LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Every four years for the past 12, Texas
had left Lubbock a loser.
It looked like that trend might continue Saturday night when
Texas Tech jumped out to a three-touchdown lead in the first half.
Since Texas' 24-7 loss to Ohio State back on Sept. 9, the Longhorns have reeled off seven straight wins and gotten themselves right back in the thick of BCS title talk. One of the forces behind Texas' re-emergence has been the play of freshman quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy has been calm, consistent and courageous, qualities most recently displayed in the Horns' 35-31 comeback win on Saturday after being down 21-0 to Texas Tech. Indeed, despite the departure of Prince Vince, the future in Austin remains quite bright. McCoy's stats, since the Week 2 loss to Ohio State:
But the No. 5 Longhorns overcame four turnovers and erased the
big deficit to beat the Red Raiders 35-31.
"This team doesn't know how to quit," said Texas quarterback
Colt McCoy, who threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns. "We just
kept hanging in there. We are determined and we fight to the end."
The Longhorns (8-1, 5-0 Big 12) won their 20th straight
conference game and 17th consecutive road game.
Texas didn't get its first lead until early in the fourth
quarter when McCoy threw a 28-yard touchdown to Quan Cosby to make
Tech (5-4, 2-3) had chances in the final 6:14. Twice the Red
Raiders failed on fourth downs inside Texas 35. Both plays -- a
completion to Joel Filani and a quarterback sneak by Graham Harrell
-- came up just short and were reviewed by replay, but the
officials' spots were upheld.
The second opportunity came after Jamaal Charles fumbled for a
second time, this one coming at his own 24, and Tech's Jake Ratliff
recovered. But Tech failed to take advantage of the turnover.
Though Tech coach Mike Leach didn't mention specifics, he said
there were "some things" that happened in the second that he was
"not able to comment on," possibly referring to the officials'
"But I thought they were very detrimental to our effort," said
Leach, who added it was his team's best game this season.
Harrell completed 42-of-62 passes for 519 yards and three
touchdowns. He threw one interception, his first since throwing
five in games against Missouri and Colorado. The most passing yards
Texas has ever given up was 533 yards against Houston in 1992.
Texas coach Mack Brown said he was proud of his team's
confidence and perseverance
"That's the thing that separates teams," he said. "We played
hard; we didn't play that well. And Texas Tech played as well as
I've ever seen them play. Harrell was as hot as I've ever seen."
Texas put more pressure on Harrell in the second half, enabling
the Longhorns to hold the Red Raiders scoreless. Harrell had been
nearly perfect in the first half. He got the Red Raiders inside the
Texas' 20-yard line only twice in the second half.
"Every ball (Harrell) threw seemed to be on the money," said
defensive back Aaron Ross, who broke up three passes. "Everything
he did was right. The right throw, the right receiver, the right
Jarrett Hicks had his best game of the season with nine catches
for 156 yards for Texas Tech.
McCoy, who completed 21-of-31 and threw one interception, has
thrown 24 touchdown passes this season, leaving him two shy of
school season record shared by Chris Simms and Vince Young.
Texas had lost in Lubbock in 1994, '98 and 2002. Turnovers
nearly doomed Texas this time. The Longhorns fumbled five times and
Tech jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, helped
along by a fumble recovery by Blake Collier on Charles' first
fumble. He was hit at the Red Raiders' 25.
Harrell went to work quickly. He completed passes of 32, 23 and
12 yards before hitting Eric Morris for a 3-yard score to put Tech
up 14-0 midway through the period.
It got worse for the Longhorns. Deep in his own territory, McCoy
threw an interception -- only his fourth this season -- right into
the arms of Fletcher Session, who lumbered 19 yards to give the Red
Raiders a three-touchdown lead.
The Longhorns went to their running game and scored on their
next two possessions and caught a break when Scott Derry forced a
fumble after Joel Filani caught a 15-yard pass. A penalty gave
Texas the ball at the Tech 45 and on the first play McCoy threw a
touchdown pass to Limas Sweed to cut the deficit to 24-21.
In the first half Texas gave up 10 plays of 16 yards or longer,
the longest a 40-yard pass from Harrell to Hicks on a drive that
ended with a field goal by Tech.
The Longhorns' pass defense looked feeble as it gave up more
yards in the first half (364) than it had in any game this season.