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Texas Quarterback Battle Takes Major Turn

September 10, 2000|From Associated Press

The quarterback controversy at Texas has not subsided.

Major Applewhite came off the bench in the first quarter to rally the No. 6 Longhorns from a first-quarter deficit to a 52-10 season-opening victory Saturday over Louisiana-Lafayette at Austin, Texas.

Applewhite, last season's Big 12 Conference offensive player of the year, lost the much-publicized battle with sophomore Chris Simms for the starting role.

But Simms' first two possessions ended in a missed field goal attempt and an interception return for a touchdown that gave the Ragin' Cajuns a 10-0 lead. Applewhite took over and led the Longhorns to 31 points before halftime.

He made a strong statement to be the starter with 315 yards passing and four touchdowns in a little more than two quarters. Texas rolled up 490 yards of total offense against the overmatched Ragin' Cajuns (0-2).

Simms completed seven of 14 passes for 88 yards.

No. 20 Oklahoma 45, Arkansas State 7--Josh Heupel threw three touchdown passes and J.T. Thatcher returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown on his way to a school record for return yardage at Norman, Okla.

All of Heupel's touchdowns came on third-and-long plays, including two in the first half when the Sooners (2-0) took a 28-0 lead. His 35 touchdown passes, accomplished in 13 games, tied the school record set by Cale Gundy in 40 games from 1990-93.

Thatcher had 160 yards on five returns, breaking the Oklahoma record of 146 yards set last season by Jarrail Jackson against Missouri. Thatcher also had an interception that set up a third-quarter touchdown.

Arkansas State (0-2) did not cross midfield until late in the first half.

Texas A&M 51, Wyoming 3--Mark Farris hooked up with Robert Ferguson on a 93-yard touchdown-pass play--the second longest in Texas A&M history--as the Aggies routed the Cowboys at College Station, Texas.

Farris, starting his second game after playing minor league baseball for five seasons, passed to Ferguson across the middle and the receiver raced to the end zone to give the Aggies a 28-3 lead early in the third quarter. Randy McCown and Chris Taylor combined on a school-record 96-yard touchdown pass last season.

Texas A&M (1-1) has won 25 consecutive nonconference games at Kyle Field since a loss to Alabama in 1988. Wyoming dropped to 0-2.

Texas Tech 13, North Texas 7--Kliff Kingsbury threw a touchdown pass and Chris Birkholz kicked two field goals as Texas Tech held on for the victory at Lubbock, Texas.

Kingsbury, who set a school record last week by passing for 450 yards and three touchdowns against Utah State, completed 42 of 55 passes for 238 yards, but had three passes intercepted.

Texas Tech (3-0) took a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but North Texas (0-2) drew within six points on linebacker Brad Kassell's 23-yard interception return nine seconds into the final quarter.

Later in the quarter, North Texas' Scott Hall connected with LaDarrin McLane on a 50-yard pass play, but linebacker Kevin Curtis stripped the ball from McLane at the two, and cornerback Derrick Briggs scooped up the ball and rambled 53 yards to the Eagles' 45.

Iowa State 37, Nevada Las Vegas 22--Sage Rosenfels passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns and Iowa State added three scores in a span of 2 1/2 minutes at Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State overcame a strong debut by UNLV quarterback Jason Thomas to improve to 2-0 for only the second time since 1985.

Thomas, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound sophomore who transferred from USC, passed for two touchdowns, scored on a 45-yard run and hurt Iowa State with his scrambling. But the Rebels (0-1) couldn't overcome their 12 penalties and Iowa State's 17-point flurry midway through the first half.

Leading, 7-6, late in the first quarter, Iowa State converted a fumble, an interception and a blocked punt into two touchdowns and a field goal.

Rosenfels completed 16 of 31 passes and had one pass intercepted. His 55-yard pass to Lane Danielsen set up a 26-yard Mike McKnight field goal that made the score 27-6 at halftime.

Oklahoma State 36, Tulsa 26--Tony Lindsay passed for three touchdowns to lead Oklahoma State at Tulsa, Okla.

Lindsay completed 11 of 20 passes for 166 yards, and Reggie White ran for 187 yards and a touchdown. About 50 of White's yards came in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys sealed the victory with Seth Condley's 32-yard field goal.

Tulsa's Josh Blankenship completed 28 of 49 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns, but fumbled twice in the first quarter to set up two Oklahoma State scores.

The victory was Oklahoma State's first in its last three visits to Skelly Stadium, and the Cowboys' second in a row over Tulsa (0-2).

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