AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—After two weeks of first-half hiccups, slow starts and shaking off symptoms of the flu, No. 2 Texas’ goals were simple: get the touchdowns rolling early and put the game away in a hurry.
Colt McCoy threw three first-half touchdown passes and the Longhorns rolled to a 40-point lead by halftime before cruising to a 64-7 win Saturday over Texas-El Paso.
“That,” McCoy said, “was a good day.”
An easy one, too.
The Longhorns (4-0) turned in a dominating defensive performance and burnished McCoy’s Heisman Trophy campaign on a day some other early contenders faltered.
McCoy, who battled the flu a week earlier, shook off an early interception for a touchdown to finish with 286 yards on 28-of-35 passing. He connected with Dan Buckner for scoring throws of 36 and 15 yards and with Jordan Shipley on a 16-yarder.
“I had a lot more energy in practice this week,” said McCoy, who left the game after Texas’ first possession in the third quarter with Texas leading 50-7.
With hot and steamy weather conditions perfect for their hurry-up offense, Texas had little trouble moving up and down the field. Texas had more than 300 yards passing (335) and rushing (304) for only the second time in school history.
“It wore us out,” UTEP coach Mike Price said. “We were running guys in and out, trying to keep fresh.”
The 64 points was the most for Texas since a 70-3 win over Colorado in the 2005 Big 12 championship game.
“You hate to beat somebody that bad … but the game just kind of got out of hand,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
The Texas defense forced five turnovers by UTEP (1-3) quarterback Trevor Vittatoe and held the Miners to 53 total yards and seven first downs.
Even the special teams had a record-setting day.
Freshman D.J. Monroe’s 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter was his second of the season. Monroe is the first player in Texas history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a career.
UTEP’s first turnover got Texas rolling.
Sergio Kindle sacked Vittatoe on the fifth play of the game, causing a fumble that set up a 3-yard run by Tre’ Newton. Kindle’s hit was the first of four Texas sacks.
“I got around the tackle and, once again, the QB was sitting there waiting for me,” Kindle said.
McCoy made his only mistake in the first quarter. Melvin Stephenson II jumped inside Shipley for an easy interception and scampered untouched toward a large group of Miners fans behind a corner of the end zone.
“It was a great feeling. I felt like we had a chance,” Stephenson said.
Monroe doused the fun seconds later.
He took the kickoff and broke into open field to his left. Miners kicker Kyle Peterson wasn’t going to catch the former Texas high school 100 meters champion.
“I think we have a chance now, every time somebody kicks it to us, we can score,” Brown said,
McCoy’s first touchdown to Buckner made it 23-7. The scoring pass to Shipley made it 33-7 before tailback Vondrell McGee, who had lost his starting position to Newton, took a pitch from McCoy and scrambled 23 yards for a score. McGee finished with 104 yards rushing.
Texas kept up the pressure.
“We started the game like we were behind,” Buckner said. “We wanted to score every time we got the ball.”
McCoy was intense, pumping his fist and yelling at receivers after a couple of dropped passes. His second connection with Buckner was a nifty one-handed grab over two defenders a minute before halftime, Buckner’s fourth touchdown of the season.
“He made that look real pretty didn’t he?” McCoy said.
With the sun still pounding the East side of the stadium, many Texas fans had seen enough and started heading for the exits. Easily half of the announced crowd of 101,144 did not return for the third quarter.
The only thing those that stayed could have been curious about was how long McCoy would stay in the game. McCoy drove Texas to a 21-yard field goal by Hunter Lawrence before he was relieved by freshman Garrett Gilbert.