Crabtree's catch knocks off Longhorns

2008 Big 12 regular season: Texas Tech 39, Texas 33

Originally Published: December 14, 2009
Page 2

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Michael CrabtreeHarry How/Getty Images

Coaches talk so often about talent making the difference, yet it's rare to see it happen in as crucial a moment as the waning seconds of the 2008 game at Lubbock between No. 5 Texas Tech and No. 1 Texas, both teams undefeated.

The Red Raiders trailed 33-32 with eight seconds on the clock and the ball on the Longhorns' 28. The obvious solution, a 45-yard field goal, didn't apply. The Red Raiders averaged 48 points per game without a kicker dependable outside of 30 yards.

Everyone knew the play Texas Tech would call. Senior quarterback Graham Harrell would look for All-America wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Corner Curtis Brown would cover him, and safety Earl Thomas would help.

Harrell took the shotgun snap. Crabtree raced down the right sideline. Harrell threw the fade. Crabtree caught the ball, then caught himself before his momentum carried him out of bounds. Brown slid off him. When Crabtree pivoted toward the end zone, Thomas ran past him. Crabtree trotted in for the score.

Two Longhorns couldn't have felt worse. On the play before Crabtree performed his magic, Harrell's pass to Edward Britton sailed through Britton's hands into the chest of Texas freshman defensive back Blake Gideon. He didn't catch it.

And Texas junior quarterback Colt McCoy, who had grown up in West Texas, who had so many high school friends enrolled at Texas Tech, who wanted so badly to win his personal rivalry game, had come up one play short. Some scars do not fade.

Texas Tech had never beaten a No. 1 team. The shadow that the Longhorns cast stretches from Austin to Lubbock. Not on this crisp Halloween night. The wattage that burst forth from Crabtree rid the Red Raiders of any shadow at all.
--Ivan Maisel

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