|No. 1 Horns face rare road test|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 26 October 2008 10:11|
Texas started this stellar run by beating Oklahoma at in Dallas, then returned home to beat Missouri and Oklahoma State before record crowds. Now Colt McCoy and the Longhorns (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) might face their toughest test yet, traveling across the state to play at No. 6 Texas Tech (8-0, 4-0) on Saturday.
With McCoy making a couple of mistakes against Oklahoma State that made him look human for the first time in weeks, and a banged up secondary, a chilly night on the wind-swept high plains of West Texas looks pretty scary to coach Mack Brown.
``Our reward,'' Brown said after a 28-24 win Saturday over Oklahoma State, ``is Tech won 63-21 (over Kansas). We've still got some work to do.''
Wide receiver Quan Cosby said the Longhorns expect nothing less that a wild and rowdy reception in Lubbock.
there, a night game ... and that's what you come (to Texas) for.''
Texas' rise to No. 1 happened almost exclusively at home and within the Lone Star State. The only true road games this season have been at Texas-El Paso in week two and a Big 12-opening win at Colorado.
The Longhorns wore their road all-white uniforms against the Sooners, but there were about 46,000 Texas fans in burnt orange in the Cotton Bowl that day. In Lubbock, they'll face about 50,000 Red Raiders fans whipped up for arguably the biggest game in school history.
Lubbock has already been one of the toughest environments for Texas in recent years.
Brown is 3-2 in Lubbock and the two losses were big ones. In 1998, the Red Raiders kept Texas from playing for the Big 12 South title in Brown's first season. In 2002, Texas was ranked No. 4 and had a chance of getting into the Bowl Championship Series until Tech pulled out a 42-38 win.
Even some of the wins have been hard to come by.
In 2000, quarterback and now assistant coach Major Applewhite blew out a knee. In 2006, the Red Raiders jumped to a 21-0 lead before McCoy, then a freshman, rallied Texas to a 35-31 victory.
They may be catching Texas at just the right time.
After so many big games, the Longhorns looked worn down at times against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys pounded out 217 yards rushing against a Texas defense that went into the game ranked No. 2 in the country against the run.
``Our bell was rung,'' defensive tackle Aaron Lewis said. ``But we had to stop them. You had to get it done.''
Tech quarterback Graham Harrell has put up his usual gaudy numbers with 3,147 yards passing and 28 touchdowns. Texas' inexperienced secondary got a new starter against Oklahoma State when sophomore cornerback Curtis Brown filled in for injured Chykie Brown.
Curtis Brown was solid, helping keep big Cowboys' receiver Dez Bryant out of the end zone and knocking down the final desperation pass short of the end zone. But the Red Raiders run a dizzying array of long, short and crisscrossing routes that can frustrate even the most experienced defenders.
``That was a tough, tough game,'' Curtis Brown said. ``I played as hard as I could and I think I proved to my teammates I could hold my own.''
McCoy, superb for most of the game against Oklahoma State, threw his first interception in 101 pass attempts and that set up the Cowboys' final field goal in the third quarter. His fumble near the OSU goal line in the fourth kept Texas from putting the game out of reach.
etions, including 18 in a row, but turnovers could be critical in a game against the Red Raiders when there's pressure to make every possession result in points.
``He's just absolutely amazing with his accuracy and toughness,'' Mack Brown said. ``He was really taking a deep shot on the one that was intercepted, and the fumble where the ball was jerked out of his hands was really close.''