Texas players were doing more explaining than celebrating after Friday's 40-29 victory over Texas A&M. "We're used to coming in at halftime...
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas players were doing more explaining than celebrating after Friday’s 40-29 victory over Texas A&M.
“We’re used to coming in at halftime and propping our feet up,” said tight end David Thomas of second-ranked Texas. “This time, we had to grind into the fourth quarter. It was good to have to get out of our comfort zone.”
A Texas offense that made running the ball look easy for most of the season had a choppy afternoon — especially quarterback Vince Young, the team’s leading rusher, who finished with 11 carries for 19 yards.
That was Young’s second-lowest output of the season (he ran six times for minus-4 yards against Kansas). Young’s 162 yards passing also was his second-lowest total of the season (he threw for 101 yards against Rice).
Young was sacked three times, fumbled twice (losing one) and had a pass intercepted.
“I thought early on Vince went for a couple balls downfield that we had some things open short,” Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. “But I didn’t have the feeling that he was pressing. I thought he settled down and played much better in the second half.”
Young tied Bobby Layne’s record for career victories by a starting quarterback at Texas with 28.
Davis said Texas A&M’s defensive line did a good job of getting penetration against Texas’ vaunted offensive line and disrupting the Longhorns’ bread-and-butter, zone-read running play. Davis adjusted by going to the counter play with Ramonce Taylor in the second half, with success.
Taylor finished with 102 yards on 15 carries after getting his third straight start at tailback. He scored on runs of 5 and 8 yards as the Longhorns won their sixth straight against the Aggies.
Texas (11-0 overall, 8-0 Big 12 Conference) will play either Iowa State or Colorado in the Big 12 title game next Saturday in Houston.
Texas A&M (5-6, 3-5) was able to run the ball at will, averaging 5.4 yards per carry as quarterback Stephen McGee and freshman running back Jorvorskie Lane topped the 100-yard mark. McGee carried 24 times for 108 yards, and Lane ran 17 times for 104.
Texas coach Mack Brown said his team would benefit from its narrow escape from College Station, where the Aggies led 22-21 early in the third quarter and trailed by eight points through most of the fourth quarter.
“This is the best thing that could have happened to us today,” Brown said. “It’s got our guys’ and our coaches’ attention. They’re going to go back to work and stop talking about how great we are. We couldn’t get the ball back. We’ve got to run the ball better and stop the run better.”
At Arizona State 23, Arizona 20
Terry Richardson returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown to help the Sun Devils (6-5, 4-4 Pac-10) beat the Wildcats (3-8, 2-6).
Richardson’s spectacular return and Rudy Carpenter’s two-point conversion pass to Zach Miller tied it at 20 with 7:52 remaining. Jesse Ainsworth won it with a 20-yard field goal — the same distance as an extra point — with six seconds to play.
After the win, Arizona State accepted an invitation to play in the Dec. 27 Insight Bowl in Phoenix. Rutgers has been mentioned as the probable opponent.
Mike Bell gained 117 yards on 27 carries in his final game for Arizona, but missed most of the second half with a deep thigh bruise.
Other Top 25 game
No. 24 Wisconsin 41,
at Hawaii 24
Brian Calhoun ran for 149 yards and a touchdown to lead the Badgers (9-3) over the Warriors (4-7) in Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez’s final regular-season game.
Other Big 12 game
Nebraska 30, at Colorado 3
Hundreds of fans were removed by force. Thousands more left by choice. By the end, the only folks making noise in Colorado’s stadium were a rowdy group in the corner rooting for the Cornhuskers (7-4, 4-4 Big 12).
Colorado (7-4, 5-3) lost its second straight game and blew a chance to clinch the Big 12 North. If Iowa State beats Kansas today, it will take the division title and meet Texas in the Big 12 championship game.
A few water bottles and other debris rained down from the Colorado student section in the fourth quarter, leading officials to order hundreds of fans removed for the final 10 minutes of the game.
Nebraska’s Zac Taylor threw for 392 yards and two scores.