There were plenty of reasons for Texas Tech’s 31-22 loss Saturday to Texas and two major outcomes: The Red Raiders’ hopes of keeping some heat on the Big 12 Conference frontrunners are over, and their seniors will end their careers having never beaten the Longhorns.
“Hopefully we can play better for them the next three games and get into a good bowl game,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “It’s just so hard to play so well at times and then play so poorly at times and have inopportune penalties. It absolutely took us out of it.”
Going into the Texas game, the Red Raiders were hoping for some November upsets at the top of the conference that might still give them a say in the outcome. The loss dropped Tech (6-3, 3-3 in the Big 12) from tied for fourth place to tied for fifth.
The last game in Jones AT&T Stadium for Tech seniors comes at 11 a.m. Saturday against Kansas.
“I feel really bad for them,” junior middle linebacker Will Smith said, “because they’ve been here four years and haven’t beaten them once. So that touches me deep, too, because I was in the locker room and got pretty emotional about this loss, too. I understand how they feel.”
Texas scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, forcing Tech to play from behind most of the game. Longhorns quarterback David Ash, benched in the fourth quarter the week before in a 21-17 win at Kansas, strafed the Tech secondary for 264 yards and three touchdown passes.
Tech allowed five pass plays of 30-plus yards in the first eight games, but Ash hit the Red Raiders for three. Among them were two bombs to wide receiver Mike Davis, one covering 54 yards to the 2-yard line to set up a touchdown and the other a 75-yard TD.
Two Tech starters — cornerback Cornelius Douglas and nickel back Tre Porter — were out, as well as Porter’s backup, Jarvis Phillips. Bruce Jones started his third game in a row for Douglas, Neboh took Porter’s place and Derrick Mays, who has played little this season, started at corner.
Each of the three gave up at least one of the Longhorns’ big pass plays.
“We had to play a couple of guys at defensive back that wouldn’t have been in there had we not had injuries,” Tuberville said, “so (Texas) took advantage of it. They saw it. You’ve got to give it to them. They took advantage of going after a corner that hadn’t played much all year long and obviously made the play.”
Even so, Tech still had its chances. However, the Red Raiders committed nine penalties for 85 yards, some costly.
On its first possession of the game, Tech committed a penalty of its own to offset a roughing-the-punter against Texas, forcing the Red Raiders to punt again instead of having a first down.
In the second quarter, Sadale Foster took a screen pass 14 yards to the Texas 6-yard line, but a chop-block call against guard Le’Raven Clark put Tech in a first-and-30 from the UT 35 instead. The Red Raiders settled for a field goal on that drive.
In the fourth quarter, a punt-catch interference penalty against Daniel Cobb gave Texas a 15-yard head start to a series on which the Longhorns scored their last touchdown.
Then with 6:10 left in the game and Tech down 31-22, a 2-yard Kenny Williams touchdown was erased by holding on center Deveric Gallington. Three plays later, UT corner Carrington Byndom blocked a field-goal try.
“It seemed like they just came at bad times,” Tuberville said. “We work on it all the time, but today they went against us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t recover from it.”
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