LUBBOCK — There were 190 snaps taken in Texas’ 45-37 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. Here are five that ended up making a big difference:
1. A 14-point swing
Texas trailed 16-14 midway through the second quarter when, thanks to a 15-yard chop block penalty on Kent Perkins and Zach Shackelford and a pair of Shane Buechele incompletions, it faced a third-and-goal play from Texas Tech’s 24-yard line. After a Texas time out, D’Onta Foreman took a handoff and burst through an opening, picking up a gang of both tacklers and blockers inside the 10 and dragging them toward the goal line. Just before he crossed the plane of the end zone, however, the ball became dislodged and Red Raiders defensive back Douglas Coleman ended up with it. Buechele missed a tackle on the front end of a 100-yard fumble-return touchdown.
The strip-and-score was reviewed and upheld, and what would have been a 21-16 Longhorns lead ended up a 23-14 Red Raiders advantage with 7:50 left in the half. It was the second straight week that Coleman made a big defensive play; he intercepted a TCU pass in the end zone in the double-overtime win in Fort Worth.
2. Johnson’s toe-tap touchdown
The Longhorns bounced back from the big fumble-return touchdown, thanks to the defense, which held the Red Raiders’ offense scoreless in the second quarter. The offense also did its part. With 3:01 left in the half, Texas closed to within 23-21 on Buechele’s 9-yard touchdown connection to fellow freshman Collin Johnson, who ran a corner route on Tech defensive back Justis Nelson. Johnson, who earlier in the game had hauled in a 16-yard scoring catch that was the first of his UT career, got his left foot down in the end zone before tumbling out of bounds. Texas Tech was unable to respond, and Texas kicked a 29-yard field goal just before halftime for the 24-23 lead.
3. 300 for Foreman
Foreman’s fumble may have cost him a touchdown, but he still booked three trips to the end zone on Saturday. The third touchdown, a 74-yarder with 14:49 left in the game, was the third-longest play of the season for Texas and the longest run from scrimmage. Foreman lost a shoe on the way to the end zone, but that didn’t stop him from entering the Texas record books; the 74-yard run put him at 311 yards for the day, the fourth 300-yard rushing performance in UT history. The run put Texas up, 45-30.
3 TDs for D'Onta. 74-yard score and add his 2016 performance against Tech to that list of 300-yard rushers at Texas. He's at 311 yards… pic.twitter.com/oOeaXLtBlQ
— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) November 5, 2016
Foreman finished his day with 341 yards on 33 carries. Ricky Williams set the school record of 350 rushing yards in a 1998 game against Iowa State.
4. The 18-Wheeler falls flat — twice
Nursing an eight -point lead in the waning minutes, Texas, needing one yard to make a first down and run more time off the clock, played keep-away from Foreman on back-to-back short-yardage plays, first on third-and-2 from Tech’s 27 and then on fourth-and-1 from the 26. Texas called for two runs from Tyrone Swoopes out of the 18-Wheeler package, with Foreman on the sideline. Swoopes had scored from four yards out earlier in the game, but was unable to pick up the first down. That led the Red Raiders, needing a touchdown and successful two-point conversion to force overtime, back in the game with 2:11 left to play.
After the game, Texas coach Charlie Strong defended offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s play-calling. He said trying a game-icing 43-yard field goal from Trent Domingue was never an option. Strong said he told his offense that “we have two downs to get the first down.” And he didn’t fret about the fourth-and-1 stop either.
“I kind of wanted the game to fall in the defense’s hands there at the end,” Strong said. “It’s a confidence builder for them to go out and make a stop.”
5. A KO for Kris
Following that gift from the Texas offense, Tech — one of the nation’s top offenses — marched down the field in an attempt to tie the game. After Dylan Cantrell’s touchdown catch was ruled out of bounds and another pass was nearly intercepted by safety P.J. Locke III, the Red Raiders faced a third-and-10 at Texas’ 20 with less than 20 seconds left. Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II looked for Cameron Batson, who had already caught two touchdowns, in the end zone. Sophomore cornerback Kris Boyd, however, leaped to snag his first career interception, sealing the win.
— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) November 5, 2016