LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) --Taurean Henderson provided the boost Texas
Tech needed after a slow start against rival Texas A&M.
Henderson rushed for 109 yards and four touchdowns Saturday
night as the Red Raiders beat Texas A&M 56-17 for their sixth
straight home win over the Aggies.
"He's really solid," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "He rushed
the ball well, and I thought he was the guy that got us started. He
can do so much that he can factor into so many different things."
It took a half for Tech's passing game to click and,
surprisingly, the Red Raiders rushed as many times as they passed
(19), sputtering through the first two quarters.
Quarterback Cody Hodges, who likes to spread his passes around
to as many as seven receivers, threw to only three for just 82
yards in the first half.
When the Red Raiders (8-1,5-1 Big 12) did begin to click in the
third quarter, they used the pass to get close and scored
touchdowns on six of their seven possessions in the second half --
four on rushes.
They also started throwing to more receivers. By the end, nine
Red Raiders had caught balls, including Hodges' twin brother, Slade
Hodges, who scored the final TD on a pass from backup quarterback
"At times they were dropping nine guys," Cody Hodges said of
the Aggies' defensive schemes. "Any time you drop nine guys, it's
tough to find some passing lanes. When they do that, it gives us
the chance to run the football."
The margin of victory was the largest for Tech in the history of
the series. In 1954, Paul "Bear" Bryant's first year at the helm
of the Aggies, Tech beat A&M 41-9.
This year, the difference was lack of execution, Aggies coach
Dennis Franchione said.
"In the third quarter, we just couldn't get anything going on
either side of the ball," he said. "When their offense gets
going, it's difficult. We just didn't have any answers, and it's my
job to get them."
Henderson carried the ball 20 times, and ran for TDs of 19, 4, 4
and 1 yards. With his last touchdown, he tied for third place on
the NCAA career list for points (408) by non-kickers with Brock
Forsey of Boise State.
Only Ricky Williams of Texas (452 points) and Travis Prentice of
Miami of Ohio (468) are ahead of Henderson.
Last week against Baylor, Henderson got 136 yards, and
Saturday's 100-plus yards brought him his first career back-to-back
Hodges was 29-of-44 for 408 yards and two touchdowns, and ran
for another score. He threw one interception.
"I think he settled down and bounced back really well," Leach
said. "I feel like that's one of the qualities that he does a good
Tech's trouble in the second quarter came from its failure to
score after driving deep into Aggie territory twice.
Henderson's second and third TDs put Tech up 35-10 as the third
quarter ended. Hodges got his rushing TD, a 1-yarder, earlier in
A&M (5-4, 3-3) appeared to be in contention until the start of
the second half. On the Aggies' first possession, Tech safety
Dwayne Slay hit running back Jorvorskie Lane and forced a fumble at
the A&M 37. Antonio Huffman recovered the ball, and nine plays
later, Hodges ran it in to put Tech up 21-10.
Slay said there's no secret to him forcing fumbles. Saturday's
was his eighth of the season.
It's "running full speed, not slowing down and putting the hat
on the ball carrier," he said.
On their next possession, the Red Raiders marched 58 yards
before Henderson got his first TD to extend Tech's lead to 28-10.
The game could have been out of reach for the Aggies early.
Twice in the first half, Tech squandered scoring opportunities
after driving inside the Aggies 10. After Texas A&M failed to
convert on a fake punt from the Tech 48, the Red Raiders took over
and drove from the 50-yard line to A&M's 27.
A 27-yard touchdown pass from Hodges to Jarrett Hicks was called
back on a holding penalty on Robert Johnson in the end zone. A&M
held firm -- thanks in part to a second holding penalty -- and forced
the Red Raiders to go for a field goal.
But Robert Trlica, whose career record from inside the 40 was
unblemished, missed it wide to the right from 38 yards, though Tech
remained ahead 14-10.
On their next possession, Tech drove 68 yards to the Aggie 5
before Hodges threw a pass that was interception by Melvin Bullitt
at the goal line.
Aggie quarterback Reggie McNeal's performance was less than
stellar. He went 15-of-24 for 131 yards and one touchdown and an
interception. He carried eight times for 26 yards.
A record crowd of 55,755 watched Tech beat the Aggies for the
sixth straight time in Lubbock. The last time Texas A&M won at
Jones SBC Stadium was 1993.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Red Raiders' high-octane attack got rolling in the third quarter and outscored the Aggies 21-0.
Gameball goes to... Texas Tech's Taurean Henderson, who ran for 109 yards and 4 TDs and caught 6 passes for 69 more.
Stat of the game... 408: Henderson's 408 career points ranks third in NCAA history for non-kickers.