AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Enough talk about Texas being soft. The No. 13 Longhorns showed they can gut out a big win -- and with
a freshman leading the way.
Vince Young shook off a sore right ankle to rally the Longhorns
with his running and passing and scored the winning touchdown from
a yard out on fourth down with five minutes left as Texas won 24-20 against Kansas State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 Associated Press) Saturday.
The Longhorns (4-1, 1-0 Big 12), whose reputation suffered a
beating after a 38-28 home loss to Arkansas on Sept. 13, will face
No. 1 Oklahoma next week in Dallas.
"This brings back the swagger," Texas tailback Cedric Benson
said. "We can get rid of the `soft' talk."
"We needed a tough win," said Texas coach MackBrown. "We
needed a come-from-behind win. I'm proud the guys did what they
needed to do to win."
What the Longhorns needed was someone to make big plays late to
steal momentum and win the game. They got it all from Young.
The backup to starter Chance Mock in Texas' quarterback
rotation, Young led Texas to a second-quarter field goal on his
first drive but limped off the field in pain after rolling his
ankle on a sack in the third.
He returned in the fourth to lead Texas to the winning score
after Mock had little success getting the nation's highest scoring
"They said it was a bad sprain. I thought he was through,"
Young said he feared the worst when his ankle rolled. Television
replays showed a gruesome looking twist and he clutched at it
"It felt like it was gone," Young said. "Once I got to the
sideline, I was able to walk it off."
Young's fourth-down dive over the top of the line capped an
88-yard drive that started after Texas recovered Kansas State
quarterback Ell Roberson's fumble.
The big play in the drive came when Young uncorked a 52-yard
pass to Tony Jeffery, who scored the game's first touchdown on a
blocked punt in the first quarter. Jeffery went over cornerback
Cedrick Williams to make the grab, and Young scored five plays
"We always knew Vince could run the football, but he went out
there and made plays today," said Texas receiver Roy Williams.
The Longhorns gambled by not going for a tying field goal on
fourth down and Young's stretch with his 6-foot-5 frame made it pay
"If you can't make 6 inches,"Brown said. "You can't win the
For Kansas State (4-2, 0-1), the Wildcats' second straight loss
labels them once again as a pretenders for the national title and
knocks them completely out of the chase.
"It was a devastating loss," said linebacker Bryan Hickman.
"It was probably the biggest game of the season."
Roberson's fumble marred what was almost a spectacular return
for the quarterback who missed K-State's loss to Marshall because
of a hand injury.
Roberson ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns -- including a
1-yard run that gave the Wildcats a 20-17 lead. But he also had
three turnovers with two interceptions, including one in the end
zone that killed a scoring chance late in the first half.
Instead, it was Young who grabbed the spotlight and took a huge
step toward grabbing control of the offense.
"Vince is just a scary guy," Kansas State defensive
coordinator Bob Elliott said. "You can tell he's going to be one
of the great ones."
Taking a cue from the K-State playbook, Young piled up a
team-high 80 yards rushing on options and draw plays and threw for
Mock played most of the first half and threw a 51-yard touchdown
pass to Sloan Thomas that gave Texas a 17-3 lead, but he was
ineffective in the second.
Roberson looked as though he would be the hero. His spinning,
weaving 27-yard touchdown run in the third cut Texas' lead to 17-10
and a long completion to James Terry set up the second score.
But just when the Wildcats looked to put the game away after
getting a fumble deep in Texas territory, the momentum turned on
"It was down there for the knockout," Roberson said. "I just
fumbled the ball. There are no excuses."
Texas had to fight for every yard against a stiff Wildcats
After rolling to wins of 48-7 over Rice and 63-18 over Tulane,
the Longhorns had just 290 total yards and gave up six sacks. Only
Young's ability to dance around rushers kept it from being more.
"We went to Vince because we weren't blocking and he's
mobile,"Brown said. "I was amazed by his poise."
Texas scored first on special teams when Michael Huff blocked a
punt that Jeffery recovered in the end zone. Huff was so quick
getting past the line that he got to the ball before just as punter
Jared Brite dropped it to his foot.
Kansas State made it 10-3 on Joe Rheem's 41 yard field goal
before Texas, which led the nation in scoring coming into the game,
scored its first offensive touchdown when Mock floated a perfect
deep pass to Thomas with 1:09 left in the half.