Red Raiders upset Longhorns 37-34 in OT


Texas Tech fans flooded the field in celebration for the second straight home game after Trey Wolff drilled a 20-yard field goal for a 37-34 overtime win over No. 22 Texas on Saturday at a sold-out Jones AT&T Stadium.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire said. "It was 31-17 and they could have given up at any point. They didn't. We asked them coming out of the half to keep fighting and good things would happen. These guys believe. When you have results like this it just fires that belief up even more."

The Red Raiders (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) opened Big 12 play with the thrilling overtime victory over the Longhorns (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) after Wolff had given Tech a 34-31 lead with a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in regulation. Texas drove down the field in three plays and hit a 48-yard field goal to force overtime but would see running back Bijan Robinson fumble after a hit by Krishon Merriweather on the first play of overtime. Reggie Pearson Jr., who had an interception earlier in the game, recovered the fumble to set Tech up to win the game.  

SaRodorick Thompson Jr. gained 17 yards on Tech's first play of overtime with a rush through the middle of the Longhorn defense to get inside the 10. Three plays later, on 4th and 2, Wolff made the 20-yard field goal to bring a large portion of the 60,975 fans in attendance onto the field. 

"We have confidence in Wolff and he came through today," McGuire said. "We almost took a delay to give him a better angle, but he said he felt good about it. He said he was going to knock it through. I believe in my guys, and he did."

Tech finished the game 6-for-8 on fourth down and overcame a 24-14 halftime deficit with quarterback Donovan Smith throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns on 38-for-56 passing for the game. Myles Price had a career-high 13 receptions, while Baylor Cupp, J.J. Sparkman and Tahj Brooks had four catches each. Thompson ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and Brooks ran the ball 12 times for 36 yards. Tech outgained the Longhorns by a 479-426 margin in a turnover free game for the Red Raiders. 

Defensively, Merriweather led the Red Raiders with eight tackles while Tyree Wilson had six tackles and a sack. Kosi Eldridge and Pearson each had five tackles. 

"What this means to us is that we are 1-0 in the Big 12," McGuire said. "I'm fired up to beat Texas, but I'm more fired up to be 1-0 in the Big 12. Our guys will enjoy this, but this is not the end. We are going to refocus after enjoying this for the next 24 hours. We'll build off this. We'll find out how we respond to success."

The Red Raiders tied the game at 31-31 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Cupp after Smith had run for a first down on a 4th and 5 on the previous play. Smith's run was the five fourth-down conversion of the game for the Red Raiders and tied the game with 7:54 remaining. It was Cupp's fourth reception of the game and had Smith at 34-for-52 for 291 yards
Tech would force a punt after the Longhorns had one first down following the touchdown and would set up on offense at the 17.  The go-ahead drive in regulation included a 26-yard reception from Price to the 43 with 4:30 on the clock and then a 4th and 3 conversion with a six-yard pass to Price. Six plays later, Wolff stepped up and hit the 45-yard field goal. 

Texas marched down the field with three pass plays from Hudson Card to set up a 48-yard field goal from Bert Auburn as time expired. The field goal was set up with Card hitting Tarique Milton for 28 yards to get to the 35 before advancing on an 8-yard pass to Ja'Tavion Sanders for eight more yards. Auburn's kick to the north end zone sent Tech to overtime for the second straight home game. 

Thompson scored on a 1-yard run up the middle to bring Tech to within 31-24 with 1:55 on the clock in the third quarter to respond to a Longhorn touchdown on their prior possession. The Red Raiders had an 11-play drive that included Smith running for a first down and a fourth-down play at the 16 yard line to extend the drive that made it a one-touchdown game going into the fourth quarter. 

Tech scored on its second drive of the second half on a 37-yard field goal by Wolff. The kick cut the Texas lead to 24-17 and capped a 15-play drive that came after both teams had stalled out on their first possession of the half. Robinson would counter the kick with a Texas touchdown though, running for a 40-yard score to give the Longhorns a 31-17 lead with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter. The rush gave Robinson 89 yards and two touchdowns at the time. 

Tech trailed 24-14 at halftime after the Longhorns scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes of the half. The Red Raiders had led 14-10 after a Smith touchdown pass to Brooks before Texas regained momentum to scored on its final two possessions. Smith threw for 104 yards and a touchdown on 18-for-23 passing in the first half along with rushing for one touchdown and running for 14 yards on three carries. Thompson led Tech with 35 yards rushing on nine rushes, while Brooks had 29 yards on five carries and Price had six receptions for 38 yards going into the second half. Texas had 229 of total offense in the first half led by Card who was 13-for-18 passing with 168 yards and one touchdown. 

The Red Raiders trailed by 10 at the break after they had taken their first lead of the game at 14-10 after a 17-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Brooks with 12:06 remaining in the second quarter. The screen pass to the home sideline came on a 2nd and 10 and capped a 13-play, 83-yard drive. 

Tech seemed to grab momentum with Pearson picking off a pass from Card at the 20 and returned it 25 yards to the Tech 45-yardline on the next possession. A three-and out by the Red Raiders was followed the Longhorns regaining the lead at 17-14 on a 39-yard connection between Card and Worthy with 6:07 remaining until halftime. The lead grew to 24-14 on an 8-yard touchdown run by Robinson with24 seconds remaining in the opening half. Robinson's run had him at 44 yards rushing on six carries in the first half. 

Both teams opened the game with first-drive touchdowns with Robinson hauling in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Card on the Longhorns opening possession followed by Smith running it in from 4 yards out for the first Red Raider touchdown. Smith's touchdown came on 4th and 5 to complete an 18-play, 75-yard drive. It was his third rushing touchdown of the season and sixth of his career.

This was Sarkisian's chance to build some momentum for the program two weeks after a one-point loss at home to then-No. 1 Alabama. Now the Longhorns will have to try again in two weeks against their biggest rival, No. 6 Oklahoma.

The Red Raiders stayed mostly with high-percentage throws on methodical drives with Smith after the sophomore threw five interceptions in the previous two games. He didn't throw any picks in 56 attempts, completing 38 for an average of 8.7 yards per completion.

There were a lot of people talking about how different this Texas team was compared to years past. They played tough against Alabama but lost and many folks thought that they were the real deal even after struggling against UTSA last weekend. However, this Texas team isn’t much different than years past.

I understand Quinn Ewers is still injured but the offensive game plan was questionable at best. Texas failed to use Bijan Robinson because they simply didn’t give him the ball enough. He is their best player on offense, yet he only touched the ball 17 times on Saturday. I know he had the costly fumble in overtime, but you have to give your best player the football. There also was a noticeable drop off in the passing game once Xavier Worthy left. And please, get rid of the wildcat because it doesn’t work.

Defensively, I am not sure why Texas decided to not bring more pressure throughout the game. The few times they brought pressure they were able to rattle Donovan Smith a little and then they stopped. However, they were also probably exhausted because Texas Tech had 100 plays off offense.

I know that eventually Tyler Shough will come back for Texas Tech, but I feel like Donovan Smith gives this team the best chance at winning games. Smith went 38/56 for 331 yards and had three total touchdowns against the Longhorns. His favorite target was Myles Price as he connected with him 13 times in this game. Plus, he adds a ton of value in the run game because he is a problem in the red zone and short yardage. From here on out, Donovan Smith should be the guy at quarterback for Texas Tech.
 
There were times throughout the game where I was questioning the decisions of Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire. Time after time, he kept going for it and to his credit, it worked out. The Red Raiders offense attempted eight fourth downs and they were able to convert six of them. Not many coaches in college football would be willing to take chances like that but in the end, it paid off. Joey McGuire brought a lot of hype with him to this program and so far, he has delivered. Jones AT&T Stadium was rocking, the tortillas were flying and for the first time since the Michael Crabtree catch in 2008, Texas Tech beat Texas in Lubbock.

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