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Texas has little trouble defeating Arizona State

December 28, 2007|Tony Perry | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- In a clash of teams with high-scoring offenses but porous defenses, the Texas Longhorns scored early and often Thursday to beat the Arizona State Sun Devils, 52-34, in the 30th Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

It was a game without much suspense, though it had plenty of mistakes, including nine fumbles and three interceptions.

Texas (10-3) scored 1 minute 21 seconds into the first quarter, the quickest opening touchdown in Holiday Bowl history.

The Longhorns scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, on a two-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy to fullback Derek Lokey, a four-yard run by freshman quarterback John Chiles, and a 15-yard dash by tailback Jamaal Charles.

The crowd of 64,020, third-largest in Holiday Bowl history, had thinned considerably by the middle of the second half. The Longhorns led, 35-20, at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The Holiday Bowl is known for high scoring and an anything-goes attitude, and the 2007 edition did not disappoint. One play in particular could be categorized as bizarre.

With Arizona State (9-4) down, 21-0, but pushing for its first score, a hard tackle by Longhorns linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy sent the ball squirting from the grip of Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter.

With several Longhorns in close pursuit of the bouncing ball, Chris Jessie, a member of the Longhorns' football operations staff, reached out and appeared to touch the ball.

Defensive end Aaron Lewis recovered it at midfield, but officials, after 12 minutes of consultation, ruled that Jessie had committed an unsportsmanlike act, returned possession to Arizona State and penalized Texas half the distance to the goal line.

When it was all said and done, Arizona State had the ball at the Texas seven.

On the next play, Carpenter threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris McGaha.

Jessie is the stepson of Longhorns Coach Mack Brown.

"It just showed how much our family wanted to win this game," Brown joked.

Texas, ranked 17th, evened its Holiday Bowl record at 2-2. For 12th-ranked Arizona State, it was the third Holiday Bowl loss in as many games.

McCoy completed 21 of 31 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Charles ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns in 27 carries and McCoy ran for 84 yards and one touchdown in 16 carries, though he fumbled four times. The Longhorns had 300 yards rushing, while the Arizona State running game sputtered, managing only 22 yards. Carpenter was sacked four times.

"We didn't play like Sun Devils," Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson said.

--

tony.perry@latimes.com

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