Red Raiders vs. Cornhuskers: No.7 Tech Just Makes Out of the Corn Maze

Andrew GloverCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2008

The No.7 Texas Tech Red Raiders were not supposed to have much trouble with the struggling Nebraska Cornhuskers. However, Nebraska did not make things easy, keeping the ball over 40 minutes scoring 31 points and 471 yards, but the Red Raiders pulled it out 37-31 in overtime.

The Red Raiders who are normally strong on defense could not stop Nebraska. The Cornhuskers shortest drive was their first, gaining only 27 yards. Three of the Cornhuskers drives lasted over seven minutes. The defense did not get a turnover until overtime when cornerback Jamar Wall intercepted Joe Ganz.

Ganz completed 36 of 44 passes, for 349 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Marlon Lucky led the Cornhuskers in rushing with 16 carries for 66 yards and in receiving with 80 yards. Roy Helu Jr. added 47 yards on 10 carries.

The Red Raiders, who only had the ball for less than twenty minutes, still managed to rack up 421 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Graham Harrell completed 20 passes out of 25 for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Baron Batch had 10 carries for 97 yards. Michael Crabtree led the team in receiving with five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

The first half was controlled by Tech, despite having the ball only 10 minutes. Harrell threw a short pass to Crabtree which he took for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead. The Cornhuskers would tie the game on their next possession. Nebraska drove 74 yards on 15 plays and running eight minutes off the clock. Quentin Castille ran in a four-yard touchdown to tie things up.

After Tech got a field goal, the defense allowed an 11 play 50-yard drive before stopping the Cornhuskers on fourth down and one. Harrell capitalized early on offense hitting Edward Britton on a 56-yard pass to the Nebraska 14. Shannon Woods finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown to put Tech ahead 17-7.

The Cornhuskers started the second half with a seven-minute drive that went 75 yards. Tech held them to a field goal after a goal line stand.

Tech would take their biggest lead of the game on their next possession. Harrell connected with Detron Lewis for a 31-yard gain. Crabtree finished drive with his second touchdown, catching a five-yard pass from Harrell making it 24-10.

The Cornhuskers did not die out. Nebraska drove down to the Tech nine and faced a fourth and seven. The Cornhuskers ran a fake field goal pass getting the ball to the Tech one. Ganz ran it in to drop the deficit to seven.

On the next possession, the Cornhusker defense forces a three and out. The Nebraska offense drove down the field again. They went 68 yards in eight plays running four minutes off the clock. Dreu Young caught a two-yard pass and following the extra point it was tied 24-24.

Tech would get the lead back. Starting at their own 20, Batch picked up 11 yards to gain a first down. On fourth down and five, Harrell hit Crabtree with a 47-yard pass that brought the ball to the Nebraska 17. Harrell finished the drive with a one-yard sneak. Kicker Donnie Carona banked the extra point off the goal post but went in to put Tech ahead 31-24.

Ganz drove the Cornhuskers downfield again. Getting the ball with just over two minutes left in the game, Nebraska picked up a first down in two plays. Brandon Williams sacked Ganz for a five-yard loss. However, the Cornhuskers would recover as Ganz hit Lucky on a 26-yard pass to move the ball to the 47. Ganz had a pair of 11-yard passes to Todd Peterson. Ganz and Peterson would connect again following an extra point to make it a tie game at 31.

In overtime, Nebraska won the toss and decided to play defense first. The Red Raiders picked up almost all the yards they needed on one play. Harrell connected with Batch on a 24-yard screen pass. Three plays later, Eric Morris runs it in on a one-yard end run. Nevertheless, the 53,000 fans at Jones AT&T Stadium would hold their breath as Carona’s extra point was blocked.

Two plays later, Jamar Wall intercepted Ganz’s pass to seal the victory.

Tech will travel to College Station to play Texas A&M.