DALLAS -- During No. 21 Texas' win over Southern Methodist, one of the rookie Longhorn running backs recorded a first for 1995 and "surprised" offensive tackle John Elmore in the process.
"I'm surprised it took this long," Elmore said, referring to the first 100-yard rushing day for a Texas back this season. The feat was turned in by junior transfer Shon Mitchell in a 35-10 Longhorn victory that was uglier than the SMU mascot.
Mitchell did not stop at the 100-yard mark, finishing the day with 180 yards on 19 carries. He added two touchdown runs, including a 65-yarder that tied Ricky Williams for the longest Longhorn carry this year.
"Ricky already had one, so I wanted to go out and get one," Mitchell said.
Mitchell only carried the ball once after the third quarter.
"He just made a couple of nice moves," said Texas running back coach Bucky Godbolt.
"It makes Coach Bucky real happy," Mitchell said. "He's always said to look for the big holes and we finally got one and I took advantage."
Texas head coach John Mackovic preferred to stay on the ground at the Cotton Bowl Saturday as he called 52 running plays and only 25 passing plays. The Texas offense rolled up a season-high 558 total yards (7.2 yards per play), 341 of which came on running plays.
Texas' other first-year running back, Ricky Williams, was bothered by a sore knee and only carried the ball nine times for 48 yards.
On the first of Mitchell's touchdown runs, a 3-yarder that gave the Horns a 14-0 second-quarter lead, Texas was flagged for celebration when a player took off his helmet. Mitchell said it wasn't him.
"I've been there enough times, I don't need to do that," Mitchell said.
He wasn't kidding, in fact, he would return to the end zone in the third quarter and in much grander style.
With 4:13 left in the third and Texas leading precariously, 21-10, Mitchell took the handoff from quarterback Richard Walton and burst through the line of scrimmage. He broke a tackle and burst to the outside and saw that only one Mustang defender stood between him and paydirt.
"Everybody pursued to the right so I cut it back to the left," Mitchell said. "I kept cutting it back and finally there was only one man to beat, so I just turned on the speed."
The touchdown run was the back-breaker for SMU, desperately trying to get back into a game it had no business being in in the first place.
The Longhorns would add an insurance touchdown later in the third for the final margin of victory.
"I didn't get to see [Mitchell] much," Elmore said. "He was either behind me or by the time I saw him, he was gone."
Prior to Saturday Mitchell had averaged 71 yards on 10 carries and scored one touchdown. His 180 yards was the second-best performance in the Southwest Conference this season and pushes his per-game average to 98.5.
Mitchell's total was just seven yards shy of Charles Hunter's Longhorn record of 187 rushing yards by a first-year player. Mitchell now ranks third on this list behind Hunter and Johnny "Lam" Jones (182 yards).
DALLAS -- When the history of the Cotton Bowl is looked back upon, people probably won't stop to recount Texas' 35-10 win over Southern Methodist on Saturday.
The Longhorns don't care.
"We needed a win after last week's performance," said safety Chris Carter, referring to Texas' 55-27 loss at Notre Dame. "This was a big game because it was a conference game."
No. 21 Texas (3-1, 1-0 SWC) notched its first Southwest Conference victory of the year in front of only 26,921 fans in Dallas. The Horns edged up to No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 football poll, but jumped from 19th to 16th in the USA Today/CNN football poll.
Running back Shon Mitchell had the best outing of his short four-game career at Texas. The junior transfer exploded for 180 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns, one of which went for 65 yards to give Texas a comfortable 28-10 lead near the end of the third quarter.
But Mitchell was the extent of Texas' enthusiasm against the Mustangs, and its sluggish play on the field was an indicator of that.
"I think we still made mistakes that you can't make if you want to be a consistent good football team," Texas offensive tackle John Elmore said.
The Horns threw three interceptions, lost a fumble and had another poor showing on special teams. SMU (1-4, 0-1 SWC) simply didn't have the personnel to make Texas pay.
"I think we have one guy out there who really has confidence and who was making the plays today, and that's [tailback] Donte Womack," SMU head coach Tom Rossley said. "We tried to get the ball to him as much as we could.
Womack rushed for 104 yards on 24 carries and also caught seven passes for 25 yards, including a 6-yard TD reception. Five other receivers each had only one catch.
"We thought we'd be patient and wait for [Texas] to give us a chance, and they did," Rossley said. "We just couldn't do anything with it."
The Longhorns held SMU to 188 total yards while piling up 558 yards themselves.
Texas quarterback James Brown finished 12-of-19 for 169 yards and two TDs, but continued to be hampered by a sore shoulder.
Mustang cornerback Cornell Parker picked off Brown three times and forced Brown out of the game after Texas' first play of the second half when he came away with his third INT of the afternoon.
"On the last interception, [Brown] knew what to do, but he just couldn't get the ball there," said Longhorn coach John Mackovic. "I said we're going to have to change our entire offense for the rest of the day or try it with Richard [Walton]."
The Horns opted for Walton. And after a couple of near INTs upon entering the game, Walton settled down and later threw an impressive 25-yard TD strike to Matt Davis with 46 seconds left in the third for the last Texas score. The catch was Davis' second of the afternoon and his second touchdown reception as well.
Brown said he wasn't too concerned with Mackovic's decision for the change quarterbacks.
"I felt like I could [throw the ball], but obviously I couldn't," Brown said. "[Mackovic] told me before the game he might take me out. But I didn't mind. We were winning."
Texas never let the game get out of reach, although it looked as if the Mustangs would make an attempt to get back in it during the third quarter.
The Horns led 21-3 when Mike Adams fumbled a punt and SMU recovered at the Texas 3. Three plays later, quarterback Chris James threw a shovel pass to Womack that cut the margin to 21-10 at the 5:17 mark.
But Texas -- namely Mitchell -- killed any hopes of a Mustang rally. Mitchell ran right for 10, ran left for nine and then up the middle before breaking to the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown burst with 4:00 to play in the quarter.
Texas 7 14 14 0 -- 35 SMU 0 3 7 0 -- 10 Tex--M.Davis 17 pass from Brown (Dawson kick) Tex--Mitchell 3 run (Dawson kick) SMU--FG Crosland 34 Tex--McLemore 11 pass from Brown (Dawson kick) SMU--Womack 6 pass from James (Crosland kick) Tex--Mitchell 65 run (Dawson kick) Tex--Davis 25 pass from Walton (Dawson kick) A--26,921. Texas SMU First downs 30 9 Rushes-yards 52-341 31-88 Passing 217 101 Return Yards 0 43 Comp-Att-Int 15-25-3 12-30-0 Punts 4-36 11-34 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-0 Penalties-Yards 8-61 6-67 Time of Possession 33:57 26:03 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING Texas - Mitchell 19-180, Williams 9-48, Clayton 5-42, McGarity 7-36, Wilson 6-19, Brown 5-17. SMU - Womack 24-104, Harmon 2-9. PASSING Texas - Brown 12-19-3-169, Walton 3-6-0-48. SMU - James, 12-30-0-101. RECEIVING Texas - Adams 4-63, McLemore 3-31, Fitzgerald 3-46, M.Davis 2-42. SMU - Womack 7-25.