The last time Texas Tech left Austin with a win over the University of Texas was 1997. That year ‘Titanic’ led box office sales followed by ‘Men In Black’ at a distant second. Bill Clinton had just been inaugurated for his second presidential term.
Coming into Thursday’s Thanksgiving match-up, there was as much on the line for the head coaches as was the players. Maybe more. A loss for Texas head coach Charlie Strong would guarantee back-to-back losing seasons for Texas. A statistic the Texas faithful would not take kindly. With Baylor looming as Texas’ last game next week, Strong needed this win.
A win for Tech head coach and alumnus Kliff Kingsbury would end his season on a positive note and give the Red Raider fans something they haven’t seen since 2008. That’s a win against their in-state rival Longhorns. A victory that would no doubt give the young coach some ammo against his naysayers.
In a nutshell, coming into this game Tech couldn’t stop the run, ranking second to last in the conference for rushing defense in front of only Kansas. Texas couldn’t throw the ball ranking last in the Big 12 with a mere 153.6 yards-per-game. It was thought that a shootout would favor the Red Raiders and a defensive grinder would favor the ‘Horns.
While there was a combined 1,132 yards of total offense, the game would more resemble the latter. In fact, due in part to the heavy wind and even heavier rain, there would be no points scored by either team in the opening quarter. That’s not something Big 12 fans are used to seeing.
Texas would open the scoring with a field goal early in the second quarter. The game’s first touchdown was scored by the Red Raiders. An errant pass from Mahomes was seemingly picked off by Texas DB Holton Hill. However Tech receiver Devin Lauderdale blasted Hill which jarred the ball loose. Speedster Jakeem Grant would snatch the ball out of the air and take it 65 yards for a score as well as take the air out of DKR Memorial Stadium.
Tech would claim the game’s largest lead of 14 points in the third quarter. However the Longhorns, led by QB Tyrone Swoopes who took over early in the second quarter after starter Jerrod Heard suffered a potential head injury, would spring ahead 38-34 half way through the fourth quarter. Swoopes would score on a 46-yard touchdown scamper.
1:36 seconds later Tech would reclaim the lead 41-38 on a one-yard touchdown run by Justin Stockton. A play that was set up by a 40-yard dime by Patrick Mahomes to Jakeem Grant to the Texas one yard line.
Later, after forcing a turnover on downs with 2:51 left in the game, Grant put Tech up by ten, 48-38, with some razzle-dazzle on a play aptly named, “Little People, Big World.” More on that later.
After a 46-yard kickoff return and a facemask penalty, Chris Warren would score his fourth rushing touchdown of the game from eight yards out. This made it 48-45 and set up an on-side kick with 2:06 left. Texas executed it perfectly and had a shot at it but Tech would eventually fall on it. From there, one first down by a scrambling Mahomes was enough to put Tech in victory formation.
The breakout story of the day belonged to Texas’ running back Chris Warren III who had a mind-blowing 11.0 yards yards-per-carry. The freshman from Rockwall, Texas ran at will against the soft Tech defense piling up 276 yards on the ground with his four touchdowns. Given the rainy and windy conditions, running backs on both sides would be featured in this one. Tech’s DeAndre Washington ran for 173 yards and had two touchdowns of his own. The performance put him at 1,455 yards for the season.
|3rd Down Eff||4-13||4-14|
|4th Down Eff||0-1||0-1|
|Yds Per Pass||9.5||2.8|
|Yds Per Rush||5.7||8.4|
Key Point In The Game
This game had two lead-changes inside of eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter and six total turnovers. There is no shortage of key plays to choose from. But, for me, the key play was Tech’s on-side kick recovery with 2:06 left in the game. The Texas kicker got the exact bounce he wanted which threw off Tech’s recovery unit. The ball bounced off of two Red Raiders and was free for the taking until Keyon High came out of nowhere and recovered it.
Tech’s defense, in what has been the theme of the year for them, had no answer for Chris Warren III in this game. He was decimating the Red Raider defense all night. There’s no doubt in my mind that, if Texas had recovered that OSK, they win this game. Warren would’ve made sure of that.
Emptying The Notebook
“Little People, Big World” – One of Tech’s most dangerous weapons, Jakeem Grant, uses his small stature to hide from the Longhorn defense then turns on the jets for a 40-yard score.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 27, 2015
If the Longhorns were looking for a silver lining in this loss, that silver lining’s name is Chris Warren III. Keep in mind he’s a freshman.
— Alex Dunlap (@AlexDunlapNFL) November 27, 2015
Oops. Kinda makes you wonder what that first thing was that he threw??
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 27, 2015