|No. 2 Red Raiders pull out a squeaker over UT|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 02 November 2008 10:52|
Then, the Red Raiders let Texas of the hook. Down by 19 at halftime, the Longhorns got three touchdowns by early in the fourth quarter to pull within 29-26.
And when Colt McCoy engineered an 80-yard scoring drive late in the final quarter to give the Longhorns their first lead, 33-32, with 89 seconds remaining, Texas Tech's moment appeared to have slipped away. The Red Raiders were staring at a fifth straight loss to Texas and another wasted chance to remake their reputation as a good but not great team.
``All we did was score too quickly,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``We should have taken more time off the clock at the end.''
With a throw by Graham Harrell and a catch and run by Michael Crabtree that will go down in Texas Tech history, the Red Raiders rearranged the pecking order of the Big 12 and became a serious entry in the national title race.
``It's a big statement for our program,'' said running back Baron Batch after Crabtree's 28-yard touchdown reception with a second left gave Texas Tech a 39-33 victory against Texas Saturday night.
The Red Raiders jumped to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 on Sunday and previously top-ranked Texas fell to No. 5.
As for Harrell, he put together the type of drive that make Heisman Trophy voters take notice.
After McCoy did his thing to give Texas the lead, Harrell took over with one timeout remaining and good field position thanks to a nice kickoff return by teammate Jamar Wall.
Harrell completed four straight passes - for 8, 5, 10 and 11 yards - to take the Red Raiders to Texas' 28 before a tipped pass nearly became a Longhorns interception. Texas safety Blake Gideon couldn't make what would have been a game-clinching play.
Eight seconds remained when Harrell, instead of taking the safe route and passing short to improve field position for a field goal, took a shot down the field to Crabtree near the sideline at about the 5.
Texas defensive back Curtis Brown had a shot at taking Crabtree down but couldn't take down the All-American by the jersey. Crabtree wriggled free, tight-roped the sideline and scooted into the end zone with a tick left on the clock.
e Red Raiders are alone at the top of the Big 12 South at 5-0.
It's new territory for the Red Raiders, who for years have been good but written off as a quirky, gimmicky offense that put up gaudy numbers in coach Mike Leach's spread offense.
Texas Tech has gone to eight straight bowls under the eccentric Leach - with his passion for pirates and Winston Churchill - but could never get past Texas and Oklahoma in its own division.
Now, though, the Red Raiders have a shot at being considered on the same level as those perennial powerhouses. Leach has never beaten both in one season.
He rebuffed a question about whether Texas Tech is now contender or spoiler.
``I don't know,'' he said. ``I don't do big picture questions. You must be new. You just go out, do the best you can, try to win it.''
Before the Sooners host Texas Tech on Nov. 22 in Norman, Okla., the Red Raiders get No. 8 Oklahoma State at home Saturday in a second-straight top-10 showdown.
``Now the biggest game in history is Oklahoma State,'' Leach said, ``or the history of this year, anyway.''
Leach, who looked spent after the close win, said it was hard to define an emotional win.
``This game had a lot of ups and downs,'' he said. ``This is one where both sides had to literally coach every second of the thing. It's not one where you felt good and you got to coast at all.''
ards and two touchdowns on 36-of-53 passing, he could have leapfrogged McCoy in the Heisman race with the win.
Leach threw his support behind his quarterback, in the coach's usually colorful way.
``Some of you guys maybe ought to add him to your Heisman list, if your going to mess around with that stuff,'' Leach told reporters. ``I realize how political it is, and typically I save my words on this because I find them to be kind of a waste of time.''