Texas 52, Texas Tech 17
-- As Billy Pittman cruised into the end zone with a 75-yard touchdown pass, Vince Young struck a pose. Hands on hips and chest out, Superman style, the Texas quarterback soaked in the roar of an adoring crowd.
Less than two minutes into the second half, another Longhorns landslide was in the making.
Young threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and No. 2 Texas handed the 10th-ranked Red Raiders their first loss Saturday, a 52-17 victory that should do nothing but help the Longhorns' run for the Rose Bowl.
Trying to start 7-0 for the first time since 1976 and move into national title contention, the high-scoring Red Raiders (6-1, 3-1) couldn't keep up with the Longhorns (7-0, 4-0).
But that should be no surprise at this point. Other than a three-point win at Ohio State, Texas's average margin of victory is 37 points.
Brown said at the beginning of the season he felt defending national champ Southern California was a worthy No. 1 but no team could rightfully lay claim to No. 2.
"Now I think this team definitely deserves to be number two in the country," Brown said after Texas's 14th straight victory.
Cody Hodges, coming off a 643-yard passing day against Kansas State, did his best to keep the Red Raiders from getting blown off the field. The fifth-year senior went 42 for 64 for 369 yards and two touchdown passes.
"When you play a team like Texas you have to eliminate. . . . mental mistakes," Hodges said. "And we shot ourselves in the foot early on offense."
Texas withstood the barrage of short passes from Tech's Air Raid, made a couple of momentum changing special teams plays in the first half and countered with a balanced and relentless attack led by Young.
The Heisman Trophy contender threw two early interceptions, matching a career high, but finished 12 for 22 for 239 yards. More comfortable in the pocket these days, the 235-pound speedster ran just seven times for 45 yards and used that smooth stride on a 10-yard touchdown run to make it 45-17 in the third quarter.
Young gave his performance a C-plus and said in the past throwing two picks might have crushed his confidence.
"But now I'm more mature and understand the game and have more faith in my defense," he said.
Young graded out much better to Brown.
"You score 52 points, no I don't think C-plus is fair," Brown said. "That shows you the standard this team is trying to play to."
The Longhorns were second behind USC in the first Bowl Championship Series ratings released this week. After snapping Texas Tech's eight-game winning streak, that spot seems safe.
USC improved to 7-0 with a 51-24 win over Washington to keep the Trojans and Longhorns on track for a date in the BCS title game.
"Of course we're biased out there with the Pacific-10. So if we could have USC and Texas, it would be just special," said David Davis, chief of the Rose Bowl football committee, in Austin on Saturday. "It would be as good a game as we could hope for."
And with Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas up next for the Longhorns, it might be awhile before Texas faces another challenge. Maybe in the season finale at Texas A&M? Or maybe in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 4?
Safety Michael Huff summed it up this way: "Every Big 12 games is a hurdle. We just have to play every game like it's a national championship" game.