Big 12: Florida International Owls

Longhorns' defense resilient after early struggles

August, 30, 2008
8/30/08
8:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

AUSTIN, Texas  -- Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has to have mixed emotions one quarter into his new job. His Texas defense has been repeatedly gashed for huge gains early in the game, but has come up with enough big plays to enable the Longhorns to maintain a 14-0 lead over Florida Atlantic.

Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith has already blistered Texas for 151 yards and had the Owls twice inside the Texas 16. But the Longhorns ended with big plays to kill both drives.

The young Texas secondary has looked spotty, but has shown resiliency. Only a play after his missed tackle resulted in a 62-yard pass, Texas freshman safety Earl Thomas tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage that led to an interception in the end zone by Deon Palmer.

Vondrell McGee started as Texas' tailback and rushed for 39 yards behind an offensive front that was dominating the smaller Owls in the trenches. Texas averaged 7.3 yards per rush in the first quarter

The Texas offense also gave Texas QB Colt McCoy more than enough time to pass. He responding by completing his first seven passes as the Longhorns scored on their first two possessions to immediately take control in the game. Texas was not forced into a third-down possession in either scoring drive.

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