The 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns will attempt to move to 2-0 on the young season when they take on the BYU Cougars on Saturday evening.
Texas started the 2013 campaign in a big way, easily dismissing New Mexico State in a 56-7 final, while setting a program record with 715 yards of total offense. The Longhorns have now come away victorious in 14 consecutive season openers, and they've won eight straight games played before the month of October dating back to 2011.
"Happy with a win," said Texas head coach Mack Brown, who's team held just a 14-7 lead heading into halftime. "I'm proud of the guys that kept their head in there and kept their composure and played a great second half."
BYU opened its season with a difficult road contest against Virginia, but while it held a lead late in the fourth quarter, it surrendered the game- winning touchdown with less than three minutes to play as it dropped the contest, 19-16. The Cougars had previously not lost a season opener since 2006.
The Cougars have beaten the Longhorns in two of three previous meetings, although Texas won the latest in 2011, 17-16.
Surprisingly, Texas went scoreless in the first quarter of its opener, but it managed to make up for lost time in a hurry and finished with 49 unanswered points.
"We've got good players on offense," Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. "We can be explosive. Things started to fall our way and we got out of our own way and the guys started to play, (and) what's encouraging is the maturity of the guys to do that."
David Ash made a few mistakes with a couple of interceptions, but other than that he was outstanding. He completed 20-of-28 passes for 343 yards to go along with a career-high-tying four touchdowns. Ash was also a factor out of the pocket with 91 rushing yards, including a 55-yard touchdown.
Malcolm Brown needed just three receptions to reach 109 yards, with most of his production coming on a 74-yard touchdown. Mike Davis, Daje Johnson and John Harris all found themselves on the receiving end of Ash's scoring strikes as well.
The Longhorns racked up 359 rushing yards without any player topping the century mark. Jalen Overstreet led the way with 92 yards on just nine carries, plunging into the end zone on two occasions. Joe Bergeron added 79 yards, and Johnson added to his total yardage with 62 yards on the ground and another score.
Texas naturally took its foot off the gas pedal late in the game, which allowed NMSU to finish with 346 yards, but it was still an impressive defensive performance as it forced three turnovers.
Cedric Reed racked up 10 tackles in the triumph to go with a sack and two QB hurries. Shiro Davis also had a sack, while Adrian Phillips logged six tackles and an interception.
Despite putting up 362 yards in its opener, BYU's offense was done in by a lack of efficiency as it converted just 7-of-23 third down attempts. The team was also somewhat undisciplined, committing seven penalties.
The rushing attack was solid, gaining 187 yards, but the squad needed 53 carries to do so (3.5 ypc) and head coach Bronco Mendenhall is not pleased with his team's performance in the trenches.
"We have some work to do in terms of our front play and being physical," Mendenhall said.
Jamaal Wilson was a workhorse, earning a career-high 33 carries for 144 yards.
Even with all the rushing attempts, Taysom Hill still found time to throw 40 passes, although he was off the mark all game (13-of-40), finishing with 175 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also added 42 rushing yards and another score on the ground.
JD Falslev hauled in Hill's touchdown pass, a four-yarder in the second quarter. Ross Apo led the receivers with 59 yards on two grabs.
Defensively, the Cougars were outstanding in defeat, holding Virginia to 223 yards and 14 first downs, although the unit couldn't come through with a stop late in the game.
Eathyn Manumaleuna and Uani Unga both registered 10 tackles. Kyle Van Noy logged 2.5 TFL and a pass break-up, and Craig Bills had an interception.