“It’s a great team victory and just to watch us bounce back after getting shut out last week,” Charlie Strong said immediately after his Longhorns defeated Texas Tech 34-13 on the road Saturday night. Longhorns who watched both the Kansas State game last week and this game will agree with Strong. If Texas fans were clutching their Lone Star cans tightly before Saturday’s game, with both teams sitting at 3-5, and a loss effectively ending the Longhorns’ season, those cans were crushed in agony just midway through the first quarter.
After a Nick Rose 46-yard field goal put Texas on the board, the Longhorns defense looked like it wouldn’t give much ground to the Red Raider offense. It didn’t have to. On first down from the 15, Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes was trying to avoid a sack and as he cocked the ball back to throw it away, it slipped from his hands and into the endzone, where Tech defender Branden Jackson fell on it for an easy six points. Six, not seven, because Red Raider kicker Ryan Bustin doinked the extra point of the goalpost.
Enter: Longhorn despair at the thought of losing to Texas Tech, dropping to 3-6, and another regression game from Tyrone Swoopes.
Then Quandre Diggs arrived. On 1st and 10, Diggs broke through the Tech offensive line and careened into Red Raider QB Patrick Mahomes, forcing a fumble and Mahomes from the game. He wouldn’t return, and that turnover led to a Texas touchdown. In for Mahomes was freshman walk-on Vincent Testaverde, son of Heisman winner and NFL journeyman Vinny Testaverde. On the Red Raiders’ first drive with Testaverde at the helm, Tech scored, putting the Red Raiders ahead.
That wouldn’t last, as Swoopes answered with a 68-yard bomb that John Harris adjusted to nicely, followed by a 17-yard touchdown run for Johnathan Gray. Tech wouldn’t score for the rest of the game, as the Longhorn defense stifled Testaverde the rest of the evening, intercepting one pass and shutting down the running game. It was over by the beginning of the fourth quarter, when Swoopes hit Jaxon Shipley for a four-yard TD strike.
In all, despite the opponent being less than stellar, there were reasons to feel good about the team, notably the early miscue by Swoopes and his response. Additionally, Malcolm Brown posted the first 100-yard rushing game of the season for Texas, Harris (5-165-1) was a beast again, kicker Nick Rose hit two long field goals, Daje Johnson made an appearance, and the defense adjusted nicely at halftime to hold Tech scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The win brings Texas to 3-3 in Big 12 play, and 4-5 overall. The Longhorns face a tough matchup with West Virginia on Saturday afternoon at DKR.
Photos courtesy of UT Athletics.
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