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No. 2 Texas Wins, but Young Struggles

November 26, 2005|From the Associated Press

Battered and bruised, Vince Young and No. 2 Texas remained undefeated and were a step closer to the Rose Bowl. Even if it was a much tougher step than most expected.

Far from perfect, Young and the Longhorns were good enough Friday to keep their national title hopes intact with a tough 40-29 victory over Texas A&M at College Station, Texas.

Ramonce Taylor ran for two touchdowns, Cedric Griffin returned a blocked punt for a score and the Longhorns survived Young's shakiest game of the season.

The Heisman Trophy candidate wasn't even the best quarterback on the field against the Aggies, and for the first time since Texas won at Ohio State in September, the Longhorns were pressed to the end.

"I was never nervous. That's not me," Young said. "Nervousness, scariness, that's not even in our vocabulary."

Young is one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy, but Aggie freshman Stephen McGee made the plays and provided the leadership the Longhorns usually get from their quarterback.

Starting in place of injured senior Reggie McNeal, McGee ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns as A&M made a strong run at pulling off one of the biggest upsets in a 111-year-old rivalry.

"I wanted to have fun and lead these guys. I want to do it with everything I have," McGee said. "I'm already sore. I know I'll be sore tomorrow."

Young entered probably needing a big game to keep pace with USC's Reggie Bush in the Heisman chase, and his penchant for making big plays in Texas' biggest games seemed to guarantee it.

Instead, he struggled against a defense ranked 109th in the country with 162 yards passing, 19 rushing and two turnovers that led to Aggie touchdowns. He did throw for a touchdown and led two key late drives for field goals.

"There are some great guys in the running" for the Heisman, Young said. "I just want to keep playing and keep winning.... may the best man win."

Texas, 11-0 overall and 8-0 in the Big 12, advances to the conference title game Dec. 3 against the winner of the North Division. The season came to an end for the Aggies (5-6, 3-5).

No. 3 Louisiana State 19, Arkansas 17 -- The Tigers (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern) earned a trip to the conference title game by holding off the Razorbacks at Baton Rouge, La.

Louisiana State built a 19-3 lead, then had to stop the Razorbacks in the final minutes to secure the victory. Arkansas started its final drive at midfield with 3:44 left and advanced to the LSU 33 before being driven back. Then a fourth-and-18 pass by the Razorbacks' Casey Dick was intercepted in the end zone. LSU will play Georgia in the conference championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 3.

No. 24 Wisconsin 41, Hawaii 24 -- Brian Calhoun ran for 149 yards and a touchdown to lead the Badgers (9-3) to victory at Honolulu.

The Warriors (4-7), who close the season Dec. 3 against San Diego State, couldn't get their offense going against the physical Badgers.

Arizona State 23, Arizona 20 -- The Sun Devils rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half and won on Jesse Ainsworth's 20-yard field goal with six seconds to play at Tempe, Ariz.

The Territorial Cup victory earned the Sun Devils (6-5, 4-4 Pac-10) an invitation to the Insight Bowl in Phoenix. The probable opponent is Rutgers.

Mike Bell gained 117 yards in 27 carries for Arizona (3-8, 2-6) but sat out most of the second half because of a deep thigh bruise.

Nebraska 30, Colorado 3 -- Zac Taylor threw for 392 yards and two scores, Cory Ross accounted for 142 yards and a touchdown, and the Cornhuskers (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) put together the best game of Coach Bill Callahan's troubled two seasons to win at Boulder, Colo.

Colorado (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) lost its second in a row and might have watched its chance to represent the North Division in the Big 12 title game end too. Iowa State will be the North champion if it wins today at Kansas.

The game was stopped briefly in the final 10 minutes after debris from the Colorado student section rained down on the Nebraska bench. Officials ordered hundreds of fans removed from Folsom Field.

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