Longhorns defeat New Mexico State, 41-7
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 5 Texas opened the 2001 campaign with 27 unanswered points and just missed its first season-opening shutout in 23 years with a convincing 41-7 victory against New Mexico State. The game, which was broadcast nationally on FOX Sports Net, was played in front of the 10th-largest crowd (82,856) in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium history.
The Longhorns special teams began the year with a bang as junior Michael Ungar recovered a fumble that was forced by sophomore Reed Boyd on the opening kickoff. On the Aggies' first series two drives later, junior Rod Babers blocked a Brian Copple punt that was recovered by sophomore Phillip Geiggar in the end zone to give UT a 7-0 lead. On the Longhorns' next possession, sophomore RB Ivan Williams capped a 10-play, 50-yard drive with a 4-yard run to give the Horns a 14-0 advantage.
Freshman Dusty Mangum began the second quarter scoring with his first career field goal, a 24-yarder, and junior QB Chris Simms hooked up with senior WR Montrell Flowers for a 9-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. That play capped an 11-play, 80-yard series that gave the Longhorns a 24-0 halftime lead.
Mangum connected on a 17-yard field goal to extend the Horns' lead to 27-0 to open the third quarter, but UT's bid for its first season-opening shutout since 1978 ended with a little more than one minute remaining in the frame when Aggies RB Keon Johnson scored from 11 yards out.
Flowers' second touchdown of the night, a 10-yarder from Simms, capped a 13-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes from the clock and extended the Horns' lead to 34-7. Freshman RB Cedric Benson's 3-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds remaining closed out the 41-7 victory.
UT racked up 399 yards of total offense (171 rush/228 pass), converted 15-of-21 (71.4%) third down conversions and held on to the ball for more than 40 minutes in the 34-point victory.
Simms connected on 17-of-33 passes for 182 yards and the two touchdown passes to Flowers. He completed 15-of-26 passes for 162 yards and two scores after the first quarter. Senior Major Applewhite, who was 4-for-5 for 46 yards, entered the game on the Horns' final series and led the offense on a 14-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that lasted nearly eight minutes.
The running attack was paced by Benson and Williams, both of whom rushed for 64 yards on 15 carries. Junior Victor Ike, who started at tailback, added 53 yards on 14 carries.
Sophomore Roy Williams led the receiving corps with five catches for 70 yards, including a 35-yard catch-and-run to the 1-yard line that set up Mangum's third quarter field goal. Flowers hauled in four passes for 54 yards and a pair of scores and sophomore B.J. Johnson added four receptions for 32 yards.
On defense, the Longhorns limited the Aggies to only 232 yards of total offense, including just 63 through the air, and posted five three-and-outs in the Aggies' 11 possessions. UT also limited New Mexico State to only two third down conversions.
Senior LB Everick Rawls paced the defense with eight tackles (five solo), while sophomore DE Kalen Thornton and freshman LB Derrick Johnson added six stops each. The Longhorns other senior linebackers, Tyrone Jones and D.D. Lewis, registered four tackles apiece and Lewis recorded the eighth fumble recovery of his career in the first quarter to move into sole possession of third place on UT's all-time list. Senior DT Maurice Gordon posted four tackles, two TFLs and 1.5 sacks and Babers had three solo stops and a pair of pass breakups.
For New Mexico State, RB Walter Taylor became only the fifth rusher in the last three-plus seasons to eclipse 100 yards against UT after he ran for 113 yards on 13 carries and QB K.C. Enzminger completed only 8-of-16 passes for 63 yards.