12:00 PM ET, October 27, 2007
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Colorado's defense followed a successful blueprint against Texas Tech's high-octane offense and handed the Red Raiders their second straight loss against a Big 12 North opponent.
"It's interesting because I think if you look at what Missouri did last week was kind of exactly what we did last year," Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins said, referring to last year's 30-6 rout of Tech at home and Missouri's 41-10 win last week. "We just wanted to mix it up."
Colorado cornerback Terrence Wheatley had three interceptions, two on back-to-back Tech possessions in the fourth quarter with Colorado leading 31-19.
"That was huge," said Dan Hawkins, the quarterback's dad. "Anytime you get three turnovers it's big."
Wheatley kept being aggressive.
"When the ball's in the air, I didn't care, I was going for it. If I miss, I miss," he said. "They're going to have their plays, they're going to get their touchdowns. But it's, 'Can you capitalize on a team when they slip up from time to time?' And playing passive you can't do that."
Colorado (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) got up 14-0 early and stayed ahead. Its defense held the Red Raiders (6-3, 2-3) to 470 yards total offense, 87 below their average.
"If you get pressure, get guys in [Harrell's] face, he'd throw the ball and get a little sporadic," Buffs defensive tackle George Hypolite said. "That's what we wanted to do."
The Buffs went up 24-6 early in the third quarter when Jordon Dizon, the nation's leading tackler, intercepted Harrell and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
Colorado, though, still wasn't comfortable.
"Against these guys, you never feel like that, you really don't," Dan Hawkins said. The interception "was a good momentum builder but clearly not the end of the game by any means."
The Red Raiders have lost to Missouri and Colorado in successive games two seasons in a row. In the losses to Colorado, Harrell threw seven interceptions and four touchdowns.
Hawkins was 15-of-26, while Harrell completed 46 of 62 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns but had his second straight four-interception game.
"The simple answer is he just needs to go through his reads, be patient," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "Sometimes when the guy has success, the temptation to not stay within yourself is too big. Great players do simple things. Graham is a great player, and he just needs to focus on simple things."
Tech's Michael Crabtree got his first TD catch in three games, but it was too little for the Red Raiders, who pulled within 31-26 in the final minutes.
Wheatley was covering Crabtree, who set the NCAA freshman record for receptions in a season when he caught his 99th pass. Harrell hit him in the corner of the end zone on a 19-yard TD to pull Tech within 31-19 late in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound redshirt freshman overtook the 98 catches by former Tech running back Taurean Henderson in 2002. The TD catch also gave him the Big 12 season record with 18, surpassing the mark set by Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods in 2002.
"I will be the first to say that he is the best receiver I've ever covered in my whole college career. Period," Wheatley, a senior, said. "To me, he is the compete package. For a freshman, he has the mentality of an NFL guy."
Last week in Tech's 41-10 loss to Missouri, Crabtree set an NCAA freshman record for receiving yards (1,320), and earlier this month he set the NCAA freshman touchdown mark in a 42-17 win over Iowa State.
Colorado kept the ball on the ground and wore down Tech's defense for most of the game. The Buffs ran the ball 44 of 71 plays.
Leading 14-0, Colorado took over at the Tech 20 after Harrell's pass went through Crabtree's hands and into the arms of Wheatley. The Buffs couldn't get into the end zone, and Kevin Eberhart missed to the left on a 25-yard field goal attempt.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-16||3-9|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||3-3|
|TD||08:13||Hugh Charles 31 Yd Run (Kevin Eberhart Kick) |
Drive: 10 plays, 91 yds, 4:31
|TD||13:38||Riar Geer 2 Yd Pass From Cody Hawkins (Kevin Eberhart Kick) |
Drive: 12 plays, 75 yds, 5:01
|FG||05:12||Alex Trlica 30 Yd |
Drive: 12 plays, 67 yds, 4:06
|FG||00:00||Alex Trlica 48 Yd |
Drive: 7 plays, 38 yds, 1:19
|FG||11:05||Kevin Eberhart 44 Yd |
Drive: 11 plays, 47 yds, 3:55
|TD||10:50||Jordon Dizon 42 Yd Interception Return (Kevin Eberhart Kick)||24||6|
|TD||09:20||Eric Morris 31 Yd Pass From Graham Harrell (Alex Trlica Kick) |
Drive: 5 plays, 80 yds, 1:30
|TD||04:00||Hugh Charles 6 Yd Pass From Cody Hawkins (Kevin Eberhart Kick) |
Drive: 13 plays, 75 yds, 5:20
|TD||00:07||Michael Crabtree 19 Yd Pass From Graham Harrell (Two-Point Conversion Failed) |
Drive: 9 plays, 71 yds, 3:53
|TD||02:08||Edward Britton 7 Yd Pass From Graham Harrell (Alex Trlica Kick) |
Drive: 17 plays, 80 yds, 4:14