AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 29 - Now the wait begins for No. 6 Texas. The Longhorns will find out in about a week if a third straight 10-win season earns the school its first berth in a Bowl Championship Series game.
IF TOP-RANKED OKLAHOMA beats No. 14 Kansas State in the Big 12 title game next Saturday, the Wildcats drop out of the BCS picture — giving Texas an almost certain bid to either the Rose Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.
“We’ll just see where the bowl system takes us,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “I appreciate what the team did to get us here.”
The Longhorns (10-2, 7-1 Big 12) have never been to the Rose Bowl. Their only Fiesta Bowl came after winning the 1996 Big 12 title before the advent of the BCS.
Kansas State can wreck Texas’ plans with an upset of Oklahoma next week. That would give the Wildcats the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth and the Sooners would get an at-large spot. A conference can’t get three BCS bids.
Texas’s 46-15 win over rival Texas A&M on Friday was indicative of the Longhorns’ turnaround from a 4-2 start. An early season loss to Arkansas and an embarrassing 65-14 defeat at the hands of the Sooners knocked Texas out of the national title chase.
Since then, the Longhorns have won six in a row behind tailback Cedric Benson, who ran for 283 yards and four touchdowns Friday, and freshman quarterback Vince Young. Benson’s 1,277 yards this season make him just the third Longhorns back to post three 1,000-yard seasons in a career.
“This team is one of the best teams in the country since midseason,” Brown said. “We didn’t play well in two games early, but we’ve come back, circled the wagons and competed well.”
As a team, Texas is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, the most since 1977 when the Longhorns ran for 3,369 yards in Earl Campbell’s Heisman Trophy season.
InsertArt(2081473)The numbers get even better during the win streak, with an average of 289 yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry.
Benson’s 283 yards Friday were the most ever given up by A&M’s tough defense, breaking the mark of 259 set by Ricky Williams in 1998.
Williams won the Heisman that year but didn’t get Texas into the BCS.
“I think we are running the ball better than when we had Ricky,” Brown said. “When you run it like we are, you’re not going to lose many games.”
© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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