Texas Tech defeated Texas A&M yesterday in their annual conference match. There is nothing surprising there. It has become routine for the Red Raiders to lay waste to the abyss that has become fightin' Texas Aggie football. There was some drama along the way so let's have a looksee.
This game was very different from first half to second half. It's hard to tell if A&M played great in the first half or if Texas Tech's defensive scheme allowed them to have success. A&M did do a good job of taking advantage of the two Tech first half turnovers.
The first was an awful pass by Graham Harrell off of his back foot and throwing deep over the middle. The pass was a bit high and easily picked off. Harrell is a senior so you hate to see these types of mistakes. He does make things look so easy sometimes that we just don't expect this type of play. He'll have to avoid these types of decisions over the next four weeks.
The second turnover was a fumble after a nice completion from Harrell to Tremain Swindall. Swindall didn't do a good job of securing the football and was stripped of it just before he hit the ground. The play was ruled a completion on the field but was overruled after it was challenged by A&M coach Mike Sherman.
Both teams had big offensive numbers in the first half. Texas A&M racked up 274 yards of offense. Most of it from the big right arm of sophomore QB Jerrod Johnson. Tech helped A&M tremendously by staying in a super soft zone which left A&M receivers wide open all over the field.
Texas Tech had 254 yards of offense in the first half. Tech only stopped itself with turnovers. The biggest play was a twenty five yard touchdown pass from Harrell to all-world receiver Michael Crabtree.
Texas Tech also continued to struggle in the kicking game when they had the extra point blocked after their second touchdown. Mike Leach and staff really need to get the kicking game figured out soon. It easily could have cost them the Nebraska game and with Kansas, Texas, OSU and Oklahoma coming up, they will need every point they can earn.
The first half ended with the Ags up 23-20. I still wasn't very worried at this point. It seemed A&M had played as well as they could and were only up by 3.
The second half was dominated by Texas Tech. They scored on their opening drive and never looked back. Once again Harrell found Crabtree in the end-zone to get things started. A simple three yard out route left him wide open.
Yes, I am surprised at how easily he gets open. Everyone knows he is the first choice around the end-zone. His incredible strength and quickness simply allow him to beat over matched defensive backs again and again.
Tech added a field goal later in the third to finish the quarter up 30-23.
Graham Harrell added two one-yard touchdown runs in the 4th quarter. The second has brought about some mild controversy, but mainly just for uneducated radio talk show hosts to have something to scream about. More on this later.
A&m's only points of the second half came off a blocked extra point. What a surprise there! After the unsurprising block it was returned by A&M to complete their final point tally.
In the second half Texas A&M accrued only 32 yards of offense. Fifteen yards of that came on the last play of the game. Tech put continuous pressure with their front four on Johnson in the half and it made a huge difference. They also seemed to man up more which put a stop to the problem of wide open receivers they suffered in the first half.
Tech put up 307 yards of offense in the second half to finish the game with 561 yards. Harrell was 44-56 passing for 450 yards.
Tech rushed for 111 yards. Most of that came from red-shirt freshman Baron Batch. He continues to prove he is an up and coming back. Shannon Woods did his usual job of fine pass and run blocking and gaining 20 yards of his own on the ground.
Leading receivers for Texas Tech were Detron Lewis, 9 catches for 92 yards and Michael Crabtree with 8 receptions for 71 yards and 2 scores. Crabtree was hampered in the game by an injured ankle he nicked in the first half returning a kickoff. Swindall was the leading yardage man with 111.
The minor controversy.
Texas Tech scored their last touchdown on a one-yard run by Graham Harrell with twenty seconds left. What? Surely Tech was just trying to rub it in over their hated conference opponent. No. Mike Leach would have run this play against any team, anywhere. He has said it continually. You play the game all the way out until the final whistle blows.
Over the last few years Texas Tech has had some amazing comeback wins. One of the reasons is because of this philosophy. His teams play every play, full out, trying to execute the offense or defense the way the coaches expect it. Recent bowl victories over Minnesota and Virginia show how Tech never stops playing.
Also, Tech is ranked in the top ten and it would be foolish to allow any points to remain on the field in this BCS world we live in. Most voters never see when or how points are scored. They just look at totals. Bob Stoops knows it and so do most other coaches. You can't be nice because voters and computers don't care. They simply look at results.
Finally, A&M could have simply stopped the play. The A&M coaches knew they would have to. They just didn't get it done. Believe me, if A&M was the one scoring the late touchdown, Mike Leach wouldn't whine or complain one bit. He'd be mad at his team for allowing it. Maybe he's just not as whiny as a lot of people.
The funniest comment I heard about the play after the game came from a radio host on an ESPN channel I believe. I don't remember the exact quote, but the nonsense flying out of his pie hole basically was this.....
There is a mutual respect between the University of Texas and Texas A&M. (what a joke, there is no respect between these two teams) The players of Texas will remember this and will cheap shot Graham Harrell if needed to repay him for this disrespect. (whatever)
Idiots like the above guy make life almost not worth living. Except that it is so funny. So it pains me that he is that stupid, but it also entertains me. So I am thankful for his small brain and blatant nonsensical analysis.
Texas Tech has scored late when ahead in many games of Mike Leach's career there. NEVER has one of his quarterbacks been retaliated against or hurt by the opposition because of it. But this year, with so much on the line, Texas is going to risk a penalty in a big game, so they can restore the honor to Texas A&M.
It is not like the game was already 77-0. Tech was only up 35-25. Truthfully does 35 points or 42 points in a loss really matter. No. The team was beat and only the already sad and angry fans were really upset about it. The players and coaches didn't act like it was a big deal. They knew they could have stopped it from happening. They just have to do their jobs.
So remember, next time you are at work and doing something great, stop at the end so you don't make someone else at work look bad. Just let up. Don't try and be the best you can, good enough is good enough.. right? Yeah, probably not.