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No. 5 Texas works through early struggles to put away Wyoming

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas opened up the playbook to show off Garrett Gilbert's arm.

The result: a handful of big plays sprinkled into an otherwise methodical 34-7 win over Wyoming on Saturday night.

Gilbert, in his first home start after taking over at quarterback from Colt McCoy, passed for 222 yards and his first touchdown of the season for the No. 5 Longhorns.

After spending most of the season-opener against Rice handing off more than 40 times, Gilbert was 22 of 35 passing against the Cowboys. Freshman Mike Davis was his big target with seven catches for 104 yards and a flashy 45-yard touchdown.

Fozzy Whittaker scored on a tackle-breaking 39-yard run for Texas' first TD.

"I think we're getting some identity now," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We think there's pieces there now that if we put them together, we have a chance to be pretty good."

Texas (2-0) held the Cowboys to 257 total yards.

Wyoming (1-1) played just six days after the death of freshman linebacker Ruben Narcisse, who was killed in a car accident in Colorado on Monday. The Cowboys wore decals with his initials, and safety Shamiel Gary wore Narcisse's No. 12 to honor him Saturday night.

"Ruben was a good friend to me," Gary said. "I just wanted to come out here and represent for him and show his family some love."

Playing to honor their teammate, the Cowboys kept things close for a half.

"It was a very difficult week," Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said, "and they came out tonight and gave a tremendous effort."

Texas' first five drives resulted in two field goals and three punts before Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels scampered 18 yards for a touchdown and a 7-6 lead.

The touchdown seemed to be the jolt Texas needed.

The Longhorns needed just four plays to respond, and Whittaker broke four tackles on his touchdown run up the middle. He smashed through two defenders near the line of scrimmage and shook two more downfield before romping into the end zone.

"They got behind and they didn't like it," Brown said.

The Texas defense quickly got the ball back at midfield, and Gilbert threw the strike to Davis on the first play.

Davis, who drew raves from Texas coaches in training camp, didn't have a catch in the first game. He had four for 90 yards by halftime against Wyoming. The touchdown came on a crossing route when he stopped, spun to the right and outran the defender over the next 30 yards to put Texas up 20-7.

"I had to go get it," Davis said. "I saw daylight and saw all of the fans and had to make them smile, make them happy."

In the third quarter, Gilbert made a move worthy of McCoy -- if not quite Vince Young -- when he scrambled to avoid a rush and hopped over a tackler for an 11-yard gain. The play came on a third down in an 11-play drive that Cody Johnson finished with a 2-yard touchdown.

Gilbert said he hasn't run the hurdles since he was in seventh grade and even surprised himself with the leap.

"I don't know where that one came from," Gilbert said.

Gilbert's numbers could have been better. Texas receivers dropped at least three passes, including a perfectly thrown 50-yard strike to Marquis Goodwin in the third quarter.

Johnson punched in Texas' final touchdown on a 1-yard run with 54 seconds to play.

Brown said he was frustrated by the stalled drives and struggles to score in the first half. But he liked enough of what he saw to feel pretty good going into Big 12 play next weekend on the road at Texas Tech.

Texas finished with 389 total yards and didn't give up a turnover or a sack.

"We've been trying to figure out who we are. We tried to be more balanced and truly think that happened," Brown said. "We told them this would be a week we'd start seeing their personality come out."