Tech Loses 38-32 Thriller to Texas
LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-4, 4-3) pulled a Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde routine against the University of Texas Longhorns (5-4, 4-2), going from generous, mild-mannered Mr. Hyde in the first half to vicious Dr. Jekyll right before halftime. It was a good act, but the Raiders ran out of time in the end and the Longhorns held on for a wild 38-32 win.
In front of a sellout crowd of more than 50,600 fans at Jones Stadium (the third-consecutive sellout for Tech, a school record), the Raiders were extremely generous in the first half, yielding a season-high 28 points in the first 30 minutes alone. Two of the touchdowns came on long runs, a 65-yard run by Shon Mitchell on the `Horns' first drive and a 75-yard run by Ricky Williams with 1:43 left in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Tech offense was unusually mild-mannered. The Red Raiders scored on Jaret Greaser's 55-yard field goal on their first drive, but were unable to put any more points on the board until quarterback Zebbie Lethridge hit wide receiver Donnie Hart for an 86-yard touchdown strike with 1:26 left in the first half. A two-point conversion by Lethridge narrowed the gap to 28-11, the halftime margin.
The Raider defense held the Longhorns after Hart's touchdown catch. With less than 10 seconds left to go in the half, Lethridge again found Hart wide open. Hart made it to the Longhorn two-yard line before he was pushed out of bounds with no time left on the clock. It would turn out to be a crucial two yards.
The Raiders received the second-half kick and drove 80 yards in nine plays to score on Lethridge's five-yard run. Having roared back from a 28-3 deficit to make the score 28-18, Dr. Jekyll looked to be a man on a mission.
The Raider defense allowed a 26-yard touchdown pass from James Brown to Wany McGarity with 4:21 left in the third period, though, reverting to their Mr. Hyde ways.
The Raider offense needed only 24 seconds to make up for the touchdown. A 26-yard run by I-back Byron Hanspard was followed by a 39-yard touchdown scamper by Lethridge. The Raiders trailed by 10, 35-25.
After the Tech defense held, the Raider offense drove to the Longhorn 14-yard line. On second down, Hart dropped what would have been a sure touchdown at the two-yard line. On third down, the Raiders were flagged for a late hit at the 10-yard line, moving them back to the 25-yard line. What would have been a 27-yard chipshot field goal attempt was now a 42-yarder.
It didn't matter. The Longhorns blocked Greaser's attempt in yet another of the game's crucial moments.
After a long Texas drive stalled inside the Tech 40-yard line, the Raiders took over the ball and promptly moved downfield. Lethridge found Hart near the Longhorn 10-yard line and the sophomore wide receiver, who made a spectacular juggling catch on the play, scampered in for a 32-yard touchdown reception.
With less than four minutes left to play in the game, the Raiders trailed by only three points, 32-35.
That's when the Longhorns nailed the coffin shut. The `Horns drove 43 yards in 13 plays, converting third down attempts of 12, eight and five yards on the drive. The series was rewarded with a 53-yard field goal by Phil Dawson to give Texas a 38-32 lead.
It almost didn't hold.
The Raiders, with only 43 seconds left on the clock, drove to the Texas 42-yard line. There, Lethridge's pass to Hart in the end zone with six seconds left was broken up and the `Horns had their fifth win of the year.
The win put the Longhorns in the driver's seat for the Big 12 South Division Championship. The `Horns end the season at Kansas and home against Texas A&M.
The Red Raiders, meanwhile, end the season at home with a non-conference game against SW Louisiana and on the road at Oklahoma. Tech needs one win in their final two games to be eligible for their fourth-consecutive bowl game.
Statistically, the game was a monster. The two teams combined for a series-record 1,143 yards in total offense. The Red Raiders had 608 total yards while the Longhorns managed 575.
A previously stingy Tech defense gave up 336 rushing yards on 49 carries. Both Mitchell and Williams broke the 100-yard rushing mark.
Through the air, Brown was 19 of 32 for 239 yard, one touchdown and one interception.
Tech's rushing game, ranked sixth nationally entering the game at 284.5 yards per contest, accounted for only 216 yards.
Hanspard, the nation's leading rusher entering the game with a 201.4 yard-per-game average, carried only 22 times for 132 yards. It was the 15th consecutive time the Heisman-Trophy candidate broke the 100-yard barrier.
It was through the air, though, that the Raiders really shined.
Lethridge, criticized all year for not performing consistently, was 14 of 25 passing for 364 yards and two touchdowns. He was picked off once. Hart, his favorite receiver, grabbed five catches for 241 yards.
Both teams had one turnover, though Tech defenders dropped three sure interceptions, one on Texas' final drive.
Penalty-wise, the teams were flagged 29 times for 277 yards. Texas led the penalty contest with 16 for 146 yards.
The Raiders will look to get back on track Saturday, Nov. 16 when they face the Southwest Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in a 1 p.m. home contest.
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- TEXAS 14 14 7 3 38 TEXAS TECH 3 8 14 7 32 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QTR: TEX - TD, SHON MITCHELL 65 YD RUN (PHIL DAWSON KICK), 1:16 TXTC - FG, JARET GREASER 55 YD, 5:22 TEX - TD, PRIEST HOLMES 1 YD RUN (PHIL DAWSON KICK), 12:52 2ND QTR: TEX - TD, SHON MITCHELL 7 YD RUN (PHIL DAWSON KICK), 5:39 TEX - TD, WILLIAMS 75 YD RUN (PHIL DAWSON KICK), 13:17 TXTC - TD, DONNIE HART 87 YD PASS FROM ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE (ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE RUN FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION), 13:34 3RD QTR: TXTC - TD, ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE 5 YD RUN (TONY ROGERS KICK), 3:57 TEX - TD, WANE MCGARITY 26 YD PASS FROM JAMES BROWN (PHIL DAWSON KICK), 10:39 TXTC - TD, ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE 39 YD RUN (TONY ROGERS KICK), 11:03 4TH QTR: TXTC - TD, DONNIE HART 32 YD PASS FROM ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE (TONY ROGERS KICK), 9:58 TEX - FG, PHIL DAWSON 53 YD, 14:09 Texas Texas Tech First downs 30 23 Rushed-yards 49-336 38-216 Passing yards 239 392 Sacked-yards lost 2-17 1-9 Return yards 27 12 Passes 19-32-1 15-26-1 Punts 5-40.8 3-43.0 Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0 Penalties-yards 16-146 13-131 Time of possession 33:59 26:01 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Texas-Mitchell 15-150, R Williams 21-143, J Brown 8-25, P Holmes 5-18. Texas Tech-Hanspard 22-132, Lethridge 12-72, Ervin 2-10, R Jones 2-2. PASSING: Texas-J Brown 19-32-1-239. Texas Tech-Lethridge 14-25-1-364, D Johnson 1-1-0-28. RECEIVING: Texas-M Adams 5-65, Fitzgerald 4-43, Mcgarity 3-46, R Williams 2-27, Lewis 2-25, P Holmes 1-14, Mitchell 1-14, M Davis 1-5. Texas Tech-Hart 5-241, Dubuc 3-41, Mckenzie 3-32, Mitchell 2-27, Cartwright 1-28, Hanspard 1-23. Att: 50,607