Longhorns know Buckeyes play their best at night

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas - They've won the Rose Bowl. They've won tough games at Arkansas and Texas A&M. They've played before crowds so loud they couldn't hear themselves talk.

Now the No. 2 Texas Longhorns head to Ohio State for a Saturday night matchup with the No. 6 Buckeyes, who bring a crowd in excess of 100,000 every week. Ohio State has never lost a night game in Columbus and hasn't lost at home outside the Big 10 since 1990.

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''I love it,'' Texas quarterback Vince Young. ''We could go down there and make history.''

Texas (1-0) has won 21 of its last 22 games on an opponent's home field. That five-game losing streak to Oklahoma? That series is played in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl, where the fans are split along the 50-yard line. Walking into an opponents' backyard has been a different story.

''We've played well on the road,'' Young said. ''Everybody accepts the challenge.''

The Longhorns have been pointing to this game since they walked off the field after beating Michigan 38-37 in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

''We knew it was going to be hyped. All the players and coaches got ready during the summer,'' cornerback Cedric Griffin said. ''We're ready to go.''

For all the knocks coach Mack Brown has taken for the losses in Dallas, he's had a good track record of beating teams on their home turf.

In 1998, his first season with Texas, the Longhorns snapped Nebraska's 47-game home winning streak. The Cornhuskers then ran off 26 straight wins in Lincoln until the Longhorns ended the streak again in 2002. Brown won his last two trips to Texas A&M's Kyle Field and last year got out of Fayetteville, Ark., with a win in front of a rabid Razorbacks crowd.

This time, the Longhorns head to a state with a football tradition as rich as their own. Both schools have played the game more than 100 years, their programs two of the biggest heavyweights.

''Most of the guys who come here like the big crowds,'' Brown said. ''They like the big stage. They like people yelling at them. Everybody we've talked to says you can't hear at all.''

The winner gets the early nod as one of the favorites for the national title. The loser can still get back into the chase if it wins the Big Ten or Big 12 title, but that won't be easy.

''Whoever loses this game,'' safety Michael Huff said, ''will have a huge challenge.''