Horns roll Oklahoma State in Stillwater
STILLWATER, Okla. -- It took Texas a while to get going, but only a little while. Once the 11th-ranked Longhorns did get revved up, Oklahoma State didn't stand a chance.
The Longhorns (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) were coming off an emotional loss to Oklahoma that crippled their chances for a league title, and they fell behind 10-0 in this one. But a 31-point second quarter that featured three TD passes by Simms ended any doubt about the outcome.
"We needed this real bad," Simms said. "It was a tough loss last week and we needed this one bad."
Simms, who threw four interceptions against Oklahoma and was sacked five times, had better protection and wound up 18-of-30 for 235 yards and one interception. His career-best five TD passes tied a school record set by James Brown against Baylor in 1994.
"Of course if feels great, but you just have to take it in stride," he said. "That's part of being quarterback of a team like this. The good and the bad you have to take in stride and go on to the next week."
Benson had a fumble early, but finished with 131 yards on 31 carries one week after playing only one snap against Oklahoma. It was the first 100-yard game by a Texas freshman since Ricky Williams in 1995.
Coach Mack Brown said Benson responded to the challenge of improving his ability to pass block, which Brown said was the reason he didn't play more last week.
"I was proud that even though his day didn't start very well, he was tough enough and confident enough to go back and play hard throughout the game," Brown said.
"Today is the type football team we'd like to be offensively. When we've been good this year, this is how we've been."
Oklahoma State (2-4, 0-3) drove 65 yards for a touchdown on its first possession, then gained 97 yards the rest of the day. The Cowboys committed five turnovers and were outgained 479-162.
"You cannot spot even a poor team five more opportunities at the ball than you have," coach Les Miles said. "It's been a recurring theme since day one. Our team has to find a way to control the football when it's in our possession."
After scoring on a 9-yard pass from Aso Pogi to Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State recovered Benson's fumble and converted it into a field goal for a 10-0 lead seven minutes into the game.
The Longhorns then intercepted Pogi to start their first scoring drive, which lasted 16 plays -- including 10 runs by Benson. Simms capped it with a 1-yard sneak early in the second quarter, then Texas then turned a fumble by Tatum Bell into a short field goal that tied the score at 10.
About three minutes later, Simms threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brock Edwards, ending a 46-yard drive that gave Texas a 17-10 lead with 6:13 left in the half.
The Cowboys drove to the Texas 36 on their next possession, but turned the ball back to the Longhorns when Pogi was stopped a yard short on a fourth-and-3 option keeper.
Simms then led Texas 64 yards to a touchdown, completing 6 of 9 passes for 61 yards including a 5-yard TD pass to Williams with 25 seconds left before halftime. The Cowboys then muffed the kickoff and Texas recovered at the 16. On first down, Simms again hit Williams for the Longhorns' fourth touchdown of the quarter.
"When we got to 10-10, I knew they were on their heels bigtime," Simms said. "I really felt like we would control the game after we got the first touchdown."
He was right. His other touchdown passes went to Sloan Thomas, a 27-yarder in the third quarter and a 23-yarder in the fourth.
Oklahoma State's final touchdown came on a 97-yard kickoff return by Chris Massey with 8:45 left in the game.