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Breaking down Texas Tech’s heartbreaking loss to Texas

The Red Raiders snatched defeat away from the jaws of victory in a collapse for the ages

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

If you had told Texas Tech fans before the game that they would be tied with 40 seconds left in the game and have the ball with a chance to win, I can guarantee you the fans would be thrilled with that opportunity.

Yet, in the context of the game it seemed like a colossal failure to be tied with 40 seconds left. The Red Raiders would, of course, lose in overtime 63-56, but that “tied up” scenario is exactly the part that is most frustrating to fans. What was expected to be a blowout for Texas turned into a dogfight, and what should have been a signature win for Matt Wells instead turned into an infamous collapse. Here is how it happened:

1st Quarter:

Texas opened the game on offense, and immediately drove right down the field to score a touchdown on a Sam Ehlinger run. The drive was 13 plays long and took nearly six minutes of game clock, which would establish a time of possession disparity that would be a theme throughout the rest of the second half. Tech’s offense would respond on the very next possession with a beautiful six play drive, capped by a gorgeous dime from Alan Bowman to KeSean Carter, who had three crucial catches on the first series. Texas would quickly drive back down the field, but stalled inside the 30 yard line and settled for a 43 yard field goal by Cameron Dicker to make it 10-7. Tech’s next two drives were three and out’s, which allowed Texas to seize momentum and score another touchdown, this time with Ehlinger finding Joshua Moore for an incredible contested catch in the end zone. The quarter would end with both teams trading punts.

End of 1st quarter: Texas 17-7 Texas Tech

2nd Quarter:

Texas Tech scored first in the second quarter with a nice run after the catch from KeSean Carter, and then pulled off one of the best special teams plays in recent Red Raider history with an onside kick executed perfectly by Trey Wolff. That gave the Red Raiders a ton of momentum... until Alan Bowman underthrew a deep ball and it got intercepted by Chris Brown. Another long Texas drive would result in a Roschon Johnson touchdown, pushing the lead back up to ten points. Bowman and the offense would respond to the pick with a very methodical 11 play, 75 yard drive, capped by a free play touchdown from Bowman to Erik Ezukanma. Tech would force a three and out on the ensuing Longhorn possession, and the punt from Ryan Bujcevski was blocked by Jacob Morgenstern, setting up the Red Raiders in the red zone to start the next drive. Unfortunately, history repeated itself. For the second time in the quarter Bowman threw a bad pick to start a drive in good field position, only this time the pick was nearly returned for six points by Chris Adimora. A clutch tackle by lineman Josh Burger saved a touchdown, but Ehlinger would throw his second touchdown of the day to Brenden Schooler. That would essentially mark the end of the half, as Tech ran out the clock on the ensuing possession.

End of 1st Half: Texas 31-21 Texas Tech

3rd Quarter:

The Red Raiders opened with a three and out after a bad drop by Erik Ezukanma, but a muffed punt by Longhorn returner D’Shawn Jamison led to a scoop and score from Xavier Martin. The teams traded punts on their next two possessions, but Texas got in on the special teams chaos and blocked Austin McNamara’s punt into the endzone, where they recovered it for an easy touchdown. Tech would try to respond on the following possession, however their 12 play drive resulted in zero points after a missed field goal by Trey Wolf. Another defensive stop put Tech back in business, and they took advantage with Bowman throwing his fourth touchdown of the day to T.J. Vasher, who made multiple guys miss on his way to the end zone. The next UT possession ended in a beautiful interception by Alex Hogan, and SaRodorick Thompson capitalized on the short field with a ten yard touchdown to give Tech the lead at the end of the quarter.

End of 3rd Quarter: Texas 38-42 Texas Tech

4th Quarter:

Texas got the ball back at the start of the quarter and sustained a long drive, but it stalled out in the redzone, which led to a field goal to put them back within one point. The next two possessions featured a three and out by both squads, before Tech put together yet another long drive, this one capped by a phenomenal touchdown grab from Vasher. Ehlinger was sacked twice in a row on the next UT possession, and Tech got the ball back with about four minutes left in the game after a 59 yard punt. SaRodorick Thompson took the first carry of the drive for three yards, but his second one was a sensational 75 yard highlight reel touchdown. The score put Tech up 56-41 with only 3:13 left in the game. Unfortunately, the rest of the game was a complete meltdown.

Tech tried a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, but it only traveled around 25 yards, giving Ehlinger great field position. It took UT only four plays and 34 seconds to go 59 yards for the score. Still, they had only 2:40 left and one timeout. All Tech needed to do was recover an onside kick and the game would basically be over. Except they did not. The ball went right through Zech McPhearson’s hands. Ehlinger and the Longhorn offense promptly took the ball another 42 yards in only two minutes, with Joshua Moore catching his second touchdown and Brennan Eagles catching a slant to convert a two point conversion to tie the game. Tech would have one last possession, but an out of bounds catch from TJ Vasher was yet another close call that did not go their way, and Wells decided to play it safe and punt to complete regulation.

End of Regulation: Texas 56-56 Texas Tech


The Red Raiders won the toss and elected to defend, which goes along with conventional wisdom in college overtime. Texas wasted no time in scoring, though, as Ehlinger hit Moore for his third touchdown of the game on yet another slant pattern. Tech’s possession went absolutely nowhere, as Thompson nearly fumbled before Bowman ended the game with a 4th down desperation heave that got picked off.

Final Score:

Texas 63

Texas Tech 56

Next game: Texas Tech (1-1) at Kansas State (1-1)

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