7:00 PM ET, September 22, 2007
Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas needed one of those everybody-gets-to-play kind of games in the worst way.
The No. 7 Longhorns got one in a big way Saturday night with a 58-14 drubbing of Rice in the final tuneup for the start of Big 12 play.
By dominating the winless Owls in every phase, the Longhorns (4-0) pounded out any lingering frustrations after three close wins and a wave of bad publicity surrounding player arrests and suspensions in recent weeks.
After failing to run well at the end of last season, the Texas Longhorns' rushing numbers keep climbing through their last six games.
|'07 vs Rice||40||227||5.7|
|'07 vs UCF||43||229||5.3|
|'07 vs TCU||36||176||4.9|
|'06 vs Iowa||21||70||3.3|
|'06 vs A&M||25||70||2.8|
The Longhorns rolled up 560 yards on offense. Sweed finished with 139 yards on five catches and Jamaal Charles had three short touchdown runs. Even freshman backup quarterback John Chiles looked good in mop-up duty, teasing future opponents with nifty moves running the ball.
Texas led the Owls (0-4) 41-0 in the second quarter. The final score could have been much worse but McCoy and most of Texas' starters were on the bench after the first series of the third.
Even then, Chiles quickly drove the Longhorns to another TD, rushing for 49 yards on an eight-play scoring drive in his first action of the season.
This game won't be considered much of a measuring stick for the Longhorns -- Rice's offense ranks among the worst in the country -- but it was sure to massage the ego of a team that struggled through games against Arkansas State, TCU and Central Florida and left some wondering if they were overrated.
Texas opens Big 12 play next weekend at home against Kansas State.
"It was a really good win for us in the fashion that we needed to win it," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We'll need it next week."
Rice was inept in just about every way, even when Texas handed the Owls the ball. Two punts traveled 15 yards or less and when Charles fumbled on the second play of the game, the Owls went backwards 14 yards before missing a 50-yard field goal.
The Owls rushed for minus-11 yards and gave up five sacks. Few gave Rice any chance to even keep it close considering the Owls lost to Nicholls State of the Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) in their season opener.
"Texas is absolutely the best, most athletic, biggest, fastest and strongest football team we are going to play this year," Rice's first-year head coach David Bailiff said.
McCoy struggled at times in the first three games but was fine in this one, passing for 295 yards in the first half and hitting Sweed for the two long TDs in the second quarter. It was McCoy's first game of the season without an interception.
"He looked like the Colt of old," Brown said. "It was his best game by far."
Sweed, who sat out most of the previous week's 35-32 win over Central Florida after twisting his ankle, outran Owls defenders or outjumped them whenever it was necessary.
Texas' only real misstep came on one of Sweed's long strides, when he snared a deep pass in coverage, raced past a group of defenders and was coasting toward the end zone before stepping out of bounds at the Rice 2. Instead of a 50-yard TD, Sweed laughed at himself on the sideline while Charles scampered in for his first touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
"Jamaal definitely said 'Thanks Sweed.' We gave him a hard time," Texas receiver Quan Cosby said. "We told him there were 10 different things he could've done to score."
Chiles finished with 72 yards rushing in the second half. His running could be a valuable change of pace for the Longhorns as he showed flashes of Vince Young, zipping through and around tired Owls defenders.
Texas needs to develop depth at quarterback for the Big 12. McCoy got hurt against Kansas State last season and the Longhorns lost their final two regular season games to get knocked out of the league championship game.
"He's a heck of an athlete, there's no doubt about that," Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis said of Chiles. "He looked good."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Texas took the field. After surviving a scare from UCF last week, the Horns scored early and often against Rice. In fact, Texas was up by 41 before the Owls got on the board.
Gameball goes to... Colt McCoy. Texas' young signal-caller was nearly perfect, completing 20 of 29 passes for 333 yards and three TDs. Jamaal Charles chipped in three TDs and 74 yards on the ground.
Stat of the game... -11. Rice couldn't establish a running game -- the Owls lost 11 yards on the ground on 30 attempts. They were more effective in the air, throwing for 279 yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-15||4-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-1|
|TD||08:28||Quan Cosby 17 Yd Pass From Colt Mccoy (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 13 plays, 67 yds, 5:20
|FG||04:46||Ryan Bailey 43 Yd |
Drive: 5 plays, 40 yds, 1:33
|TD||12:19||Jamaal Charles 2 Yd Run (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 2 plays, 50 yds, :13
|FG||07:41||Ryan Bailey 52 Yd |
Drive: 5 plays, 36 yds, 2:46
|TD||05:32||Limas Sweed 52 Yd Pass From Colt Mccoy (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 52 yds, :08
|TD||01:49||Jamaal Charles 5 Yd Run (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 65 yds, 1:30
|TD||01:05||Limas Sweed 24 Yd Pass From Colt Mccoy (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 1 plays, 24 yds, :07
|TD||00:18||Toren Dixon 18 Yd Pass From Chase Clement (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 45 yds, :47
|TD||10:17||Jamaal Charles 2 Yd Run (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 9 plays, 54 yds, 2:51
|TD||04:28||Vondrell Mcgee 9 Yd Run (Ryan Bailey Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yds, 2:43
|FG||14:53||Ryan Bailey 19 Yd |
Drive: 8 plays, 59 yds, 2:44
|TD||06:26||James Casey 1 Yd Run (Clark Fangmeier Kick) |
Drive: 8 plays, 56 yds, 3:50