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Key second-half drive helps Longhorns leave Lubbock with 24-14 win against Raiders

Posted: September 18, 2010 - 10:26pm
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For most of Saturday night’s Big 12 Conference opener, Texas Tech proved it was just as tough and every bit as good as sixth-ranked Texas.

But when they had a chance to prove they could beat the Longhorns, the Red Raiders couldn’t quite cut it.

A poor throw by Tech quarterback Taylor Potts and two poor decisions by cornerback Will Ford helped Texas turn a tense game in its favor, and the Longhorns escaped a sold-out Jones AT&T Stadium with a 24-14 victory.

“We just killed ourselves,” said first-year Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who also lamented a Red Raider running game that finished with negative-14 yards on 18 attempts.

The Red Raiders (2-1, 0-1 Big 12) committed three turnovers and finished with 144 total yards – their lowest offensive output since a 1990 game against a Miami team with Tuberville on its defensive staff – but still had the ball on Texas’ 16-yard line with the score tied early in the second half.

That’s when Potts threw his second interception of the game to UT defensive back Curtis Brown, who returned it all the way to the Tech 12 to set up a 27-yard field goal by Justin Tucker that gave the Longhorns a 17-14 lead with 8:39 left in the third quarter.

“The turning point of the game,” Tuberville said. “Their nickel back just read (Potts) all the way. He looked at the receiver, and you can’t do that against experienced defensive backs.”

Steven Sheffield replaced Potts on Tech’s ensuing possession but didn’t fare any better, throwing one incompletion and being sacked once on a three-and-out. Potts returned on the next possession and finished out the game, completing 21 of 35 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown with the two picks.

Tuberville said the plan all along was for Sheffield to play at some point. The coach also said Potts “got hit pretty good” on the interception to Brown.

“We gave Steven a chance to try to make a play while Taylor got his breath back,” Tuberville said, “and obviously we didn’t do much in that situation, either.”

The Longhorns (3-0, 1-0) got the ball back with about four minutes left in the third quarter and put the game away with a 22-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that took more than nine minutes off the clock, using some gutsy play-calling, a couple clutch throws by sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert and overzealousness on the part of Ford.

Ryan Roberson, who did not get a carry in Texas’ first two games of the season, took a direct snap out of a punt formation and gained 2 yards on fourth-and-1 from the UT 29. Gilbert extended the drive with a pair of third-down completions to James Kirkendoll, Cody Johnson converted another fourth down along the way, and Gilbert put Texas in the end zone when he faked a handoff, rolled to his right and found tight end Barrett Matthews for a 1-yard score on third-and-goal.

The touchdown would not have been possible, though, if not for two personal-foul penalties against Ford, Tech’s sophomore cornerback. His unnecessary roughness penalty sent the Longhorns across midfield, and then Ford was flagged for taunting Greg Smith after the UT tight end dropped a pass on third-and-13 from the Tech 27.

“Two personal fouls on the same drive inside the 50, that’s something you can’t do,” Tech defensive coordinator James Willis said. “Those go back to being disciplined as a team, disciplined as a player and doing the right things. We can’t allow one individual to tear the team down, and that was one instance where one guy really hurt us right there.”

The Longhorns’ long drive aside, Tech’s defense held its own behind monster performances by defensive end Scott Smith and freshman cornerback Jarvis Phillips. Smith registered two sacks, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass and tipped another throw right to Phillips, who returned the pick 87 yards for Tech’s first touchdown of the game.

Phillips, who had interceptions in each of the Raiders’ first two games, snuffed out a potential UT scoring drive later in the first half with a shoestring grab at the Tech 19.

Tech’s offense didn’t do its job, though. The Raiders didn’t record a first down until the second quarter and were 3 of 13 on third down, and they had the team’s least productive day in 20 years in terms of yardage.
About the only bright spot was a six-play, 68-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter. Baron Batch ignited it with a 25-yard run on the first play – the Raiders’ longest rush of the season – and Potts capped it with his sixth TD pass of the season to former high school teammate Lyle Leong.

“Obviously a very poor performance on the offensive side of the ball, and you don’t need to be a brain scientist to figure that out,” Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “We’re not going to beat anybody like that, much less Texas.”
To comment on this story:
adam.zuvanich@lubbockonline.com l 766-8733
courtney.linehan@lubbockonline.com l 766-8735

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ill be the first to say

I know that this is not what you want to hear but if the pirate had been here, the story would have been different. There was plenty of tech defense, but offense was woeful to say the least. Might as well get used to it. Like i said before, the top recruits do not come to lubbock for nobody, not even tubb.


tech/texas game

If we had a coach like the pirate...I agree it would have turned out different. With a QB that can't pass under pressure and a " HEAD COACH" that thinks he knows what he is doing...it could have been a victory...Way To GO DEFENSE!!!! BRING BACK LEACH!!! !! Get rid of Potts and Tubberville. Sheffield would have been the difference in the game! Forget the Bowl Games we are used to when the PIRATE was here!!!


I will be the first to say

I will have to differ from both these comments or maybe we were just watching a different game. First of all Tubberville does know how to coach. I do believe he went 13-0 something leach never did. And talking about the defense. This is a defense that I have not seen the past years that leach has been here. Talking about the offense I did not see any plays called that would have differed from what leach called. Looked like the same plays he called. Just like a tech fan to turn on their team even after one bad lost.


Say it ain't so

Just heard Tubby say on the radio that the only way to win in this conference is to open running lanes. I think we didn't have a problem with offense.....now we do. What's the difference? Oh....that would be the head coach. Last year against a UT team that went to the National Championship game the same qb that could lead an offense to 150 total yards had over 400 passing so it looks like this idea of "opening running lanes" isn't working so well. For all of the people who bought into Tubby's comment that he was keeping the Air Raid how do you defend what this offense has turned into. We need the swagger back.


What happened to Sheffield?

What happened to Sheffield? He goes in the game for a minute and gets pulled. He didn't have enough protection to show his skill. I believe he would have made the difference to win this game. Face it, Potts has not improved, and now what's the excuse Potts, you hurt your pinky? The same old Potts is still there, no different from last year. Remove Potts, replace him with Sheffield. The coach needs to see what happened last year in San Antonio, and a few games before that. We need Sheffield to the rescue, again. Wake up coach.



I believe two players stood out for obvious reasons! With no names mentioned I would like to nominate #7 and #70 for ...... ! I believe they should run till Tommys out of breath, and maybe set in a small dark.....shed/room and think about what they put forth, or a lack thereof toward the team effort. You can't play like that and expect a "W". Tommy did an outstanding job for what he has been dealt. If your going to bash Tech your more than welcome to be a horns fan so you won't ever be disappointed.


Scott Smith!!!

And hats off to Smith for an awesome game, too bad his team mates didn't feel like joining!


Ford is NOT the best in Texas (Tech)

Will Ford needs to be sitting the bench next week. 30 yards of penalties on a crucial drive (especially the taunting garbage), giving TU all the second chances they would need. Just running Ford until his engine falls out is not enough punishment during this next week of practice. Benching him should send a clear message that poor choices like his cannot be tolerated, especially when the rest of the defense is working their tails off to keep Tech within striking distance. Personal fouls, taunting penalties, and similar dead-ball fouls have to be eliminated if Tech is going to become an elite team.



It's hard to speak your mind without being deleted! I would love to speak my mind about Ford and Olson. Next game watch 70, I have never seen anyone with such a lack of motivation to block! I know this will be deleted, however it disgusts me that other players want to play yet this guy is still out and has no motivation to do anything, especially his job. I see politics in his future, riding someone's shirt tail! And Ford to pull what he did, a bench I feel too is the wrong answer. Send him packing, words can't describe how big of a bonehead penalty that was, between Olson and Ford they cost the game!


Really Adam Z

"For most of Saturday night’s Big 12 Conference opener, Texas Tech proved it was just as tough and every bit as good as sixth-ranked Texas."

Please, quit kissing up as it is just laughable.

And I am sorry, but what does this mean from the comments...

"Tommy did an outstanding job for what he has been dealt."

Are we setting up Leach to be the fall guy for Tubbs mistakes?! Are we going to blame the Leach Administration for where we are now??? That is laughable also.

The buck stops with Tubby, and he didn't do much with the offense, nor did he seem to have the ability to adjust.

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