Last Saturday, fans across the country watching to see if Texas could survive its last difficult test before the Big 12 championship, got quite a show. The Longhorns, fresh off wins against #1 Oklahoma, #11 Missouri, & #7 Oklahoma State, seemed almost unbeatable coming into the game. But Texas Tech was looking to show the country that there was more than one undefeated team in Texas; they did just that.
For the first time this season, the Red Raiders, criticized for having no defense, silenced the critics with a defensive pounding right from the start. On Texas' first possession, running back Chris Ogbonnaya was swallowed in his own endzone by a fired up Texas Tech defense for a safety. The defense didn't stop there. They continued to bruise Texas' offensive line, constantly applying pressure on QB Colt McCoy, and produced a few 3 and outs and many short drives for the Longhorns. They held Texas to a first half total of only 6 points.
On the offensive side, Texas Tech lived up to their hype. They moved the ball efficiently and with ease throughout the first half. QB Graham Harrell found different targets all over the field. However, Texas' defense was able to slow them down near the redzone, and thanks in part to a dropped TD pass in the endzone, the Red Raiders went into the locker room with a 22-6 lead at the half. A score that, although a blowout, didn't do justice for the dominance Texas Tech showed.
In the second half, just like he had against Oklahoma, WR Jordan Shipley got Texas going with a 45 yard punt return for a touchdown. With the score at 22-13, and a Texas comeback knocking at the door, Tech's defense rose to the occassion again. This time it was safety Daniel Charbonnet coming through in the clutch, with a 23 yard interception returned for a score, to put the Red Raiders up 29-13 in the 3rd.
But Texas wasn't done yet. QB Colt McCoy showed why he was the favorite to win the Heisman, leading Texas back with three scoring drives, throwing two TD's (91, 37) in the process. The third and final scoring drive put Texas up for the first time, 33-32 with just 1:29 remaining.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their offense had already scored 10 times this year in a 1:30 seconds or less. They also had a confident quarterback at the helm, looking for revenge on the school that said he wasn't good enough to lead their team. Well Texas, it looks like you were wrong. Harrell led his team all the way down the field, and in quick fashion. On 1st & 10 at the Texas 28, with only 15 seconds remaining, Harrell fired a ball into the flat that bounced off the hands of his intended receiver & floated for what seemed like a year in the air. As it came down into the arms of a Texas defensive back, it appeared the Longhorns had survived again; someway, somehow. But wait. Unexplainably, the gift of an interception slipped right through the hands of the Texas defender, giving new life to the Red Raiders with just 9 seconds to go. At the 28, Texas Tech faced a 45 yard field goal with only a walk-on halftime contest winner and a shaky backup to kick it through the uprights. For these reasons, Texas Tech tried to squeeze in one more play. A quick out-route to make the kick a little shorter would probably be the way to go, right? Wrong. How about a downfield pass to the best wide receiver in the country, Michael Crabtree? Yeah, that'll do. If you had never heard of him, and you've seen ESPN in the last week, you know him now. Crabtree casually ran down the sideline in double coverage, probably thinking, "Yeah, I'm about to score the game-winning touchdown", made a play back to the ball thrown behind him, and made a leaping grab near the sideline at the five. Every fan watching must have thought it was over, knowing Crabtree would naturally run out of bounds to set up a nice chip-shot field goal. But no, Crabtree decided it would be best to just break a sure tackle while tip-toeing the sideline, and run it right in the endzone for the win. It was unbelieveable.
With Texas being the third #1 to go down this year, Alabama was finally given a taste of the nation's top-ranking. Texas Tech's upset didn't go unnoticed though. They jumped up to the #2 spot in the country, with a BCS title bid in their hands. It's only a matter of whether or not they can hold on. It won't come easy though. Texas Tech has to take down #8 Oklahoma State and #4 Oklahoma, in Oklahoma, all before the Big 12 Championship. If they can somehow survive those three tough tests, they'll find themselves in the BCS National Championship. Can they do it? It is possible. Will they do it? I can't see it happening. If they can survive this weekend, I expect to see Oklahoma play the role of the spoiler again, and end their perfect season. I will certaintly be rooting for them though. Texas Tech is the most exciting team in the country, and I would certaintly rather see them play, than a Penn State team who's only significant victory came against one of the many overrated teams in the Big 10, Ohio State. The upsets never seem to stop coming though. It should be a crazy finish.
Image taken from Yahoo! Sports