No. 16 Texas 31, No. 12 Nebraska 7
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 16 Longhorns (7-2, 4-1 Big 12) asserted themselves on both offense and defense en route to a 31-7 win over No. 12 Nebraska (7-2, 3-2 Big 12) on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in front of 83,308 fans, the eighth-largest home attendance mark in UT history. Vince Young and Cedric Benson ran the show by becoming the first duo in Texas history to each run for more than 150 yards in the same game, and the first since Ricky Williams and Shon Mitchell in 1996 to each rush for over 100 yards.
"Our guys played great," head coach Mack Brown said. "We played very hard on defense, tackled well and had a super game plan. We gave up some key passes, but we were not going to let them beat us in the running game. Our offensive line opened some holes and that allowed Vince (Young) and Cedric (Benson) to combine for over 300 yards. It was a great win for us at this pivotal point in the season."
Vince Young produced the third-most prolific rushing performance by a quarterback in UT history by carrying the ball 14 times for 163 yards, and Cedric Benson registered a season high 174 yards on 28 carries, while reaching the end zone three times. The Longhorns' defense was equally impressive, holding Nebraska to 175 total yards and just 53 rushing yards, while registering five sacks. The Cornhuskers were the fourth-ranked rushing offense in the nation entering the game.
After an almost five-minute opening drive in which Vince Young rushed for 55 yards, but which resulted in a blocked field goal, the Longhorns moved 72 yards in 14 plays on their second drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Cedric Benson for a 7-0 lead with 2:24 remaining in the first quarter. Benson carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards and scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season, with two more to come, which would tie him for eighth on the single-season rushing touchdown list with 13.
Nebraska made its deepest penetration of the half into Texas territory three possessions later, moving to the UT four-yard line before being held to a field goal attempt, which Tim Crowder blocked to hold the score at 7-0.
Texas then took only two plays to move 80 yards as Vince Young dashed for the second-longest run by a quarterback in UT history, scoring from 65 yards out for his ninth rushing touchdown of the season. The score gave Texas a 14-0 lead, which it took to halftime.
In the third quarter, the Longhorns got on the board first after Nebraska mishandled a punt at its own 10-yard line. That set up a 24-yard Dusty Mangum field goal with 6:12 remaining, giving Texas a 17-0 advantage.
Nebraska got its first score on its first series of the fourth quarter. Jammal Lord found Matt Herian for a 48-yard touchdown pass, one of only five completions for Lord on the day.
However, Texas immediately answered, as Cedric Benson rushed for 48 yards on the ensuing possession and capped the drive with his second touchdown run of the day, this time from five yards out, and 24-7 lead with 7:29 to go.
Benson again carried the load and put an exclamation mark on his day by carrying the ball five times for 60 yards on Texas' next possession, including a season-high 39-yard run and his third touchdown of the game on a 12-yard carry. With his 174 yards, Benson moved into fourth place on UT's career rushing list with 3,018 yards, passing Roosevelt Leaks (2,923).
"We came out with a mindset that we would not be defeated," Benson said. "Nebraska is a top 10 team, and we wanted to win this game. During the season, we have had a couple of setbacks, but we knew that we had to prevail to achieve what we wanted, and that is what we did today. I think this shows the character of our team. For me personally, it felt good to be back on the field. My week off helped me get my mind where it needed to be."
Derrick Johnson solidified the win on Nebraska's final possession by intercepting his fourth pass of the season and the eighth of his career, moving him into tie for first place on Texas' career interceptions by a linebacker list with Fred Edwards.
Roy Williams led the team in receptions with five for 35 yards, extending his nation-leading streak of consecutive games with a reception to 43, while B.J. Johnson led in yardage with 44 on two catches, giving him 2,283 for his career, putting him in third place on UT's career receiving yards list, passing Kwame Cavil (2,279).
"I am very proud of our guys for the way they stepped up and played on both sides of the ball," Brown said. "There were a lot of questions that we had in our two losses, but they were answered today. We just have to keep playing the way we did this afternoon. This is a young team, and I am very excited to see such improvement each week."