No. 20 TCU 12, No. 24 Texas Tech 3
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)—Defensive end Tommy Blake and some of his TCU teammates got together two days before playing Texas Tech and watched the tape of the Red Raiders’ 10-touchdown assault against them two years ago.
The sequel was much better for the No. 20 Horned Frogs.
“We wanted to get it in our heads how embarrassed we felt,” Blake said. “We’re better than that.”
TCU got the ultimate revenge Saturday, holding No. 24 Texas Tech’s pass-happy offense without a touchdown in a 12-3 victory—two years after the Red Raiders won 70-35 in the last meeting between the former Southwest Conference rivals.
“We gave them too much. We wanted to pitch a shutout,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.”
Chris Manfredini kicked four field goals and TCU (3-0) won its 13th straight game. His longest kick was 34 yards, and the last was a 23-yarder with 4:19 left.
TCU’s winning streak is the longest in NCAA Division I-A, and one short of the school record. The record streak included the Frogs’ undefeated national championship in 1938, when quarterback Davey O’Brien won their only Heisman Trophy.
The only other time the Red Raiders (2-1) didn’t score a touchdown in Mike Leach’s 79 games over the last seven seasons was in a 56-3 loss to Nebraska in 2000, the coach’s first year. They scored less than 10 points only one other time, a 42-7 loss at Texas in 2001.
“I’ll be nice about that and politically correct like you’re supposed to,” Leach said. “But that was the sorriest offensive effort I’ve ever seen. Today, I coached the worst offense in America.”
Texas Tech had only 242 total yards, and its opening drives of both halves ended on failed fourth-down conversions. Quarterback Graham Harrell fumbled twice after being sacked and there was also a blocked punt.
Two years ago in Lubbock, the only other time the two teams have played since the SWC disbanded after the 1995 season, the Red Raiders overcame a 21-0 deficit and handed TCU its most-lopsided loss in Patterson’s six seasons.
Since that debacle, TCU has gone 4-0 against Big 12 teams. The Horned Frogs won at No. 7 Oklahoma in its 2005 opener, finished last season against Iowa State in the Houston Bowl and won at Baylor in this year’s opener.
“People have been underselling our kids for years. All everybody wants to talk about is the Big 12,” Patterson said. “I get tired of being treated like a stepchild in this state and in this town, and our kids do too. … I have a lot of respect for Mike Leach and his staff. Don’t get me wrong. The bottom line is, I’d like to get a little bit here at TCU.”
Jeff Ballard was 13-of-23 for only 101 yards but ran nine times for 66 yards, improving to 11-0 in his starts. Only Sammy Baugh (12) has won more consecutive starts at quarterback for TCU, but Ballard’s have come in his first 11 since taking over last season.
After Manfredini’s last field goal, the Red Raiders had one more chance— and Harrell had completions of 21 and 20 yards to move them to the Frogs 34 before he was sacked by Brian Bonner and fumbled on fourth down with 2:11 left.
TCU went ahead to stay after Manfredini’s second kick, a 33-yarder midway through the second quarter. That came seven plays after Chase Ortiz sacked Harrell and stripped the ball. Cody Moore recovered for the Horned Frogs.
The Horned Frogs were to the 15 on their opening drive after a 23-yard pass to Aaron Brown, but an illegal block penalty on the play drove it back to the 29. They had to settle for a 30-yard field goal.
Harrell completed passes of 21 and 33 yards to start the next drive and quickly get to the 15 before Tech stalled. Alex Trlica, whose wobbly field goal in overtime beat UTEP last week, kicked a 27-yard field goal.
Harrell, the fifth starting quarterback for Tech in five seasons—and the first underclassman in that span—was 23-of-47 for 204 yards. He completed 74 of 101 passes (73 percent) for 718 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two starts.
Without being specific, Leach said there would be some changes on offense. Harrell, a third-year sophomore, beat out redshirt freshman Chris Todd in a close preseason competition.
“I’m not going to sit here and watch this stuff,” Leach said.
Robert Henson’s blocked punt late in the third quarter set TCU up at the 38. Ballard converted a third-and-9 play with a 23-yard keeper, but overthrew an open Quentily Harmon in the end zone on another third down and Manfredini kicked a 34-yarder for a 9-3 lead.