STATE COLLEGE, PA., SEPT. 8 -- Adrian Walker returned the second half's opening kickoff 88 yards to set up the go-ahead score, and then the Texas Longhorns fought off No. 21 Penn State's fourth-quarter rally to post a 17-13 victory today.

Walker's return put Texas on the Penn State 6. The Longhorns cashed in immediately, with running back Chris Samuels scoring on the first play. Peter Gardere's pass to Keith Cash for the two-point conversion gave Texas a 14-7 lead with only 19 seconds gone in the third quarter.

Texas added a 20-yard field goal by Michael Pollak -- he had three for the day -- with 2:40 left in the quarter and then took advantage of two Penn State penalties in the last quarter to keep time-consuming possessions alive.

"It's been about five years since we've won in our first start," Texas Coach David McWilliams said. "I thouht the kicking game made the difference today. We blocked a field goal, blocked a punt and had the big return. This game should be a springboard for us."

Penn State was penalized 13 times for 83 yards.

"We were jittery," said Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. "They did a good job with their cadence. It was a tense game, Texas was aggressive and strong. We're not a big football team, either offensively or defensively. We have to rely on quickness."

Despite the mistakes, Penn State still had life in the final quarter, Gary Brown's five-yard touchdown run closing the gap with 11:41 left.

After Pollak missed a 30-yard field goal attempt with 9:32 remaining in the game, the Nittany Lions moved from their 20 to the Texas 13. But the drive stalled and Henry Adkins missed a 31-yard field goal try with 5:16 left.

"I preach and I believe that most first games are lost by the kicking game," said Paterno. "I'm frustrated, with as much time as we spent on it {the kicking game}. We didn't catch punts, we got kicks blocked. I thought the kicking game was horrible."

Penn State's fifth offside penalty late in the fourth helped Texas keep possession near midfield and forced the Nittany Lions to call time out. The Longhorns eventually punted, giving the Nittany Lions one last chance with 1:06 remaining. Starting from its own 24, Penn State got completions from quarterback Tony Sacca of 13 yards to running back Leroy Thompson and 21 yards to split end David Daniels to move to the Texas 42.

Texas defender Lance Gunn was then called for pass interference against tight end Ricky Sayles, giving Penn State a first down on the Longhorns' 27 with 22 seconds remaining. Sacca then hit wide receiver Terry Smith over the middle at the Texas 20. With time running out, Sacca regrouped for one final play, but his hurried pass to tight end Al Golden in the end zone was broken up by linebacker Boone Powell and cornerback Stanley Richard.

"I was just back there freelancing on the last drive," said Sacca, who completed 13 of 32 passes for 243 yards. "At the end of the game with time running out there was a little bit of panic, but we got the play off. Basically, the team responded with the two-minute offense. We just didn't get the last play."

Penn State scored first, also returning an opening kickoff to set it up. Brown returned the game's opening kickoff 95 yards to the Texas 3. Three plays later Thompson scored from the 3. Brown, who is battling Thompson for playing time at tailback after playing defense last season, returned five kickoffs for 201 yards. Brown and Thompson alternated at tailback, combining for 100 yards on 25 carries.