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No. 2 Longhorns adjust to Laramie, roll past Cowboys

No. 2 Longhorns adjust to Laramie, roll past Cowboys

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LARAMIE -- The Texas Longhorns brought plenty to the high plains of Laramie -- a No. 2 ranking, a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and dreams of a national championship.

They left with a scare -- well, as much of a scare as there can be in a 41-10 victory.

In front of the sixth-largest crowd in War Memorial Stadium's history, nearly all of them dressed in Wyoming gold, and playing on the highest football field in Division I, the Longhorns needed about 28 and a half minutes to adjust to it all.

But once they did, the Longhorns showed why they're national championship contenders, and probably the best team to ever come to Laramie.

Texas coach Mack Brown chalked up the Longhorns' first half-struggles on Saturday to a mix of factors -- elevation, environment and underestimation among them.

"This team beat Tennessee last year, and nobody acts like they're any good," Brown said. "You sit around and tell somebody they're not good all week, they'll listen to it."

Texas looked shell-shocked for the first quarter and most of the second quarter and at one point trailed the Cowboys 10-6.

Brown couldn't explain the struggles, but said the altitude might have factored into the problems the Longhorns had in the first half.

"There's so much talk about the altitude up here," he said. "You all talk about it all the time. You've got those signs everywhere you look.

"It hasn't bothered us at Colorado and it didn't bother at El Paso, but maybe 7,200 feet's a little different. I thought it did affect us a little bit earlier in the day and it seemed like we got more used to it."

Once Texas got used to both the elevation and the Cowboys' defensive schemes, the Longhorns rolled. Quarterback Colt McCoy completed 30 passes -- still not enough for either him or Brown -- and the Longhorns scored 21 third-quarter points. The Longhorns out-gained Wyoming 544-273.

"You gotta understand what we came into," McCoy said. "Wyoming, we knew they were gonna play lights out and they did, even more [than expected], especially in the first half. They were getting pressure on us back in the backfield on run plays, they were dropping a lot of guys back, and it was hard to complete passes.

"The fans here are awesome. This is a great place to play. The weather was great. We just didn't handle it like we should in the first half."

More than winning, Brown was satisfied his team handled adversity as well as it did, something the Longhorns didn't have to do much in last week's 59-20 romp over Louisiana-Monroe.

And he came away impressed with what Wyoming -- the state and the team -- had to offer.

"This was an exciting day for Wyoming," Brown said. "It was a full house and I'm really proud for them. I think this was great for their program.

"At the same time, I thought that it was the challenge for us that we needed."


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