Oct. 11, 2009
Natalie England, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Tyler Hansen didn’t take over as Colorado’s quarterback until the fourth quarter against Texas on Saturday, but he had prepared all week like he was a starter.
But even after watching all the film and reading the scouting reports, Hansen was still surprised with what he encountered at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. On just Hansen’s third play from scrimmage this season, he was sacked by linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy for a 15-yard loss.
And afterward Hansen admitted that Muckelroy was coming “a little faster than I thought he was.”
At this point, though, it’s amazing the Longhorns can still sneak up on people at all.
No. 2 UT rallied for a 38-14 victory against the Buffaloes behind another steadfast defensive effort. Colorado was limited to just 42 rushing yards, and the Longhorns’ last three opponents are averaging just 15.0 rushing yards per game.
Following the Buffaloes’ opening 66-yard scoring drive to take an early seven-point lead, UT limited Colorado to just 61 yards the rest of the game.
After allowing UTEP only 53 yards of offense two weeks ago, the Longhorns have now limited two teams this season to fewer than 130 yards of total offense. It’s just the third time in the history of the program the Longhorns could boast such a fact – the other two occasions came in 1946 and 1952.
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins went through a laundry list of reasons why the UT defense can be so dominating.
“Size, strength, speed, athleticism – and they’re well-coached,” Hawkins said. “It’s the full package.”
The Longhorns used defense against Colorado to turn the tide. After a UT turnover, the Buffaloes had third down inside the red zone, but Earl Thomas stepped up to intercept a Cody Hawkins pass and return it 92 yards for the touchdown that put UT out front, 24-14, with 4:55 to play in the third.
Hawkins confessed that Thomas’ interception return gave the Longhorns much-needed momentum, and on Colorado’s next offensive series, Blake Gideon helped put the momentum firmly in the Longhorns’ grasp.
Gideon picked off a deep pass from Hawkins for the Longhorns’ sixth interception in the past two games, and then Hansen took over at quarterback to begin the fourth quarter. The change didn’t change much else for the Buffaloes, however.
Colorado had negative yardage in the final 15 minutes of play.
“When you play a great team like this, your margin for error is going to be pretty small,” Dan Hawkins said.
And Buffaloes offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau elaborated a bit more.
“Will Muschamp – that guy is a smart guy,” Kiesau said.