Optimism is the worst type of thinking. Combine that optimism with an obsession to win football games, you’ve got yourself a recipe for success and eventual failure. In 2014 the Red Raiders were limping through a slump of a season, but with optimism on everyone’s mind, the Red Raiders could defeat TCU despite the odds. That optimism quickly turned to pessimism after 4 quarters of a potent TCU offense having their way with a hemorrhaging Texas Tech defense. After the final whistle, TCU had done more than won the game. The Horned Frogs handed the Red Raiders a terrifying 82-27 stomping.
Fast forward a little less than a year to Texas Tech’s Big 12 opener at home. Optimism slowly rose in the air and it was time to avenge a loss against the Horned Frogs. September 26, 2015 was going to be the day the Red Raiders exacted revenge. TCU was still playing strong through their first couple of games, but a string of injuries on the defensive side of the ball would leave the Horned Frogs vulnerable to a high-powered offense tearing through them. Although Tech’s defense was far from perfect, Coach Gibb’s system had already produced some positive results. Two nation leading offenses, two defenses in need for reinforcements, a heated rivalry, what else was needed to make this the perfect storm? What else was left to be named to make this the perfect upset and act of revenge for Texas Tech?
The game played out like everyone had predicted it to be. It was a slug-fest, two teams trading blows until one was knocked out. It really would come down to who had the ball last. In the culture of Texas Tech, it’s always seemed that we as Red Raiders ask ourselves, “Why Us?” Why do we always seem to implode when the contest is high-stakes? This was not the case against TCU. The Red Raiders were one defensive stop from upsetting the #3 team in the nation, and on national television. Upset was very much on everyone’s mind. The opportunity to win the game came on a 4th and the goal-line play by TCU. The ball was snapped, pass thrown, ball tipped, and everyone inside the Jones went ballistic. Fans weren’t celebrating an upset win. Fans were shocked by a tipped pass caught by Aaron Green. TCU’s running back didn’t have a single reason to be in the end zone. He was supposed to be protecting Treyvone Boykin from a game ending sack. But by some strange stroke of luck, Aaron Green was the horned hero by catching that tipped pass and keeping his feet inside the end zone. Tech would would need a miracle to win the game.
I hate Aaron Green. The optimism of winning over TCU was soon replaced with loops of Green’s miraculous catch. That 82-27 loss in Forth Worth just the season before could not compare to the shock of that catch. At one time, the Jones was so loud that any type of communication was inaudible. The moment after, everyone’s breath escaped them. I will never understand what Aaron Green was doing in the end zone. I will always rethink that play, maybe if only someone had batted the ball down, or maybe someone would have picked up Green in their coverage. That’s optimism playing its part again. There was nothing that could be done after the whistle was blown. It was another infamous moment in Texas Tech sports culture. No one can blame Aaron Green for that catch, he made a good play. He can’t be called a villain, because to him, scarlet and black are the enemy. But I can still hate him for crushing an entire fan base. I can still look forward to our next meeting to the Horned Frogs for another shot at taking back the bragging rights.