Missouri’s Brad Smith might call Youngstown, Ohio, home, but in the much-hyped matchup with a fellow dual-threat quarterback at Memorial Stadium, Columbia turned into Vince Young’s town.
Young finished the game, a 51-20 Longhorn win, with 13 carries for 108 yards on the ground and 15-of-22 for 236 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Young had three carries for more than 30 yards, the first which came with the game tied at 7 in the first quarter after Young faked a handoff to Jamal Charles.
“It was a read, it’s part of our offense,” Young said. “I just saw a crease and took it upon myself to try to make a big play with it.”
A big play is percisely what resulted. Missouri linebackers and safeties bit on the fake, and Young darted up the left side of the field 33 yards for a touchdown.
“They ran a zone keep...Jamal Charles can roll, so you have to respect that, so its a tough play to defend,” safety David Overstreet said.
The Missouri defense thought it had finally stopped Young in the second quarter when a 15-yard illegal block penalty and a 13-yard Stryker Sulak sack gave the Longhorns a monsterous third-and-30.
Missouri came out in the nickel to make sure they would have all the Longhorns receivers covered, but Young took matters into his own hands, and legs. He easily weaved his way through a weak Tiger three-man rush into an open field, and in what seemed like an instant, the Heisman candidate was 34 yards up field and past the first down marker.
“It was third-and-30, so were supposed to drop back and defend the pass,” MU linebacker Marcus Bacon said. “It’s tough when you have a guy who can make plays like he did. Those long legs definitely came into play.”
Overstreet said the play left the Tigers defense angry.
“That’s a crucial play, just critical,” he said. “He was cutting back on people and using his speed. I got real mad because I want to make every play and when you can’t it makes you so angry.”
Although the Tigers held Texas to three points on the drive, the defense seemed frazzled throughout the rest of the contest and yielded a season-high 51 points.
“We didn’t excute the things we were coached to do and when you don’t do that you don’t deserve to win,” safety Jason Simpson said. “We didn’t play as a unit.”
Young continued to give Missouri fits the rest of the game, mainly using his throwing ability.
“He’s a great player,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “He can turn an average play into a great play, and he did that several times today.”
Pinkel said he noticed a difference between Young in this year’s game and Young from last year’s matchup and when he ran the ball only five times for 53 yards in limited action.
“He’s got a lot more confidence,” Pinkel said of Young.
Texas coach Mack Brown agrees.
“Vince is a playmaker,” he said. “He’s a competitor and he’s gotten to a point if there is a negative play, he doesn’t let it bother him and goes right back to work.”
Overstreet said he came in unsure that Young and Texas were as good as advertised. But his opinion has changed.
“They’re a good team,” he said “I’m not going to lie, at first I had my doubts that they were a legit No. 2 team, but after today I realize they deserve to be No. 2.”