AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) (Sept. 23) - Texas scored three touchdowns on turnovers and the Longhorns stopped one of the nation's best passing attacks in beating Houston 48-0 on Saturday night.
Dakarai Pearson and O.J. McClintock returned interceptions for touchdowns and Michael Ungar recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone on a night when No. 15 Texas struggled to move the ball offensively but dominated on defense.
Texas (2-1) managed just 349 total yards but it didn't matter as the Longhorns sacked Houston quarterbacks eight times. Houston's Jason McKinley, who came in leading the nation with 346.3 yards passing per game, was just 14-of-34 for 173 yards and two interceptions before leaving in the fourth quarter.
Texas held Houston (1-3) to 198 total yards, including just 13 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Texas needed that kind of effort from its defense. Despite the high score, the Longhorns had just 188 yards through the first three quarters and racked up late yardage by throwing deep in the final two minutes. Chris Simms and Major Applewhite combined to complete 22 of 27 passes for 253 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Simms started and his first pass was intercepted when it bounced off Montrell Flowers' hands. Houston had the ball on the Longhorns' 37 but failed to capitalize when Mike Clark's 39-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.
|The Cougars' defense stops the run.|
Applewhite relieved Simms and led Texas to a 10-0 in the second quarter on Kris Stockton's 30-yard field goal despite just 6 total yards on offense. After a Houston fumble, Applewhite drove the Longhorns 37 yards to Victor Ike's 1-yard touchdown run and a 17-0 halftime lead.
The Longhorns' defense, meanwhile, led by the bull rush of tackles Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton, consistently harassed McKinley into quick throws and sacked him four times in the first half.
Cory Redding halted Houston's only touchdown threat in the third quarter when he dropped McKinley for a 12-yard loss and pounced on the ball at the Texas 18.
The Longhorns' drive stalled at midfield but disaster struck the Cougars again when punt returner Bachie McGruder fielded the kick at the Houston 5 only to fumble it back into the end zone. Ungar fell on the loose ball to make it 27-0.
Kenny Hayter's 2-yard touchdown dive in the fourth made it 34-0 before McClintock intercepted McKinley's last pass and returned it 23 yards for a TD. Matt Trissel added a 6-yard scoring catch from Simms with 3:11 left.
Houston 0 0 0 0 - 0 Texas 7 10 10 21 - 48 First Quarter Tex-Pearson 42 interception return (Stockton kick), 6:56. Second Quarter Tex-FG Stockton 30, 13:26. Tex-Ike 1 run (Stockton kick), 9:34. Third Quarter Tex-FG Stockton 39, 11:20. Tex-Ungar fumble recovery in end zone (Stockton kick), 3:39. Fourth Quarter Tex-Hayter 2 run (Stockton kick), 10:20. Tex-McClintock 23 interception return (Stockton kick), 9:21 Tex-Trissel 6 pass from Simms (Stockton kick), 3:11 A-81,592.INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Hou Tex First downs 13 19 Rushes-yards 32-13 32-96 Passing 185 253 Comp-Att-Int 17-38-2 22-37-3 Return Yards 47 125 Punts-Avg. 9-37 5-46 Fumbles-Lost 3-3 3-1 Penalties-Yards 6-64 7-75 Time of Possession 34:48 25:12
Houston, Reynolds 13-31, Terrell 2-22, Teague 3-5, Hill 4-3, McKinley 10-(minus 48).
Texas, Mitchell 13-60, Williams 3-16, Hayter 5-14, Ike 6-8, Applewhite 2-3, Simms 3-(minus 5).
Houston, McKinley 14-34-2-173, Teague 3-4-0-12.
Texas, Applewhite 13-21-1-140, Simms 9-16-2-113.
Houston, Bell 5-86, Reynolds 2-20, Cucci 2-16, Williams 2-15, Hopkins 2-9, Baldwin 1-21, Broadus 1-9, Ross 1-7, Terrell 1-2.
Texas, Johnson 5-40, Flowers 4-59, Mitchell 3-47, Healy 3-34, Thomas 2-41, I. Williams 1-12, Edwards 1-11, Trissel 1-6, Jones 1-2, Robin 1-1.