Red Raiders-Wolfpack: Texas Tech Survives Scare from the "Big Bad Wolves"

Andrew GloverCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2008

The 12th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders dealt last week with Eastern Washington, keeping the game interesting in the second half. At Nevada, it was a similar story, as the Wolf Pack managed to keep the game within one score until the end of the third quarter. However, Tech defeats Nevada 35-19, in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Entering the second half, trailing 14-9, Nevada got the ball first in the third. The Red Raiders' defense was able to stop Nevada, forcing them into an apparent three-and-out. However, on 4th-and-five, Tech was called for holding, before the punt, giving the Wolf Pack the ball at their own 35.

Vai Tuna got eight yards on first down and then 10 yards to give Nevada a first down in Tech territory. The Wolf Pack ran for two more first downs, prompting the Red Raiders to use a timeout. After the timeout, Nevada’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, completed a 12-yard pass to Marko Mitchell to Tech's 10.

On 4th-and-goal from the three, Nevada went for it and looked to have the touchdown that would give them the lead, but the officials reviewed the play and ruled that Kaepernick fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Tech’s Daniel Charbonnet.

The Wolf Pack's defense stepped up against the Red Raiders' offense. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell threw two-straight incompletions to start the drive before completing a nine-yard pass to sophomore Michael Crabtree on third down. Tech tried rushing for the first down on 4th-and-one but were stopped short, giving the Wolf Pack the ball at Tech's 29.

Harrell was out of rhythm most of the game, as he over-threw several receivers while going 19-for-46 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. 297 yards was Harrell’s lowest total since 2006, and his 41-percent completion percentage was the worst in his career.

Nevada immediately opened off the drive with a 13-yard run by Kaepernick. The Red Raiders' defense tightened up, only allowing two yards and the Wolf Pack settled for another field goal, closing the deficit to 14-12.

The Wolf Pack tried to catch Tech off guard by going for an on-side kick, but Charbonnet recovered at Nevada's 39. Harrell got an 11-yard first-down pass to running back Baron Batch.

On 3rd-and-10, Harrell connected with Tramain Swindall on a 15-yard pass to the Wolf Pack's 13. After an incompletion, Eric Morris finished the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run, increasing Tech’s lead to 21-12.

Morris once again had a strong game for the Red Raiders, returning three punts for 105 yards and an 86-yard return for a touchdown.

Nevada went on another time-consuming drive, going 53 yards in 11 plays, but Brett Jaekle missed the 44-yard field goal, giving Tech the ball back. The Wolf Pack would not be hurt, as they intercepted Harrell a second time.

Tech’s defense again stepped up and forced Nevada into a three-and-out. Morris returned the punt from the six to the 47 of Nevada, but a block-in-the-back penalty put Tech deep in their own territory. However, that did not end up a problem for Tech, as Harrell connects with Crabtree for an 82-yard touchdown to put Tech up 28-12.

Crabtree, who had only 73 yards against Eastern Washington, had seven catches for 158 yards and one touchdown.

The Wolf Pack were able to put up one more score against Tech. Kaepernick hit Mitchell on a 48-yard streak pass, reducing Tech’s lead to 28-19 with 10:30 left in the game. The Red Raiders responded back with an 11-play, 84-yard drive that took a little less than five minutes off the clock. Shannon Woods delivered the knockout blow with a 21-yard touchdown run.

After the Wolf Pack failed to convert on fourth down, Tech was able to run the last 2:49 off the clock. Solid rushing by Woods and Batch helped run out the clock. Batch led the team in rushing, with six carries for 47 yards. Woods had 45 yards on seven carries and one touchdown. Tech rushed for a total of 124 yards.

Kaepernick, in a losing effort, went 24-for-35, 264 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. In addition, Kaepernick rushed for 92 yards on seven carries. Mitchell led the Wolf Pack in receiving, with nine catches for 147 yards and one touchdown.

Nevada (1-1) plays another ranked Big XII team, as they travel to play #6 Missouri. Tech (2-0) returns home to play Southern Methodist.