Colorado (1-3) at (2) Texas (4-0)
Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Sat Oct 10, 2009
By DAN PIERINGER, STATS Editor
Texas hasn’t budged in the Top 25 since the preseason poll was released. If the Longhorns can keep it that way through the rest of the regular season, they would have a good chance of playing for the national championship.
Ranked second for the sixth straight poll, the Longhorns continue their quest for their second national title in five years as they host Big 12 rival Colorado on Saturday night.
Texas (4-0, 1-0) has justified its preseason No. 2 ranking with its third consecutive 4-0 start. The Longhorns, the only undefeated team in the Big 12 South, have won by an average of 34.3 points and remain on track for a shot at their first title since going 13-0 in 2005.
Texas had a particularly easy time in its last game Sept. 26. Heisman Trophy hopeful Colt McCoy completed 28 of 35 passes for 286 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and four Texas players rushed for TDs in a 64-7 rout of UTEP.
The Longhorns outgained the Miners 639-53 and put up their highest point total since beating Colorado 70-3 in the Big 12 championship game in ’05.
After Texas was idle last weekend, McCoy - the Heisman runner-up last season - attributed the blowout of UTEP to the chemistry the Longhorns built over the first month of the season.
“It’s grown. It is coming along each and every week,” McCoy said. “We understand that we have a chance to be really good. We don’t want to blow it either. We’ve got to take care of business each week and this week is all about Colorado.”
Coach Mack Brown said he has not had any problem motivating his team to play its best, even against opponents the Longhorns expect to beat. He said Texas is taking the same approach it did during ’05, when it cruised through the season before stunning top-ranked Southern California in the national title game.
“What we said (in 2005) was if you all want to win the national championship, then you have to play like it every week,” Brown said. “So we actually started taking our game, regardless of who it was against, and seeing how it fit against Southern Cal, and that’s what we’re trying to do now.
“We’re trying to put enough pressure on our team that when they go out and beat a team 64-7 that there are still some things that we need to do better in order to win all of our games.”
The Buffaloes (1-3) are another team the Longhorns should be able to handle. Heading into the opener of a Big 12 schedule that features five games against teams currently in the Top 25, Colorado has struggled without having played a ranked opponent.
The Buffaloes threw three interceptions and missed three field goals in a 35-24 loss at West Virginia last Thursday.
“When you play a good football team, you have to maximize your opportunities,” coach Dan Hawkins said. “Bottom line, could we have won the football game? Sure. And I think you’ve got to leave it at that.”
Colorado would have to sweep its remaining games, including a bowl, to meet Hawkins’ preseason goal of “10 wins, no excuses.”
Though a double-digit victory total could be out of reach, Hawkins was encouraged by his team’s last performance. His son, Cody Hawkins, threw all three interceptions but also finished with 292 yards and two touchdowns.
Riar Geer caught eight passes for 113 yards, and Rodney Stewart ran for 105 yards and a score.
“Even though we lost this football game, that was our best effort by far,” Dan Hawkins said.
Colorado lost its last four meetings with Texas by an average of 35.0 points, the most recent a 38-14 defeat at Boulder last Oct. 4.
McCoy was 23 for 30 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in that matchup. Cody Hawkins was 13 for 33 for 118 yards, one TD and no picks.
Colorado last defeated Texas on Dec. 1, 2001. The Buffaloes, then ranked ninth, upset the then-No. 3 Longhorns 39-37 in Austin.