2003 Cotton Bowl: Texas 35, LSU 20
DALLAS -- Down by 10 points early, the ninth-ranked Longhorns devised a simple game plan; get the ball to junior WR Roy Williams.
The Odessa native turned a short slant into a 51-yard touchdown, went 75 yards after a leaping grab to set up another score and snaked 39 yards for a score on an end-around as No. 9 Texas rallied past LSU, 35-20, in the 67th SBC Cotton Bowl Classic.
The Longhorns trailed 17-7 three minutes into the second quarter, with the defense producing the lone score courtesy of senior LB Lee Jackson's 46-yard return of a Marcus Randall fumble in the first quarter. The offense, which ran only three plays in the opening quarter, then caught fire.
UT scored the next 28 points beginning with senior QB Chris Simms' 51-yard strike to Williams in the second quarter and concluding with another Simms touchdown pass, an 8-yard toss to junior FB Ivan Williams.
The Longhorns finished with 382 total yards against a defense that was surrendering an average of 278.8 yards per game. Simms completed 15-of-28 passes for 269 yards, well above the 143 passing yards per game LSU was giving up, which ranked second nationally entering the contest.
Roy Williams, the game's Offensive MVP, finished with four receptions for 142 yards to close out the season with a school-record five straight 100-yard games. Simms wrapped up his Texas career with his 26th victory as a starter, tying Marty Akins (1973-75) for the second-best win total in school history.
Randall led LSU to 10 first-quarter points against a defense that had allowed a national-best 16 in the quarter all season. His only mistake was fumbling when sacked by senior DE Cory Redding, who was tabbed the game's Defensive MVP (eight tackles, four TFLs). Jackson scooped up the loose ball and ran 46 yards for a touchdown, the longest fumble return in Cotton Bowl history.
Two plays later, the Roy Williams Show began. On first down from the UT 49-yard line, he shook CB Corey Webster at the line of scrimmage, caught a bullet pass from Simms in stride and ran away from the defense for a 51-yard touchdown. The next time Simms threw his way, he made a nice catch in traffic and raced 75 yards toward the end zone before being shoved out of bounds at the 5. Sophomore RB Cedric Benson capped the scoring drive when he scored from one yard out to put UT up for good.
Both teams came out sluggish in the second half and LSU seemed to grab the momentum when Davis ran for 44 yards on third-and-22 from its 8-yard line, but that drive ended with Randall fumbling and Jackson again recovering.
After an 18-yard pass to Roy Williams and a 17-yard run by Benson, Simms faked a handoff to Benson and slipped the ball to Roy Williams, who came across from the left side for a 39-yard TD run. Williams weaved between several defenders and avoided being hit until the 5-yard line, but it didn't stop him from lunging across the goal line.
LSU got a 39-yard field goal from John Corbello early in the fourth quarter and recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Tigers couldn't score again.
It took 40 years, but UT avenged a 13-0 loss to LSU in the 1963 Cotton Bowl, the last meeting between the two schools.