COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Vince Young and Texas were far from perfect, but the Longhorns fought through their faults, remained unbeaten and moved one step closer to the Rose Bowl.
Ramonce Taylor ran for two touchdowns, Cedric Griffin returned a blocked punt for score in the third quarter and the No. 2 Longhorns survived Young's shakiest game of the season to keep their national championship hopes intact with a 40-29 win over Texas A&M on Friday.
Young is one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy, but Aggies freshman Stephen McGee made the plays the Longhorns' quarterback usually makes. McGee ran for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first start as A&M made a strong run at pulling off one of the biggest upsets in a 111-year-old rivalry.
Young came in likely needing a big game to keep pace with USC's Reggie Bush in the chase for the Heisman Trophy -- and his penchant for making big plays in Texas' biggest games seemed to guarantee it.
Instead, he struggled against a defense ranked 109th in the country with 162 yards passing, 19 rushing and two turnovers that led directly to Aggies' touchdowns. He did throw for a touchdown and led to key late drives for field goals.
Despite his bad game, Texas (11-0, 8-0) moves on to the Big 12 title game next Saturday against the winner of the North Division. Win that game and the Longhorns are a lock for a return trip the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 to play for the Bowl Championship Series title.
The Aggies (5-6, 3-5) did everything they could to spoil those plans.
Behind McGee, who was starting in place of injured senior Reggie McNeal, and the punishing running of 265-pound freshman Jorvorski Lane, the Aggies had the Longhorns reeling before finally running out of gas late in the fourth quarter. The Aggies finish with their second losing season in three years under coach Dennis Franchione.
Lane finished with 104 yards on 17 carries.
Taylor ran for 102 yards on 15 carries for Texas. His second touchdown, an 8-yard scamper through the right side in the third quarter capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive after the Aggies had taken a 22-21 lead on McGee's 11-yard touchdown run.
The Longhorns got the critical blocked punt on A&M's next possession when Michael Griffin crashed over the left side. Cedric Griffin snared the ball in mid-air and cruised into the end zone for a 34-22 Texas lead.
McGee's second touchdown -- a 1-yard run -- got the Aggies within five before the Longhorns stretched the lead on David Pino's 41-yard field goal. Pino also kicked a 29-yarder with 2:22 left for the final points.
The Longhorns had to feel lucky to get out of this one battered and bruised but otherwise rolling along.
Texas led 14-0 in the first quarter thanks mostly to A&M mistakes: an interception and a short punt that set up Texas with short drives for TD runs by Henry Melton and Taylor.
Then Young threw an interception that gave the Aggies the ball on the Texas 35. A&M struck quickly when Lane threw a halfback pass to Jason Carter, who was five steps behind the nearest defender and waltzed into the end zone.
That cut it to 14-9 and whipped the crowd of 86,617 into a frenzy as the Aggie fans waved their white "12th Man Towels." McGee then dashed 49 yards to the Texas 22. That set up Brandon Leone's touchdown run that made it 15-14 after a 2-point conversion attempt failed.
Texas answered with a 77-yard drive to retake the lead. Young almost gave that one away as well when he fumbled on a 13-yard run but the Longhorns recovered. On the next play, Young hit Ahmard Hall for a 14-yard touchdown for a 21-15 lead at the half.
Young is 28-2 as a starter and Friday's win tied him with Bobby Layne for the most in school history. The Longhorns have won six in a row over their fiercest in-state rival.