Nov. 12, 2005
Horns K.O. KU
By Bill Frisbie
AUSTIN -- Texas would not need a 4th-and-18 miracle from QB Vince Young against Kansas this time. Instead, the Heisman favorite became the school's all-time leader in total offense as the No. 2 Longhorns clinched the Big 12 South Championship on Senior Day in Austin with a 66-14 shellacking of the Jayhawks.
This is a monster football team that gets scarier every week. The stats are staggering, as the Horns jumped to a 42-0 bulge before Kansas even collected a first down. Texas could have scored 100 had head coach Mack Brown not called off the dogs midway through the third quarter. The bottom line, however, is Texas will appear in the Big 12 title game for the fourth time in the league's inaugural decade and is on a collision course to meet USC for the national championship.
"For the seniors, this is something we haven't accomplished before," LDT Rod Wright said following his final game at DKR. "A lot of people criticized us for not winning the big game or for not being tough. It's been a long road. Sitting on the tenth game and having 10 wins already and clinching the South feels great."
It is clearly the most dominant Longhorn squad since 1977 when Earl Campbell bludgeoned opponents and the rush defense set the Texas post-War standard (2.13 ypc). The 617 yards of offense Saturday marks the first time in school history that the team has generated 600+ yards three times in one season, and it's come on consecutive weekends. The output ties the 1977 team for No. 9 all-time while the current team has produced five of the program's Top 25 offensive games. The 52 points during the first 30 minutes of play ties a record that dates back to 1974, while the 66 points is the most Texas has scored in a Big 12 Conference game. It was the sixth time this year that Texas scored 50+ points, which leads the nation. And it came against a Kansas team that entered the game boasting the nation's top run defense (64.1 ypg) while limiting foes to 18.2 ppg.
So, should we start referring to OC Greg Davis as the 'Ol Ball Coach or just give Young the Heisman?
You could see this one coming last Monday. That's when VY was still operating on a slow-burn when reminded the day before of the comments Kansas coach Mark Mangino made following Texas' last-second comeback win in Lawrence last season. Mangino's well-documented accusations that game officials gave Texas preferential treatment to preserve its BCS standing were fresh still on Young's mind even after he upped his record to 27-2 as a starter.
"I took it real personally," he said Saturday. "He was talking about our players and our coaches. That's like some talking about your mother."
It was another mother of an outing for Young who did all of his damage in less than three quarters of play. VY was 19-of-27 passing for 281 yards, including a career-best four TDs and no interceptions. He also passed former QB Major Applewhite as Texas' all-time leader in total offense with 8,269 yards.
"It means he's really good," Davis quipped.
Kansas had allowed just two rushing TDs all season; Texas matched that with just 2:47 eclipsed from the second quarter when RB Ramonce Taylor carried it in from eight yards out. The Jayhawks were holding opponents to 24 percent on third-down conversions, but Texas continued its average of moving the chains on half of its attempts with a 7-of-14 showing.
Texas' committee of tailbacks combined for 336 yards as Taylor led all rushers with 96 yards on 14 carries, including two TDs. RT logged his second straight start at RB and said earlier in the week UT coaches noticed a "wrinkle" in KU's top-ranked run defense.
"They were putting too many in the box," he said, "and we felt like if we got to the outside they would start widening and then we could starting running up the middle."
Texas also made a living with play-action pass off the zone read. Senior TE David Thomas led all receivers with 76 yards on four receptions, including a 32-yard TD grab. With his third catch of the game, Thomas moved to the top of Texas' receptions list for a TE with 81.
RB Jamaal Charles ran with authority, displaying for the second consecutive week the corner-turning burst that had been on hold since injuring his ankle against Oklahoma on October 8. The freshman finished with 70 yards on eight carries (8.8 ypc) and scored a TD. The 10-yard scoring run in the first quarter moved him up to No. 3 on the UT freshman TD rushing list, passing Ricky Williams (1995) and Butch Hadnot (1990).
Defensively, Texas forced six straight three-and-outs to start the ball game and limited KU to two third down conversions on 15 attempts. The Jayhawks managed just 126 total yards at the end of three quarters but, by then, the Horns were emptying the bench on both sides of the ball. Kansas finished with 119 rushing yards on 22 attempts while QB Jason Swanson completed 17-of-35 passes for 148 yards, with 104 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter and the outcome long since decided. SLB Robert Killebrew continues to be a man-on-fire, leading his team with six tackles, including a QB sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
"Defensively, we've never been any better than we were in the first half," Brown said.
At this point, Texas had rolled to 152 unanswered points dating back to the second quarter of the Oklahoma State game. When RB Jon Cornish rushed over left end for the 59-yard score on KU's second play of the second half, the junior picked up more yards in one tote than the Jayhawks manufactured in the first half (43).
The Horns answered with their longest scoring drive of the game: a 15-play, 80-yard march culminating with another patented Ramonce Taylor run as the sophomore started left, darted right and ended up in familiar territory in the Jayhawk endzone. The 59-7 margin with 6:41 remaining in the third meant VY was done.
QB Matt Nordgren checked in on Texas' next series as ILB Kevin Kane came away with the tip-drill INT and returned it 18 yards to the Longhorn 28. KU cashed in on a pair of runs, culminating in FB Brandon McAnderson's 15-yard scoring run over right guard.
After that, it was Henry Melton Time, as the freshman finished with 73 yards on seven carries. By then, many who came early, wore orange and were loud had long since departed for home, or in search of more competitive football games.
Kansas Turning Point
By Dusty Mangum
Kansas head coach Mark Mangino was in disbelief as the Horns ran and passed all over his Kansas team. BCS Conspiracy? If so, it was a conspiracy to stock the Texas Longhorns with an amazing array of talent that the Jayhawks simply could not stop.
Coming in, the KU defense owned the stingiest rush defense in D-I, surrendering just under 70 yards per game. So Texas aimed to soften that defense up on its first two drives by establishing the pass. But three incompletions, a short completion, and two one-yard rushes by Vince Young leading to two quick three-and-outs later, the Horns set up at their own 35 still locked in a zero-zero struggle. That lasted, oh, less than a minute.
Texas looked to its effective backfield runners to launch a scoring onslaught on the out-matched visitors. Ramonce Taylor took an option pitch left for nine yards. Taylor followed that up with an 11-yard gain. When Limas Sweed went vertical and hauled in a 45-yard TD pass from Vince Young on the next play, the romp was on.
Credit the Horns effectiveness in the run game for VY's efficiency with the pass. And vice versa. That's what makes this Texas team so darn hard to defend. It can beat you in so many ways. Saturday, the Longhorns racked up 336 yards on the ground. Check out these numbers: Ramonce Taylor, 14 rushes for 96 yards (6.9 per carry) and two TDs; Henry Melton, seven rushes for 73 yards (10.4 ypc); Jamaal Charles, eight rushes for 70 yards (8.8 ypc) and a TD; Selvin Young, seven rushes for 57 yards (8.1 ypc) and a TD. About the only member of the Texas backfield not to torch the Jayhawk run D was Vince Young, who had six official rushes for minus-four yards. For Kansas, there was but one little problem with that stat: the UT QB more than made up for it by completing 19 of 27 pass attempts for 281 yards with four touchdowns tosses. Not a bad day's work for the Heisman front-runner (who supposedly can't pass).
The Texas defense allowed Kansas only 267 total yards and just 119 yards on the ground. Senior QB Jason Swanson had a long day, with his receivers covered and Longhorn defenders in his face every play. That's Texas-like defense! And give credit to Texas special teams. Aaron Ross was spectacular with a 71-yard touchdown burst on a punt return to push the Longhorn lead to 28-zip before the end of the first quarter.
But the Longhorns stayed on the track largely due to a rushing attack that is deep, diverse, and, for the first time all season, healthy. There was no conspiracy on Saturday or dollars influencing anything. It was just another can opened up against the Jayhawks by the -- and this should be a scary thought to the Ags and the Big 12's North champ -- improving Longhorns.
Texas now has a week to rest and get ready for the Aggies. All I have to say is poor Aggies. Texas will clear the final roadblock before the Big 12 Championship Game and claim what is rightfully theirs. A league title, and on the way to more. Hook 'Em and till next time, the Eyes of Texas Are Upon You .
Culpepper's Commentary: Kansas
By Pat Culpepper
On Friday night at the Hall of Honor social hour, there was an interesting group picture just before the festivities began.
There was 81-year old former Longhorn coach Darrell Royal and 97-year old "Slim" Talbert from Texas City sitting together, and behind them from left to right was Diron Talbert, Don Talbert and Charlie Talbert. Talk about bloodlines!
"He sired a whole nest of rattlesnakes," said a younger Darrell Royal of Mr. Talbert.
It was meant as a compliment because of the spirit and aggressiveness that came from that one household in Texas City. Coach Royal only had to call "Slim" if there were any questions about his disciplinary actions toward his sons. Diron, who was honored Friday as a Hall of Honor selectee, and Don were in a class by themselves when it came to bringing the fight to their opponents.
Since I played with Don in 1960-61, I can remember two great hits that had an effect on football games: one, a block on a linebacker from California that then Cal offensive coordinator Bill Walsh later said was the most brutal but clean block he had ever seen, and, two, a kickoff tackle against Baylor in 1961 when Talbert hit a Baylor returner head on knocking the gold helmet straight up in the air like an ejection seat from a jet.
Diron was almost unblockable in several of his games at Texas and of course was team captain for the Washington Redskins for several years in the NFL.
Charlie seemed to be a bit more under control but was an excellent tight end and defensive end for the Longhorns. He had a large role in the 1963 National Championship Texas team.
"Slim", at age 96, went hunting with his boys and shot two turkeys!
What I am trying to say is how lucky the Longhorns are to have such solid parents that support them through thick and thin. Past and present.
You strike up a conversation with middle linebacker Aaron Harris' father and you understand very quickly that this college football player will have his head on straight.
Just go down the list from Ramonce Taylor to Rod Wright and there are parents not too far away that have a clear picture of right from wrong and have passed that message to their children.
When that group of seniors ran down the ramp at Royal-Memorial Stadium and got their handshake from coach Mack Brown, I'm not sure any football team in America could have faced up to their passion.
Kansas did not get a first down until late in the second quarter and Texas already had a 42-0 lead! The up-front pressure from Wright, Larry Dibbles, Frank Okam, Tim Crowder and Brian Robison was at an incredible level. From the almost ground-level view I have during Longhorn games, the Kansas quarterback would disappear beneath the Texas rush. It is impossible to pass accurately under such conditions. There is no reason to blitz when the front four can sustain such a rush.
Mind you, this was a football team that had played the Longhorns to a standstill last season and had broken a 36-year losing streak against Nebraska just the previous weekend. They weren't chopped liver; they just looked like it versus a great Texas squad.
Credit Aaron Ross for a brilliant 71-yard punt return which goes right beside his 88-yard return against Missouri as kicking game highlights. Ross' return ability could well determine whether this Longhorn football team will have the stuff to win a national championship.
Offensively, Limas Sweed and David Thomas are becoming a "Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside" receiving threat.
Put the binoculars on Vince Young and watch him follow David Thomas, then go to Sweed. Of course, this is all possible because of the protection, but it is exactly what opponents can't see on the exchange game tapes. Vince Young has learned to look off defenders. He knows what's happening in the secondary and where his receivers are going and is making defenses pay a terrible price.
Once again, the combination of Ramonce Taylor and Jamaal Charles at the setback position has added another dangerous twist to the Longhorn attack.
Somewhere in the next three game, Charles or Taylor will catch a pass in the flat and take it downfield for a game-breaker.
For the next week and a half we will be bombarded with Coach Dennis Franchione and his positive slant on the Aggies fighting back from being down 28-7 at Norman this last Saturday to lose "only" 36-30. They should "fight back". How they get ripped by Iowa State 42-14 at home a couple of weeks ago is forgotten in the renewed hope that the Aggies can reinvent their football team and be what everybody thought they should be when Texas comes calling on Nov. 25.
You should remember A&M lost three of its last four games in 2004, culminating with a real whipping from Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl. Many experts thought Franchione, like Bob Stoops (at one time), would have Brown's number by this time.
I have news for all those who believe the 12th man is something special -- Kasey Studdard and his buddies will not pale in the sprit or effort because they go to Kyle Field. Texas 52, A&M 10.
By the way, only two cowboys sit at the cowboy poker table as Alabama checked out last Saturday. Should Texas and USC make it to Pasadena on Jan. 4, it will be the first time in several years we will see the only undefeateds square off and have an undisputed national champion in Division I football.