Double-T Nation News:
We've got post-game quotes, grades and I've got to release my draft of the Blogpoll all later today. I'm going to go ahead and nix the Big 12 roundup, simply because of lack of time and PB at BON does an excellent job of this, there's no need to replicate what's done and his is better.
Texas Tech Football:
LAJ's Don Williams on Texas Tech controlling the second half:
Tech coach Mike Leach preached patience instead, and the message got through.
No panic in the locker room at the break?
"No, I was proud of them for that," Leach said after his team’s 43-25 victory over Texas A&M Saturday in a typically raucous and swayin’ Kyle Field. "Really, it was more of a relaxation session than anything. No fire and brimstone this time."
Nice editorial from LAJ's Don Williams on Texas Tech remaining focused despite ranking and attention:
Say this for these Red Raiders: Their tunnel vision is in place. Evidently, it takes someone with as much gray hair as I have to weigh the historical implications of Tech’s No. 5 ranking and its first 7-0 start since the glorious fall of 1976.
"We’re not trying to think about it too much: All the hype, all the media attention, our rankings … We just look to go play each game," inside receiver Detron Lewis said. "Like Baron said, I don’t even know who we play next. Y’all mentioned it’s Kansas, so just look to play the next game."
Again Saturday, the Red Raiders showed some traits that could herald a memorable autumn. Trailing at halftime, they came out in the second half and stuffed it down the throats of the Aggies and the 12th Man, those dedicated souls who are keeping Kyle Field rockin’ even if their team isn’t. This time, 86,012 came out for a game against the "Not Our Rivals."
Leach also acknowledged the need to improve the kicking game, and he's open for suggestions:
"I don’t sit there and brood over that all night, like you apparently do," Tech coach Mike Leach retorted. "Just try to improve and get better at it. They’re not just these compelling things that there’s a series of failures that aren’t allowing those things to happen. I mean, some things you just have to cycle through."
"Yeah, I don’t’ know, now we may alternate them," Leach said. "That’s a good question. Get any ideas, let me know. Go for two. I think we got to kick it better. There ain’t no question about that. Yeah, that’s a problem."
LAJ's Don Williams Red Raiders Football Notebook has a couple of notes about other receivers stepping up for a then injured Michael Crabtree, as well as some quotes from Ruffin McNeill on the early blitzing:
"We tried one more time right before the half," McNeill said, "and I didn’t feel comfortable with the kids at that time. So we settled down at halftime and said, "Look, let’s just get back. Let’s get lined up and just play a little bit.’ We were able to let those front four hunt for us and then defend a little bit. I thought we could blitz them, and we did early. The second half, we didn’t have to."
FWST's Dwain Price on the Red Raiders' second half surge:
The game’s second half couldn’t have been more different than the first.
The Aggies led 23-20 at intermission after compiling 274 total yards.
But at one point early in the fourth quarter, A&M had run 12 plays — totaling just 12 yards. Overall in the second half, the Aggies snapped the ball 18 times and collected a mere 32 yards.
Tech coach Mike Leach said there was nothing magical about the way the Red Raiders corralled A&M’s offense in the second half.
"We didn’t allow frustration to cloud our minds," Leach said. "I thought everything went wrong that could in the first half, and I thought we allowed ourselves to get frustrated.
"Part of it is just going out there and running around and expecting good things to happen, and I thought we did that the second half. We don’t want to have bad body language out there."
FWST's Lori Dann on the Aggies' first half:
In the first half, Texas A&M looked as much like one of the nation’s elite offenses as Texas Tech.
The Aggies outgained the Red Raiders 274-254 in total yardage and scored on five of their six possessions on the way to a three-point halftime lead. It was the first time this season Texas Tech trailed at halftime.
Then reality set in.
An offensive line that coach Mike Sherman said was "held together by Band-Aids" simply wore down, and the Aggies went down with it, losing 43-25 Saturday to the No. 7 Red Raiders at Kyle Field.
Texas A&M managed just four first downs and 32 total yards on 18 offensive plays in the second half. Its only points came on Arkeith Brown’s return of a blocked extra point by Tony Jerod-Eddie.
SAEN's Brent Zwerneman on Texas Tech's 2nd half eruption:
Afterward, Leach and Aggies coach Mike Sherman answered to eyebrow-raising play calling from both sides. Leach answered for his sportsmanship; Sherman for his shrewdness.
Tech, with the game well in hand, punched in a final touchdown on a 1-yard Harrell run with 20 seconds remaining. A play earlier, Leach challenged the officials' ruling that running back Shannon Woods didn't score on a 3-yard run.
Leach said the Red Raiders scored because he wanted to reward Woods and fellow running back Baron Batch for their "heavy lifting" on the final drive.
"I thought he scored," Leach said of Woods' effort. "I felt he deserved it."
Leach added with a grin, "My only disappointment is Graham snatched (the touchdown) away from him."
Sherman said Tech's final score didn't faze him.
"I've got my football team and they've got theirs," he said. "I don't worry about that. Our job is to stop them. They do things their way and we do things our way."
The Chron's Terrance Harris on Texas Tech's run past the Aggies:
After allowing A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson to engineer clock-draining drives in the first two quarters, Tech bottled things up.
The Aggies (2-5, 0-3) produced 274 yards of offense in the first half and won the time of possession battle (20:15 to 9:45) to keep in step with Tech’s high-octane offense. But they had 32 yards of offense the rest of the way as the Raiders remained on high, kicking out 307 of their 561 yards in the second half.
Harrell was 44-of-56 for 450 yards and three touchdowns as he dinked and dunked the ball to receivers Crabtree, Detron Lewis, Tramain Swindall and Eric Morris. Running backs Baron Batch and Shannon Woods converted big runs to make the play-action pass even more effective.
"We settled down and played," said Batch, who led the Raiders’ ground attack with 87 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. "We were focused on getting the win. We settled down and did what we wanted to do."