Next up in the “NCAA Football 06” re-simulation of the 2005 Texas football season is the upset-bound Rice Owls coming to DKR.
In Week 2, the Texas football program overcame what will be one of their biggest challenges of the 2005 season in this “NCAA Football 06” re-simulation. Texas would be without their star quarterback and leader, with junior Vince Young out for three weeks after he suffered an injury in the 14-point Week 2 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Last week, the Texas Longhorns football program had to call backup quarterback Matt Nordgren into action to relieve the injured Young. And the Week 3 matchup against the Rice Owls would be the first start of Nordgren’s college career. It is fortunate for the Longhorns that it would come against one of their easier opponents of the 2005 regular season, with Rice out of the Conference-USA.
But Rice’s intentions were to try and pull one of the upsets of the century so far. Rice would come in with a 1-0 record, compared to 2-0 for the Longhorns. In the previous two weeks, the Longhorns knocked off the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns by the final score of 63-24 and then No. 8 Ohio State on the road by the final score of 34-20.
That win over Ohio State catapulted Texas up to No. 2 in the Week 4 polls. Ohio State would get knocked out of the top eight, while also raking in their first loss of the 2005 regular season.
Yet, unlike in Week 2, the Longhorns came out of the gates pretty strong in the first half all things considered. Texas was missing their star quarterback and facing a team that was fairly underrated for coming out of the C-USA. Rice did shut Texas out in the first quarter, but the Longhorns would wind up carrying a 13-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The kicking game once again came up big for Texas. But there wasn’t much that could save them early in the second half. Texas victim to an early Rice touchdown in the second half. That would pull the Owls within one score, and that would hold until about halfway into the fourth quarter.
Texas would get outscored by Rice in the fourth quarter too. Rice got on the board with another touchdown in the fourth quarter. But Texas would get one touchdown on the ground later in the fourth to hang on with the 20-17 nail biter win.
Phew. This one was close.
Nordgren wouldn’t do great through the air, completing only 12-of-20 passing attempts for 138 yards, one touchdown, but no interceptions. There will be a quarterback change next week, with true freshman former four-star recruit Colt McCoy looking to take the reigns.
The win would move Texas to a record of 3-0 on the season heading into the next bye week. They get one more week to recover, and hopefully one step closer to getting VY back. But VY fell even further out of the Heisman picture in Week 3, as USC quarterback Matt Leinart still held the top spot in the race.
Leinart was followed by Florida State Seminoles running back Leon Washington, Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Ed Hinkle, Utah Utes wide receiver Travis Latendresse, and Iowa quarterback Drew Tate (in that order), in the Heisman Watch.
For his efforts in this narrow win over Rice, preseason All-American defensive tackle Rodrique Wright would get National Player of the Week honors. He had 14 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in this game alone.
Texas will turn its attention to the bye week after beating Rice to move to 3-0 on the season. They would hold the No. 2 ranking heading into the bye week, and prepare for the Big 12 opener and the Mizzou Tigers on the road in Week 4. Look out for McCoy to get his first career start vs. Mizzou.
The actual game vs. Rice in 2005 resulted in the Longhorns winning by the final score of 51-10.