Sept. 9, 2006
In the first regular season matchup of No. 1 vs. No 2 in a decade, Smith riddled the Longhorns for 269 yards passing and two touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to a 24-7 win Saturday night.
The victory keeps the Buckeyes (2-0) in perfect position for a run to a national title. Keep winning and they stay right where they are.
The Buckeyes defense, which had to replace nine starters this season, looked championship caliber, holding a Texas team that had scored at least 40 points in 12 consecutive games to a single touchdown.
As for No. 2 Texas (1-1), which saw its 21-game winning streak snapped, the Longhorns will need some help if they hope to defend their 2005 championship at the end of the season.
Colt McCoy was no Vince Young in the rematch of last season's 25-22 Texas win in Columbus. The Longhorns' new starting QB threw for 154 yards with an interception and a touchdown.
"It's not a revenge thing, any and every win we get during the course of the season is a good win," said Smith, who split time at quarterback in last year's game, his first after a suspension.
The last time 1-2 met in the regular season, No. 2 Florida State beat No. 1 Florida, but the Gators won the rematch in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship.
Smith was everything Texas feared this time: a leader and a playmaker.
He threw first half touchdown passes of 14 yards to Anthony Gonzalez and a 29-yard to best friend and high school teammate Ted Ginn Jr. The second was a perfect strike just before halftime that sucked the life out of the home crowd.
Gonzalez had eight catches for 142 yards, both career highs, against a defense concentrating on stopping Ginn, who finished with five catches for 97 yards.
The Longhorns used their win in Columbus last season as the springboard to their first undisputed national title since 1969. But that win and that season came with Young at quarterback.
McCoy, the redshirt freshman from West Texas, showed he can take a tough hit, but he couldn't pull off the type of comeback that Young had made legendary in his Texas career.
Saturday night's game was an unusual early-season blockbuster with two of college football's heavyweights both on the field and in tradition.
Ohio State was the first No. 1 to come to Austin since SMU in 1950.
A Buckeyes booster put up $225,000 to bring the Ohio State band, and fans groups estimated that as many as 40,000 Buckeyes faithful made the 1,200-mile trip from Columbus, with or without tickets for the game.
The Royal-Memorial Stadium record crowd of 89,442 was on its feet 30 minutes before kickoff while a couple hundred more watched Wrigley Field-style from the roof of the parking lot next door. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who lives in Austin, was an honorary captain for the coin flip and LeBron James watched from the Ohio State sideline.