No. 1 ranked Texas survived an early scare today before rolling in the second half behind Earl Campbell to trounce Houston, 35-14, in Rice Stadium.
Texas led by only 14-13 at the hald, but Campbell, who is seeking the Heisman Trophy gained 110 yards in the third quarter, scoring one ouchdown and setting up another, and the Longhorns easily pulled away from their outmanned opponents.
Campbell finished with 173 yards for the day, his sixth strainght game over 100 yards. He also scored his team's first three touchdowns.
Houston, which shut out Texas last year, outgained the Longhorns by 30 yards in the first half but couldn't cope with texas' quicker, stronger defense after intermission.
Texas should have been trailing at halftime.
But the Longhorns got a break when Houston freshman quarterback Darrell Shepard fumbled on his nine trying to run an option play.
Shepard was in the game only that play, and only because regular quarterback Delrick Brown had his shirt torn off on the previous play and had to leave for repairs.
Texas needed only three plays to score with Earl Campbell sprinting around right end and almost knocking over the Texas mascot. Bevo the Longhorn steer, in the process. The placement kick gave the human Longhorns a 14-10 lead.
Houston marched right back, driving 54 yards on two pass completions by Brown to set up a 43-yard field goal by Kenny Hatfield, another of those marvelous kickers in this kicking-rich Southwest Conference.
A missed field goal of 59 yards by Russell Erxleben ended the half with Texas ahead, 14-13.
Earlier, the Longhorns had surrendered their first touchdown on the ground this season.
Houston ran right at the Texas interior line and opened up gaping holes for back Alois Blackwell. He took advantage of the opportunities by ripping off gains of eight and 13 yards before bursting off left tackle and sprinting 44 yards for a 6-0 Houston lead.
Before he got into the end zone, Blackwell first had to run over Johnnie Johnson at the Longhorn 25. He did so easily, much to the delight of the 72,124 fans in attendance, a record of home attendance for a Houston game.
Texas hardly seemed concerned about being behind for only the second time this season. The Longhorns took the ensuing kickoff and methodically tore up the Houston defense.
They drove 80 yards in 11 plays, using Campbell as a bettering ram up the middle and quarterback Randy McEachern's passing as a surprise weapon.
McEachern picked up a key first down on the Houston 26. On third and 11, he connected with Alfred Jackson over the middle and Jackson survived a savage hit by Gerald Cook for a first down at the Houston nine.
On second down, Campbell took a McEachern pitch and raced untouched into the end zone from the six and the extra point tied it at 7-all.
Houston again grabbed the lead, 10-7, midway through the second quarter when Hatfield booted a 26-yard field goal.
The kick was set up by an 11-play Houston drive. The big play was a 39-yard pass from Brown to Blackwell, who was tackled on the Texas nine.
But Houston couldn't budge the Texas defense for more than two additional yards and the Cougars had to settle for the field goal.
Texas was denied a chance for at least two more touchdowns when Olympic sprinter Johnny (Lam) Jones dropped two passes in the clear.
The first came just before Houston's first field goal. Jones was all by himself on the Cougar seven, but the ball hit his hands and bounced harmlessly away.
Then just before the half ended, he couldn't handle an over-the-shoulder try at the Houston 10. Again, he was clear for an easy sprint into the end zone.
Campbell, who picked up 61 yards in the first half, quickly added more during a third-period Texas march that gave the Longhorns a 21-13 margin.
Taking a pitchout from McEachern on the Houston 40, Campbell cut around right end, sprinted to the 30, cut to the middle and ran past the Houston defense, refusing to stop until he hit the end zone.
A pressure pass by McEachern set up the touchdown. Texas was penalized for holding, but McEachern came right back to toss a 26-yard bullet to Alfred Jackson for a first down. Three plays later, Campbell scored.
He almost made it four touchdowns on Texas' next possession. On a third and 10 from the Cougar 44, he took an option pitch and rambled down the left sideline. He was knocked out on the one and Texas went over on the next play to take a 28-13 lead.