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Big 12: Revived ground game lifts Longhorns

©Associated Press

October 27, 2002


AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas heard all week about its 84th-ranked offense and struggling running game.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas heard all week about its 84th-ranked offense and struggling running game.

The Longhorns responded by saying the ground game would come.

Did it ever.

Just when Texas needed it most, it gained 245 yards rushing Saturday in a 21-10 victory over Iowa State.

Cedric Benson ran for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, including a 59-yarder that put Texas ahead in the third quarter, as it found a punishing ground game that all but disappeared.

"We were tired of playing like we weren't a top team," said Benson, who had 45 carries for 113 yards in the previous two games while playing with turf toe.

"It started to make some guys sick."

Texas sealed its 17th consecutive home victory on Selvin Young's 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth. The play capped an 80-yard drive in which the Longhorns converted a fourth and 1 at the Cyclones 21 and chewed up more than nine minutes.

Iowa State has lost two in a row since cracking the Top 10 for the first time.

"It's been a long time since we had a 19-play drive that changed the momentum of the game for us," coach Mack Brown said.

Perhaps most important, the Longhorns' ground game kept Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace off the field.

Royal-Memorial Stadium was soggy after a week of rain and under a steady drizzle Saturday. The Longhorns worried that would favor the shifty Wallace.

"I've always felt a wet field was to the advantage of the offense," Brown said. "We thought it was a Seneca Wallace day. We needed to get our running game back on track to keep the ball out of his hands."

Held to 43 yards passing in a loss to Oklahoma, Wallace had 226 yards and a touchdown Saturday.

But he didn't make the big plays as the Longhorns' second-ranked defense held Iowa State to 286 total yards. He was 18-of-31 with an interception and rushed for 15 yards.

And he couldn't do anything to counter Benson's performance. Benson ran for 61 yards and a 2-yard touchdown on Texas' opening drive for a 7-0 lead.

The Longhorns went back to him after the Cyclones took the lead.

On the 59-yard run, Benson swept left, cut back between two defenders and raced to the end zone before stretching out over a tackler at the 2 to give Texas a 14-10 lead.

The Cyclones led 10-7 at halftime on Wallace's 16-yard pass to Lance Young and Adam Benike's 40-yard field goal.

The Cyclones dominated the second quarter but missed a chance to score when they couldn't punch it in on first and goal from the 2. Benike kicked a 24-yard field goal that was wiped out by a penalty, and he missed the retry from 29.

"That was a huge momentum swing," McCarney said. "That was as big a series as you could have, and to come away with no points really hurt us."

Iowa State wasted another opportunity when Nik Moser blocked a Texas punt in the third and took over at the Texas 29. But the Cyclones picked up just one first down, and Benike missed a 32-yarder that would have made it 14-13.

COLORADO 37, TEXAS TECH 13: Chris Brown ran for 149 yards and a touchdown, Robert Hodge passed for two scores and Medford Moorer returned an interception 51 yards for another for the host Buffaloes.

Brown, the nation's leading rusher, had his fifth consecutive 100-yard game despite missing part of the second half with a hip pointer. He raised his season total to 1,303 yards.

Colorado won its fifth in a row and held one of the nation's top offenses to 359 total yards, 125 below the Red Raiders' average.

The Buffaloes led 16-13 at halftime, but the Red Raiders crossed midfield only once during the second half. Bobby Purify caught a 36-yard touchdown for a 23-13 lead, and Moorer made it 30-13.

KANSAS ST. 44, BAYLOR 10: Darren Sproles ran for 124 yards and a touchdown for the visiting Wildcats. He become the first Kansas State running back with four consecutive 100-yard games in 29 seasons. Isaac Jackson had six in a row in 1973.

The Bears had gone almost 139 minutes over nine-plus quarters without scoring until Daniel Andino kicked a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter to tie it at 3.

Kansas State scored 27 consecutive points after that, taking the lead for good on Jesse Tetuan's 34-yard interception return for a touchdown.

NEBRASKA 38, TEXAS A&M 31: Freshman David Horne scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half for the Cornhuskers, who ended a five-game road losing streak, their longest since 1958.

Byron Jones returned a fumble by Jammal Lord 66 yards for a touchdown and a 31-14 Texas A&M lead midway through the third. Then the Aggies gave up 24 consecutive points on Horne's touchdown runs of 21, 11 and 6 yards and a 42-yard field goal by Josh Brown. Horne's 6-yarder gave Nebraska the lead with 11:01 left.

The comeback kept hopes alive for a 34th consecutive nine-victory season and 34th consecutive bowl bid.

Texas A&M lost a big lead at home for their second straight time. It led Texas Tech 35-17 in the fourth quarter Oct.5 but lost 48-47 in overtime.

MISSOURI 36, KANSAS 12: Quarterback Brad Smith ran for 117 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, and T.J. Leon added 104 rushing yards and two scores for the host Tigers.

Missouri blew open a tight game with three third-quarter touchdowns. The Tigers, who had lost three in a row, tied the series with Kansas 51-51-9.

Leon's second touchdown, a 5-yard run, gave Missouri a 20-6 lead in the third. Two plays after a Jayhawk touchdown, Smith scored on his 75-yarder. He added a 15-yard pass to Darius Outlaw with 1:01 left in the quarter.

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