Magic 8-Ball Sez: Horns Win Out, Tech Tumbles
A battered, beaten Longhorns team limped out of dusty Lubbock with chapped lips and their first loss
By Joe O'Connell,
9:16AM, Tue. Nov. 4, 2008
A battered, beaten Texas Longhorns team limped out of dusty Lubbock with chapped lips and a first loss of the season. Here's the good news: it will likely be their last loss this year, at least until bowl season. That despite the real beast that attacked them in Lubbock – not Texas Tech, which played a great game and put it away when it needed to in a 39-33 win over the no-longer-No. 1 Longhorns. No, the beast is attrition, what forces a great army to prove its mettle.
Texas comes away from the game with injuries to defensive game-maker Brian Orakpo and sure-handed Quan Cosby. Luckily they have a home game this Saturday against a better but still not good Baylor team. Call it a scrimmage for the last stanza of the season. Kansas will put up a fight, then the Horns will pound the hapless Aggies just for the sake of revenge with next year's star receiver Malcolm Williams gliding down the field with sure hands and Jordan Shipley returning a punt for a TD.
Tech won't be so lucky. They had an excellent game plan against Colt McCoy, giving him no time to execute his short-pass "running" game. The same won't work against Oklahoma and perhaps not against Oklahoma State. Graham Harrell is a good quarterback in a dream system for a QB. But he's not a Heisman Trophy winner.
Michael Crabtree, however, is a true star who will excel in the NFL. His catch and juke toward the end zone is the play of the game and perhaps the season. Of course, it never would have happened if Blake Gideon – one of this season's new bright spots on the Horns' defense – had cradled that last-drive pass for an interception and sealed Texas' improbable comeback win. After getting bitch-slapped in the first half, Texas woke up after halftime on both sides of the ball. McCoy's late drive was masterful, but it left too much time on the clock for Harrell and Crabtree, a combination that spelled doom for Texas. Don't blame Gideon. Tech stole this win back and deserved it.
Fortunately they are likely to do Texas a major favor. Here's betting the Red Raiders top Oklahoma State then fall to Oklahoma (or vice versa). That one loss won't stop their trip to the Big 12 championship game, and saves Texas from one final stumbling block. The 11-1 Horns then get patched up by bowl season as a top five team.
Tech meanwhile gets bitten by the championship curse and falls to Missouri or a reasonable facsimile from the Big 12 North. And Mike Leach will already have his airplane ticket to the University of Tennessee.
For Texas, it will have been a heck of a rebuilding year with the future still very bright.