Longhorns Gobble Up Texas Tech
The Texas Longhorns celebrated senior night and their final home game of the season with an emphatic 41-16 win over in-state rival Texas Tech to remain alive in the Big 12 championship race.
20 seniors were honored before kickoff and several of them made a significant impact in the game. Defensive tackle Jackson Jeffcoat brought down Red Raider quarterback Baker Mayfield three times and Texas quarterback Case McCoy hit wideout and fellow senior Mike Davis on touchdown passes of 7 and 47 yards.
Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 in the Big 12) carried the nation’s highest-ranked passing offense into Austin but couldn’t muster much production against a Texas pass rush that netted a season-high eleven sacks. The Red Raiders only touchdown of the first half occurred on a busted punt attempt that kicker Ryan Erxleben improvised into a 51-yard touchdown run to give Tech an early 7-0 lead.
The Longhorns went on to score twenty unanswered points and led 20-10 at halftime thanks to hard-nosed running from platoon tailbacks Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown. Each rushed for more than 100 yards and gained a combined 230 total yards in a game that was effectively over by the start of the fourth quarter.
Tech’s regular season began with a meteoric seven-game winning streak that placed first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Red Raiders as high as tenth in the national rankings. Though bowl-eligible, they’re 0-5 since, and their regular season ends with a 4-5 record in conference. Texas Tech hasn’t won in Austin since 1997.
Saturday night’s game might’ve been Mack Brown’s last home tilt on the Texas sideline – but only a bit of time and incoming AD Steve Patterson will tell. If it was his last hurrah at DKR, Brown couldn’t have asked for a kinder, gentler sendoff: His defense atoned for going without a sack in their last game against Oklahoma State by swarming the Tech backfield all night. Case McCoy threw for two touchdowns and played turnover-free for the first time in four weeks; and the twin killing of tailbacks Brown and Bergeron minimized the impact of injured starter Johnathan Gray’s absence.
At 8-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play, the Longhorns’ title prospects hinge on No. 20 Oklahoma defeating No. 7 Oklahoma State up in Stillwater on Dec. 7. If an upset occurs, Texas must then beat No. 9 Baylor in Waco later that night to capture their first Big 12 championship since 2009.
If either of the two falls through, this Texas senior class will be the first since 1989 to graduate without at least a share of a conference or division title.