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Texas Carries Big Stick Again

October 05, 2003|From Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Enough talk about Texas being soft. The 13th-ranked Longhorns showed they can gut out a big victory -- 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 Saturday as No. 13 Texas defeated No. 16 Kansas State, 24-20.

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," Texas Coach Mack Brown said. "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 offense moving.

"They said it was a bad sprain. I thought he was through," Brown said.

Young said he feared the worst when his ankle rolled. Television replays showed a gruesome-looking twist and he clutched at it immediately.

"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 was Young's 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 later.

"We always knew Vince could run the football, but he went out there and made plays today," Texas receiver Roy Williams said.

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 off.

"If you can't make six inches," Brown said, "you can't win the game."

For Kansas State (4-2, 0-1), the Wildcats' second consecutive loss knocks them completely out of the national title chase.

"It was a devastating loss," linebacker Bryan Hickman said.

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