COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Graham Harrell waited impatiently
for Texas Tech's offense to hit its stride in the second half
against Texas A&M.
The Red Raiders found it with less than a minute to spare.
Harrell threw three touchdown passes to Robert Johnson,
including the game-winner with 26 seconds left, and Texas Tech beat
Texas A&M 31-27 on Saturday.
"That was what an offense wants, an opportunity to win the
game," said Harrell. "The last few plays, we got on the ball, got
set, made the plays and won."
Tech trailed 27-24 when Johnson outleaped A&M cornerback Jordan
Peterson to make an acrobatic catch in the front corner of the end
zone, stunning the crowd of 85,979, the eighth largest in Kyle
As the teams lined up for the decisive play, Harrell spotted the
single coverage on Johnson and called an audible.
"I was like, 'Robert against that guy?" Harrell said. "I
like our chances."
Before that, the Aggies held the Red Raiders to only 58 yards
"We had a rough half," Harrell said. "But, hey, we got two
minutes, we can't look any worse, so we might as well take a shot
at it. That's what we did."
Johnson also had TD catches of 21 and 5 yards in the second
quarter for the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-0 Big 12).
Harrell completed 32 of 45 for 392 yards, shredding A&M's
sixth-ranked pass defense most of the game. The Aggies (4-1, 0-1)
were allowing only 127.5 yards passing per game.
"It's always tough to lose in the last minute," said A&M coach
Dennis Franchione. "I've coached 34 years. I've had a lot of good
wins and a lot of tough losses. You keep doing this long enough,
you're going to."
Joel Filani also caught a TD pass from Harrell. Filani had 10
catches for 156 yards.
The Aggies' final 15 plays from scrimmage were clock-eating runs
and Layne Neumann's 32-yard field goal with 2:12 left gave A&M a
27-24 lead. The Aggies won time of possession by nearly 15 minutes.
"Their offense started running those forever drives and we got
out of rhythm," Harrell said.
But two minutes turned out to be plenty of time for the Red
Raiders to answer, though they needed help from the replay
On the third play of their final drive, receiver Danny Amendola
bobbled a Harrell pass and officials on the field ruled that A&M
linebacker Mark Dodge had made a diving interception.
But the play was reviewed and replays showed the ball hit the
ground first. Replay official Terry Turlington overruled the field
ruling, correctly calling the pass incomplete.
"I didn't think he caught it," Harrell said. "When they
showed the replay, obviously, they didn't think he caught it,
Five plays later, Johnson made the winning catch.
Tech outgained A&M 433-353 and won at Kyle Field for just the
third time in its last 11 visits.
"It was a tough one to lose," said A&M quarterback Stephen
McGee, who went 9-for-20 for 103 yards. "They made the play when
they needed to and we didn't."
Tech safety Darcel McBath picked off McGee's first pass at the
A&M 32, the first interception thrown by McGee in 91 attempts this
season. The Raiders drove to the A&M 18, but settled for Alex
Trlica's 33-yard field goal.
Franks took the ensuing kickoff, sidestepped a Tech defender and
kicker Keith Toogood and ran untouched to the end zone. It was
A&M's first kickoff return for a TD since 2003 and the longest
since Sirr Parker's 100-yarder against Texas in 1996.
The Raiders drove to the Aggies' 7 on their next drive, but as
Filani reached for the goal line after a catch, nose tackle Marques
Thornton swatted the ball away and linebacker Matt Featherston
Filani took a short pass on Tech's next possession, broke free
of Peterson and sprinted for a 54-yard touchdown.
The Aggies chewed up more than seven minutes on their answering
drive and Lane scored on a 2-yard run, his 11th TD of the season.
Johnson's first two TD catches came late in the second quarter,
capping drives that were both aided by roughing the passer
The Aggies consumed six more minutes with a 14-play drive in the
third quarter but came away with only Layne Neumann's 30-yard field
On A&M's next possession, Lane shed three tackles on a 21-yard
run that spurred a 99-yard drive. Chris Alexander ended it with a
game-tying, 4-yard TD run with 8:44 left.
The suddenly struggling Red Raiders went three-and-out on their
next possession and the patient Aggies ran eight consecutive
running plays to set up Neumann's go-ahead kick.
"We didn't have our best game, but we hung in there, kept
fighting and fighting," McGee said. "We didn't give in. We fought
to the very end. They just made one more play than we did."