No. 3 Texas 41, Houston 11
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore RB Cedric Benson ran for 160 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 37 carries and senior QB Chris Simms passed for two touchdowns as the third-ranked Longhorns defeated Houston 41-11 on Saturday night at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. A sellout crowd of 82,936 was on hand to see UT extend its home winning streak to 15 games (No. 4 in UT history) and defeat its former Southwest Conference rival for the seventh consecutive time.
The Longhorns put the game away in the first half, using precision passing from Simms and a punishing ground attack to build a 31-3 lead, while the defense held the Cougars to just 42 yards of total offense and one first down at the intermission. Simms completed 14-of-20 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown in the opening half and hooked up with junior WR Roy Williams for UT's first touchdown. Williams took a short pass on the sideline, made three defenders miss and used a burst of speed to get to the end zone from 25 yards out to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead.
After UT's next drive stalled at the Houston 24-yard line, the Longhorns executed a fake field goal to perfection, as senior holder Beau Trahan took the snap and scampered 24 yards through a hole in the middle of the line.
With Williams out with a hamstring injury he sustained in the first quarter, the Longhorns turned to Benson and junior WR Sloan Thomas. After the Cougars got on the board with a 42-yard Dustin Bell field goal early in the second quarter, Benson and Thomas scored on successive drives to give Texas a 28-3 advantage.
Benson finished an 11-play, 84-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge with 1:42 left in the half, and seconds later, junior FS Dakarai Pearson intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Houston 25. Simms then hit Thomas for the score on the next play and sophomore PK Dusty Mangum's 44-yard field goal as time expired gave the Longhorns a 31-3 halftime lead.
The Cougars finally got into the end zone on Nick Eddy's 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter and the successful two-point conversion made it 31-11. Mangum added a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and redshirt freshman CB Michael Huff capped the scoring with a 27-yard interception return 13 seconds later.
Thomas matched his career high with six catches and finished with a career-best 87 yards and Simms completed 20-of-30 passes for 233 yards and two scores.
Benson had 97 yards by halftime, toted the ball more than 30 times for the second consecutive game and scored a rushing touchdown for the seventh game in a row.
The UT defense — led by junior MLB Reed Boyd's 12 tackles, a TFL and three QB pressures — dominated the Cougars. UH, which entered the game averaging 411 yards per contest, recorded only 152 total yards (31 rush/121 pass). Houston entered the game ranked 15th nationally in rushing (236.7 ypg) and featured the nation's seventh-leading rusher in Joffrey Reynolds (137.3 ypg/5.6 avg.). Reynolds finished the night with 38 yards on 13 carries and had a long run of seven yards.