AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—Sam Houston State was little more than a scrimmage for No. 7 Texas. Bring on Oklahoma.
Colt McCoy passed for two touchdowns, Henry Melton ran for two more and the Longhorns emptied their bench and still piled up the points on Division I-AA Sam Houston State in a 56-3 win Saturday night.
Next up, the rival Sooners who won five straight over Texas before the Longhorns ended the losing streak last season in their run to the national championship.
While thousands of fans left early, many who stayed to the end chanted “Beat OU!” as the Longhorns left the field.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” McCoy said. “My whole life.”
The Longhorns first had to dispatch an overmatched opponent in a game that was as one-sided as expected. Sam Houston State was Texas’ first I-AA opponent since 1992 and the Longhorns (4-1) made quick work of the Bearkats (2-2).
Texas led 42-0 by halftime and scored more than 50 points for the third time this season.
“This was a week no one talked about outside of our team. It would have been easy to lose focus,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “Everybody we put in played well.”
Melton, a 270-pound tailback normally used in short-yardage and mop-up situations, got the start and ran for 63 yards as the Longhorns sat Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young. McCoy was 13-of-15 passing for 178 yards, all in the first half.
Freshman Jevan Snead, who lost the preseason battle with McCoy to start, ran for a second-quarter touchdown and threw a 56-yard scoring strike to Jordan Shipley on the second play of the third.
After that, Texas used a steady diet of runs up the middle to use up the game clock. The Longhorns also forced three turnovers.
“If you can get through a game like this without injuries, do the things that need to be done, and not embarrass the other bunch or their kids, it’s a win-win,” Brown said.
Sam Houston State coach Todd Whitten didn’t pretend that his team expected to have much of a chance to win, or even make a game of it.
“In I-AA, this is just what’s going to happen,” Whitten said. “Everyone is going to play a big school. I told them to have fun. The players don’t mind the challenge.”
Texas blocked the Bearkats’ first punt for a touchdown and led 21-0 after the first quarter. Melton scored on a 2-yard run and McCoy fired an 8-yard TD to Nate Jones.
McCoy completed his first nine passes and sat out a series when Snead directed the Longhorns to their fourth TD. Snead hit Jermichael Finley for 29 yards up the middle before finishing the drive with an 8-yard run that made it 28-0.
Melton scored again from the 1 before McCoy and Limas Sweed connected for their fifth touchdown this season, this time on an acrobatic catch by Sweed that covered 42 yards for the final score of the half.
The teams had barely come out of the locker room when Shipley, one of Texas’ top recruits in 2004 before knee and hamstring injuries forced him to miss the last two seasons, blew past the deep coverage in the middle of the field to haul in a perfect spiral from Snead for the score.
Snead was 7-of-8 passing for 122 yards.
“We do feel like he (Snead) could go in now and help us win,” Brown said.
Sam Houston State avoided the shutout with Taylor Wilkins’ 36-yard field goal in the third. Texas scored its last TD in the fourth on a 55-yard punt return by Quan Cosby.
By then, many in Royal-Memorial Stadium had already left, perhaps to get an early start on the party leading up to the matchup with the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Texas defensive end Tim Crowder could hardly wait.
“It’s going to be a dog fight,” Crowder said.