College Football: Texas Tech at Texas Preview & Picks Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 11:39

Can UT Slow Down Tech?

Texas has had to mount furious fourth-quarter rallies to narrowly win each of its last two games. The Longhorns know they cannot afford to fall into too deep a hole against Texas Tech's high-powered offense led by quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Texas –6.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Texas –6.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

No. 15 Texas looks for its fifth win in a row overall and fifth straight over the Red Raiders when they meet on Saturday in Austin.

To extend those streaks, the Longhorns will have to slow down Texas Tech, which has the nation's top offense, averaging 549.5 yards per game. Harrell leads the nation in passing with 4,412 yards and 38 touchdowns while Crabtree - who is just a freshman - has struggled recently, but remains ranked first in yards receiving (1,512), receptions per game (10.4) and touchdowns (18).

"Crabtree is just putting up amazing numbers," Longhorns defensive end Brian Orakpo said. "I can't even do what he's doing on a video game."

Last Saturday, Texas trailed by 21 heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied for a 38-35 win over Oklahoma State. Jamaal Charles had touchdown runs of 18 and 75 yards and Vondrell McGee scored from 1 yard out before Ryan Bailey kicked a 40-yard field goal at the final gun.

"We've won a lot, and that is a positive thing," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "The mind is a powerful, powerful thing, especially in sports. At first, we did not put pressure on (the Cowboys), and we had to to get it turned, because we did believe we were going to win."

On Oct. 27, Charles ran for 216 of his 290 yards in the fourth quarter, scoring three long touchdowns in a 28-25 victory over Nebraska.

Texas' defense has surrendered 1,134 yards in the wins, and is that a major concern for Brown heading into this contest.

"We've given up too many big plays in the last two weeks," he said. "We're not pleased ... the defense isn't pleased and the defensive coaches aren't pleased that we gave up too many yards, and we'll have to play better than that against Tech.

"Tech gets their yards against you if you play great, and if you don't play great, they'll score a million."

Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was 20-of-27 for 282 yards and a touchdown in the win over Oklahoma State, but also threw three interceptions. After throwing 29 TDs and just seven interceptions as freshman last season, McCoy has 16 and 16 this season.

In last season's matchup, Harrell had the better numbers, but McCoy and the Longhorns escaped from Lubbock with a 35-31 win. Harrell was 42-of-62 for 519 yards and three scores. McCoy, meanwhile, was 21-of-31 for 256 yards for four scoring passes.

The Red Raiders (7-3, 3-3) avoided their third loss in a row this season with a 38-7 rout of Baylor last Saturday. Harrell was 37-of-46 for 433 yards and three touchdowns, eclipsing the 4,000-yard passing mark for the second season in a row and guiding Texas Tech to its 12th straight win over the Bears.

"I thought that all sides of the ball played well," Harrell said. "That is the first time in a couple of weeks that we have had a good all-around game. It was really good to get a win."

Crabtree had season-lows of four catches for 61 yards. After averaging 179.0 yards and nearly three TDs in his first six games, he's slowed to 109.5 yards per game and scored just once in his last four.

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