Holiday Bowl Preview

Dec. 27, 2000

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Texas hopes sophomore quarterback Chris Simms continues his emergenceagainst Oregon in the Holiday Bowl on Friday.

Simms struggled this season after winning a preseason battle with incumbentstarter Major Applewhite. By midseason, he was benched before returning to thestarting lineup after Applewhite sprained his knee with just two gamesremaining in the season.

The Longhorns (9-2) have won six straight games and are coming off a 43-17win over rival Texas A&M on Nov. 24. Simms, the son of former New York Giantsstar Phil Simms, had a breakout game with 383 yards passing and threetouchdowns.

'This year's been ups and downs and bumps and bruises,' said Simms afterthe win against the Aggies. 'I knew I had to learn from everything that washappening. It was part of growing up.'

He finished the regular season with eight passing touchdowns and seveninterceptions, four of which were returned for touchdowns. Simms will likelystart his third straight game for Texas in place of the injured Applewhite.

The 12th-ranked Longhorns hope to take some pressure off Simms byestablishing the running game early against Oregon. Texas is averaging 201yards on the ground in its last six games. Running back Hodges Mitchell hadfour 100-yard games in his last six outings and finished with 1,118 yardsrushing this season.

It is the first trip to the Holiday Bowl for the Longhorns, who wanted toplay in the game to help recruiting efforts in Southern California. TheLonghorns have played in the Cotton Bowl the last two years, losing to Arkansaslast season.

Texas has won all five meetings with Oregon, but the teams have not metsince 1971.

The Ducks (9-2) are looking to notch their first 10-win season in theschool's 105-year history.

Oregon finished the regular season as Pacific-10 Conference co-championswith Oregon State and Washington. The Ducks are going for their second straightbowl victory.

Quarterback Joe Harrington enters the Holiday Bowl with a 13-2 record as theDucks' starting quarterback. Harrington threw 20 touchdown passes and 13interceptions while completing 52 percent of his pass attempts this year.

Tailback Maurice Morris leads the Ducks rushing attack after posting ateam-high 1,106 rushing yards and eight touchdowns this year. Norris, a junior,has been averaging 100.5 rushing yards this season.

Oregon is 5-2 against ranked teams over the past two seasons. A win overTexas could catapult the Ducks to their first season-ending top-10 nationalranking in 52 years.

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