The Longhorns jumped out to an early 21-0 lead after a 15-yard TD run by junior running back Jamaal Charles, and they never looked back after that. Arizona State got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter and cut the lead to 28-10, but never got closer than that the rest of the way as their defense had no answers for the Texas attack.
Despite his four fumbles, sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy caused problems for the Sun Devil defense all night with his ability to scramble and avoid the pass rush. McCoy threw for 174 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 84 yards and another touchdown on way to earning Offensive MVP Honors. Charles finished the game with 161 yards and two touchdowns on only 21 carries.
While the Longhorn offense was firing on all cylinders, Arizona State’s offense was sputtering. Junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter never found an offensive rhythm as he completed only 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. The Sun Devils were also held to a season-low 22 rushing yards and committed five turnovers.
In typical Holiday Bowl fashion, the game featured high scores and a bizarre play featuring Texas head coach Mack Brown’s step-son, Chris Jessie. Early in the second quarter, Jessie came onto the field during a broken play and appeared to touch a live-ball, which led to a 12-minute official review. The officials ruled that Jessie had indeed touched the ball, an unsportsmanlike foul. When asked about the play after the game, coach Brown joked and said “[I]t just shows you how much our family wanted to win the game. He even got involved.”