the Longhorn defense. Gene Chizik's crew held the Buffs to 45 yards rushing on 19 carries and were in QB Joel Klatt's face all afternoon.
Klatt bears a reputation as one who is not easily rattled but Chizik's game plan was try to get inside his head anyway. The Horns based out of their 4-3 but, at times, stacked the outside linebackers on the LOS to get to Klatt. Chizik also blitzed safeties, blitzed cornerbacks and threw some zone blitzes at Klatt. Texas also showed some nickel and dime coverage but, hey, the fifth-year signal caller is no Rhett Bomar. Klatt finished with 19-of-39 passing for 189 yards, including two TD and one INT.
"We have six DBs who could play anywhere," said SS Michael Huff, who led Texas with eight tackles. "We're just gonna line up and play."
Colorado was the only Big 12 team that Texas did not own a series lead versus. With the win, Texas now holds an 8-7 edge over the Buffs and has now taken four-of-five from the bunch from Boulder. The Horns are 3-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in school history while the 6-0 start is the program's best since 1983.
Colorado Turning Point
By Dusty Mangum
It was another great Saturday in Austin to be a Longhorn fan. The Buffaloes were running scared back to Boulder after Texas dismantled Colorado 42-17.
The turning point in the game came very early this week. Both sides of the ball came out flying for the Horns, putting to rest any doubts about a "let-down" game after the shellacking of Oklahoma last weekend. The defense opened the game holding the Buffaloes to a three-and-out. On CU's first play from scrimmage, Rod Wright and the Texas front stuffed RB Hugh Charles for no gain. Following a seven-yard completion on second-and-10, Aaron Harris pressured Buff QB Joel Klatt into a third-down misfire intended for TE Joe Klopfenstein. This wasn't the Aggie defense that Colorado pummeled last week.
The Longhorn offense answered the call early as well with a 16-play drive measuring 90 yards, capped off with the first of Vince Youngs three rushing touchdowns. On the drive, Young completed seven of eight pass attempts for 81 yards.
Colorado regained the ball for its second drive of the afternoon, and actually gaining a first down, but it was short-lived excitement for Buffs because they only held the ball for three more plays before punting it back over to the Horns. Vince finished off the six-play second drive of the afternoon with a dazzling 16-yard run, pushing the score to 14-0. Texas never looked back.
With the Horns flying around the field on defense and able to put up points quick and early on offense, they took the heart and will out of the Buffaloes by halftime.
Overall, Vince Young was once again in Heisman form, completing 25 of 29 pass attempts for 336 yards and two touchdowns, as well as adding 58 yards on the ground and another three touchdowns. As the cliché goes, "You cannot stop him, you can only hope to contain him." Colorado did not even come close. Vince was able to just sit back in the pocket and progress through his reads whenever he was passing, and run through holes that a Mack truck could have been driven through. Billy Pittman continues to shine catching ball after ball. His three catches for 99 yards helped to open up the Horns' offense. Limas Sweed added seven receptions for 88 yards with two touchdowns.
The only form of offense the Buffs could seem to muster was a passing "attack" that resulted in 192 yards through the air. Maybe it was the thicker air? Hopefully this is just a preview of what is to come versus the pass happy Texas Tech Red Raiders next weekend.
With a high-powered Red Raider offense coming up this weekend, Colorado was a good opponent to face after Oklahoma. Teams have been known to "let-down" after an emotional win over a big rival. But Texas did a great job of staying focused and getting the job done. Its the Texas way Its what we do!
Culpepper's Commentary: Colorado
By Pat Culpepper
Yes, Colorado kept their safeties inside the "box" (line of scrimmage area) for most of the game to slow down the Longhorn rushing attack, which exposed their cornerbacks to the worst day in their young lives. Texas wide receivers Limas Sweed, Ramonce Taylor, Billy Pittman and Brian Carter enjoyed the high school, backed-off corner play most of the afternoon.
David Thomas had five more receptions out of the 25 completions Vince Young threw. Since Thomas had to start from the tight end position, he was going against Colorado's safeties and linebackers. That doesn't seem fair. The Buffalo LBs couldn't maneuver with Thomas and after the catches Thomas ran over the safeties.
It was hot down in the bottom of the DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium where I sit. Since I was four rows behind the Buffalo benches, I can say without reservation that frustration set in early. Buff defensive players were sweating and couldn't figure out what was going on.
Colorado Defensive Coordinator Mike Hankwitz wore out two legal pads trying to chart adjustments against the high level smart bombs being dropped on his troops.
It is easy to second guess, but without Jamaal Charles in the Longhorn attack (which was apparent after the Port Arthur freshman tried three ineffective runs in the first quarter), why play to stop the run if you're Tech?
Selvin Young's only consistently positive contribution for Texas is in pass protection. He is not playing like a Division I running back. Almost without fail, it was "second and nine" when he finished carrying the football. The closed down safeties had little to do with stopping Young -- don't be misled by Longhorn PR.
It looked like he might break through after he picked up nine yards on one of his 19 carries but he soon went back into his shell. It was the perfect time for him to fight for every yard to show his teammates, coaches and fans he belonged in the Longhorn huddle, but it did not happen.
Because Young played with a lack of energy and desperation, the other Young in the Texas backfield took it on himself to run for first downs and touchdowns.
Vince Young got hammered twice but he dished out his share of punishment. On the opponent's sidelines in the first quarter, No. 10 lowered his shoulder to make a first down and made a statement to the Buffaloes.
I counted slowly to five several different times when Vince Young was standing in the pocket waiting for his receivers to get open. The pass protection was exceptional. Like good workmen, the Texas offensive line goes to battle each week without hearing the accolades or interviews of the glamour positions. They are good -- darn good.
The Longhorn defense played lights out during the first quarter and half of the second, allowing Vince Young and the Texas air force to build up a 28-0 lead. Rodrique Wright, Brian Robison, Tim Crowder, Larry Dibbles and Frank Okam stopped the Buffalo front charge and made the Buff attack all pass, and Colorado can't play that game and win.
I heard some Texas fans upset that the Longhorns didn't try to run up the score late in the fourth quarter. Dear Longhorn fans -- do you realize who Texas most probably will play should they win the Big 12 South?
Believe me, should Texas reach the title game, Colorado will not be the same team on Dec. 3 in Houston. Coach Brown pulled Vince Young after the Longhorns made it 42-10 on a 13-yard pass and beautiful catch by Limas Sweed for a reason. Enough was enough in this situation.
The Longhorns need both Jamaal Charles and cornerback/punt returner Aaron Ross, who appeared to suffer a groin injury of unspecified severity on a fourth quarter kickoff return, this next weekend against Texas Tech.
Now, let's see, this last Saturday versus Kansas State, the Red Raiders threw 72 passes. The Texas-Texas Tech game starts at 2:30 p.m., which means you won't leave the stadium until after 7 p.m.!
Last year, the Longhorns controlled the football behind the running of Cedric Benson and Vince Young. The Texas defense gave up 14 points early before they figured out what was going on.
Coach Gene Chizik saw the big line splits versus Missouri in the spread offense, but in all his years as a coach he has never faced a flying circus like Mike Leach's Red Raiders.
Quarterback Cody Hodges of Tech is Leach's first creation at signalcaller that can run and the Tech defense is the best Leach has had.
The most hazardous position on the field could well be the chain crew trying to catch up with the first downs! I call it Texas 45, Tech 35 in an old-fashioned shootout.