Texas to hand off to Newton from start

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis on Monday tabbed redshirt freshman running back Tre' Newton as the starter for the Jan. 7 national title game against No. 1 Alabama, which boasts the nation's second-ranked rushing defense.

Newton is a former star at Southlake Carroll High School in the north Dallas-Fort Worth area and the son of former Cowboys lineman Nate Newton.

He leads the Longhorns in rushing with 513 yards on 102 carries and six touchdowns.

The inconsistent Texas ground game, which has revolved starters, has been a source of "frustration" as Davis said early Monday afternoon.

Alabama enters the title game with the No. 2-ranked rush defense in the nation -- one spot behind Texas and ahead of TCU.

Davis said the run game must do its part to keep the Alabama defense honest and to avoid a one-dimensional offensive attack. He said Newton earned the job by outperforming Vondrell McGee, Cody Johnson and Foswhitt Whittaker.

Jeff Caplan covers colleges for ESPN Dallas. E-mail him at jeff.caplan@espn3.com.