Texas Has Little Time to Savor Win
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ The chest thumping lasted less than 24 hours.
By Sunday, the Texas Longhorns had to forget about their 24-20 win over Kansas State and start thinking about facing No. 1 Oklahoma next Saturday in Dallas.
The tough victory behind inspirational freshman quarterback Vince Young will be just a footnote in another season of ``what ifs?″ should No. 11 Texas (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) drop a fourth consecutive game to the Sooners.
This will be the fourth straight year Texas has gone into the Red River Shootout ranked 11th or higher. It will be the first time either team was ranked No. 1 in this game since Oklahoma in 1987.
``I think we’re one of the top three teams in the nation,″ Horns tailback Cedric Benson said.
Coach Mack Brown told his players to enjoy the win, but also to start thinking about the Sooners.
Given the intense nature of this rivalry, it’s likely Texas dreamed about their rivals Saturday night.
``They’ve had a tremendous amount of pressure on them and they deserved to enjoy the Kansas State win,″ Brown said. ``We can start talking about OU after film (Sunday).″
Beating the Wildcats gave Texas plenty to feel good about:
_Young had his national coming-out party, dazzling defenders with his running moves and strong arm. Shaking off a sprained right ankle, the freshman drove the Longhorns 88 yards to the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
_The Longhorns got contributions from second-teamers when the stars faltered. Tony Jeffery made a key 52-yard catch to set up the winning TD on a day Roy Williams was not at his best. Jeffery also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for Texas’ first touchdown.
Backup safety Phillip Geiggar forced the Kansas State fumble that started the winning drive. Two plays earlier, senior punt returner Nathan Vasher had fumbled on the Longhorns’ 21, giving the Wildcats a chance to put the game away.
``You wouldn’t have thought those guys would be the ones to make plays in the fourth quarter,″ Brown said.
_ Young may have finally quieted the critics who label Texas as soft. Helped off the field after a gruesome looking ankle twist in the third quarter, he returned for the next series and played the entire fourth quarter.
``I felt like I had torn or broken something,″ Young said. ``When I got to the sideline, it felt like it was all right. I said a little prayer, told them to strap it up.″
As good as Young was, his performance might have the unfortunate effect of raising a quarterback controversy.
Brown must now decide whether to reward the freshman with his first career start or stick with the rotation that has Chance Mock at No. 1.
He wouldn’t address it with reporters Sunday, saying team trainers had to evaluate Young’s ankle and he would discuss it with his staff this week.
``All we’re doing is cleaning up Kansas State,″ Brown said.
Mock was ineffective most of the day against a smothering K-State pass rush that recorded six sacks. He threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Sloan Thomas in the first half that gave Texas a 17-3 lead.
Texas went to Young late because of his ability to avoid defenders. He had a team-high 80 yards rushing and his quarterback sneak for a TD on fourth down was the difference.
``You all saw a perfect example of why the two-quarterback system works,″ Mock said after the game. ``They were getting all over me, and Vince was able to make some plays with his feet, and we were able to get a win.″
Said Young, ``If Coach wants me to start, I’ll go in and play. It’s not my decision.″