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September 17, 2011Game Ticker | box score
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) With a new McCoy thriving in a familiar old setting, these Texas Longhorns showed they've come an awfully long way in the year since they lost to UCLA.
Case McCoy passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, D.J. Grant made his first three career touchdown catches, and the 23rd-ranked Longhorns avenged last season's stunning home loss to the Bruins with a 49-20 victory on Saturday.
McCoy hadn't been to the Rose Bowl since he watched his older brother, Colt, get injured during Texas' loss to Alabama in the BCS title game 20 months ago. The Longhorns have been rebuilding ever since, but they might have found their next quarterback: McCoy was a model of efficiency, going 12 for 15 without a turnover or a sack as Texas systematically shredded the Bruins for 488 total yards.
"We never think about revenge, but we do think about playing good," said McCoy, a sophomore who replaced Garrett Gilbert and led Texas past BYU last week. "I know we all had a bad taste in our mouth from last year's loss to these guys. That's not a fond memory ... and neither is the last time we were here."
Malcolm Brown rushed for 110 yards and a score, and Foswhitt Whittaker ran for two more touchdowns for the Longhorns (3-0), who got solid production from two young quarterbacks. Freshman David Ash went 3 for 3 in frequent relief action.
Jaxon Shipley caught five passes and threw a TD pass for the Longhorns, whose spiral to a losing record last season began with that 34-12 loss to UCLA. Coach Mack Brown appears to have his young roster back on the road to title contention, although he cautioned against exuberance after drilling the struggling Bruins.
"I liked what I saw from both sides of the ball," said Brown, who wasn't sure which quarterback would get more playing time when the game began. "Very few people thought we would be 3-0. I thought this has been perfect for us, to win a tight one at home last week and then come out here and do really well in this game that we lost last year. That's two statements of improvement."
Grant missed the past two seasons with a knee injury and had one catch in the Longhorns' first two games this fall before scoring in each of the first three quarters against UCLA. The third-string tight end led Texas with six catches for 77 yards, including a 45-yard TD grab in the opening minutes.
Texas also rushed for 284 yards, answering the Bruins' overwhelming ground attack in last year's matchup.
"A year ago, we beat Texas by throwing nine passes," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I thought we'd be able to run the ball and control the clock, but we turned it over."
Derrick Coleman rushed for two touchdowns and UCLA punter Jeff Locke made two long field goals, but the Bruins again struggled mightily on defense under new coordinator Joe Tresey, giving up 104 points in their first three games.
"We've got a new coach as defensive coordinator, and we're trying to find our footing," Neuheisel said. "I thought it would have gone better, but it has not. We have to be better. We weren't able to stop them."
A large contingent of burnt-orange-clad Longhorns fans assembled at the Rose Bowl, the site of a big chunk of the top moments in recent Texas football history. The Longhorns beat Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl and claimed the national title on the same field a year later, beating Southern California in one of the best games in college football history.
Brehaut had played most of UCLA's first two games after Prince incurred a concussion and a shoulder injury in the season opener, but Prince got the surprise start from Neuheisel after leading UCLA's win at Texas last season.
"It's not the way I should play and am capable of playing," said Prince, who completed three passes to each team. "It was just unforced errors on my part. ... It was a huge game. It would have been a huge win for the program if we could have gotten it."
Three plays after Carrington Byndom intercepted Prince's first pass, McCoy found Grant in a huge hole in UCLA's coverage.
Whittaker capped a 71-yard drive with an 8-yard TD run on a direct snap moments later, and Prince finished his horrific quarter with his third interception on a poorly thrown pass on the final play, earning boos from the Rose Bowl crowd.
"We feel like we're taking the right steps," said Texas cornerback Adrian Phillips, who had an interception for the second straight game. "We wanted to come out and show we're a different team than they played last year."
Brown lost his shoe during a 16-yard TD run through the heart of UCLA's defense on the ensuing drive, putting the Longhorns up 21-0.
Brehaut took over and engineered a 74-yard TD drive, but UCLA made small mistakes - such as returning from a timeout with 12 men on the field - and bigger blunders like Glenn Love's holding penalty that wiped out Josh Smith's kickoff return inside the Texas 20.
Between its two quarterbacks, Texas didn't throw an incompletion until 6 1/2 minutes remained in the second quarter.
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