It’s halftime in Lubbock.
And Texas (4-4, 1-3) is leading Texas Tech (4-4, 2-3), 24-23.
This has the looks of a back-and-forth afternoon with two offenses that are having few problems moving the ball. It’s going to be a long day for both defenses. We’re likely going to see some impressive offensive numbers for both sides. This game turned pretty much on one play that went Texas Tech’s way, but the Longhorns have fought back to take the 1-point lead at the break.
That big play:
Texas, trailing 16-14 in the second quarter, drove to within scoring range. Tyrone Swoopes, in for the 18-Wheeler package, shocked everyone by throwing a pop pass. Caleb Bluiett was wide open and waltzed into the end zone for a short touchdown catch. But Kent Perkins and Zach Shackelford were flagged for a chop block on the play, and it backed Texas up. Soon, the Longhorns faced a third-and-26, and Sterlin Gilbert called a brilliant draw play by D’Onta Foreman, who burst up the middle, made a nice move around the 15-yard line and then picked up a pack of Texas blockers and Tech defenders, who gang-piled him forward five yards toward the end zone, closer, closer, closer until … Douglas Coleman stripped him of the ball inches from the goal line, then returned it the length of the field for a 100-yard fumble-return touchdown.
The play was reviewed, but it was ruled that Foreman had not broken the plane of the end zone before the ball came out. So a 21-16 Texas lead became a 23-14 Texas Tech advantage.
That one play stands out in what has been a defensively-challenged matchup.
Shane Buechele and Patrick Mahomes II are having big days. As expected, both are picking apart the other side’s defense. Buechele began the day 7 of 7 for 107 yards, and at the break is 16 of 30 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Mahomes, the nation’s leading passer, is 17 of 24 for 192 yards and two scores.
Foreman had a big 55-yard run late in the first quarter, and it put him over the 100-yard mark for the day. It’s his 10th straight 100-yard game going back to 2015, and that’s one 100-yard game away from tying Earl Campbell’s school-record streak of 11 games, set back in Campbell’s Heisman Trophy season of 1977.
Foreman has 13 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown. Remember, Chris Warren III scorched Tech for 276 yards in 2015; Foreman is 147 yards off that mark.
Between them, Texas and Texas Tech have combined for 623 yards, 29 first downs, 47 points, and 89 plays. The Longhorns are outgaining the Red Raiders (390-233), outrushing the Red Raiders (191-41) and out-throwing the Red Raiders (199-192). Texas Tech, which had been converting nearly 60 percent of its third downs into first downs this season, is only 1 of 5 on third downs. Texas is 5 of 10.
Texas has yet to sack Mahomes.
Horns up: Buechele, D’Onta Foreman, Collin Johnson, Armanti Foreman, Kyle Porter, Jake Oliver, Sterlin Gilbert, Holton Hill, Malik Jefferson.
Horns down: Kent Perkins, Zach Shackelford, Jerrod Heard.
How they scored:
Texas Tech: Cameron Bratson 3-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes (Clayton Hatfield kick), 11:37
The drive: 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:23
The key play: On third-and-inches at the 8, Texas was flagged for offsides, turning a potential hold to a field goal into a first-and-goal at the 3.
Texas: D’Onta Foreman 4-yard run (Trent Domingue kick), 10:43
The drive: 4-69-:54
The key play: On Texas’ first play, Jake Oliver’s 52-yard catch and run down to Tech’s 20-yard line set it all up.
Texas Tech: Hatfield 42-yard field goal, 7:02
The drive: 9-51-3:41
The key play: On third-and-12, Malik Jefferson pressured Mahomes into a quick pass that went for 11 yards, thanks to P.J. Locke III’s tackle of Dylan Cantrell one yard short of the first down. Today, a field goal translates into a defensive victory.
Texas: Collin Johnson 16-yard pass from Shane Buechele (Domingue kick), 4:30
The drive: 9-75-2:32
The key play: Facing a third-and-6 at Tech’s 16-yard line, the Red Raiders called timeout. Did that give Sterlin Gilbert the time to call the touchdown play?
Texas Tech: Jonathan Giles 6-yard pass from Mahomes (kick blocked), 1:23
The drive: 8-87-3:07
The key play: The blocked extra point, perhaps. And it came from Poona Ford, who was shaken up for a bit on Tech’s second drive earlier.
Texas Tech: Douglas Coleman 100-yard fumble return (Hatfield kick)
The key play: Three plays before Coleman stripped D’Onta Foreman of the ball inches before the goal line, a Texas touchdown was wiped away when Kent Perkins and Zach Shackelford were called for a chop block on a play when Tyrone Swoopes found Caleb Bluiett for an easy scoring pass out of the 18-Wheeler set.
Texas: Johnson 9-yard pass from Buechele (Domingue kick), 3:01
The drive: 9-75-2:32
The key play: Kyle Porter, playing this drive in place of D’Onta Foreman, broke a 30-yard run down to Texas Tech’s 8-yard line. Porter had 51 yards on the drive.
Texas: Domingue 29-yard field goal, :26
The drive: 11-48-1:28
The key play: On third-and-10, Buechele found Jake Oliver for 14 yards over the middle, to Tech’s 29.
Linebacker Anthony Wheeler (family funeral) and right tackle Tristan Nickelson (head injury) both are out today. So is running back Chris Warren III, who’s missed several games with a knee injury.
Defensive tackle Poona Ford was shaken up after making a tackle on Texas Tech’s second drive, but he returned.
Texas will get the ball to start the second half.
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