On Saturday, Texas Tech football kicked off its conference schedule against No. 8 Texas at Jones AT&T Stadium.
After two touchdowns in the final three minutes of regulation, the Longhorns emerged victorious by a score of 63-56.
For the Red Raiders, they had a number of players return after being inactive against Houston Baptist. Those players include sophomore defensive lineman Tyree Wilson, sophomore running back Xavier White, senior linebacker Colin Schooler and sophomore defensive lineman Jaylon Hutchings. On the contrary, senior wide receiver McLane Mannix, senior defensive back DaMarcus Fields, senior offensive lineman Zach Adams, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Gilbert Ibeneme and junior defensive lineman Nelson Mbanasor were listed as inactive.
Out of the gate, the Longhorns charged down the field to score on their first drive of the game. Inside the red zone, the Red Raiders had an opportunity to stop the Longhorns on fourth down and short, but they jumped offsides giving Texas a fresh set of downs. The Longhorns did not take long to take advantage, scoring on a two-yard run from senior quarterback Sam Ehlingher to score.
In response, the Red Raiders scored on a six-play, 75-yard drive. Sophomore running back SaRodorick Thompson opened up for Tech on a 22-yard carry, which was the only running play of the drive for Tech.
Thompson was the workhorse on the ground for Tech all night, tallying 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Junior wide receiver KeSean Carter carried the brunt of the drive through the air, with three of the six plays on the drive going to him. Carter capped off the possession on a 13-yard catch from sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman to even the game at seven for the Red Raiders just halfway through the first quarter.
After a forced fourth down by the Red Raiders, Texas resorted to a field goal. They converted on the opportunity to put them up 10-7.
The Red Raider offense turned a bit stale after the opening drive. The six plays following their opening drive, Tech only gained five total yards, and were forced to punt twice.
Texas took advantage with another touchdown to put them up 17-7 heading into the second quarter.
On the Red Raiders’ first possession of the second quarter, Tech resorted to trickery on a double-pass play to try and catch the Texas secondary off guard. It essentially worked, as KeSean Carter got a step on the Longhorn defensive back, which tackled him prior to pass completion resulting in a penalty that put the Red Raiders right outside of the red zone. Carter was targeted once again, and took advantage of the opportunity on a 22-yard reception for his second touchdown of the game to put Tech down 17-14 against Texas.
On the kickoff, Kicker Trey Wolff recovered his own onside kick to give Tech another possession immediately following the scoring drive.
The possession was cut short as Bowman threw it into double coverage, and Texas intercepted the pass to regain possession.
Texas took advantage of the turnover as Ehlinger ran to the one-yard line after a 24-yard gain. Roschon Johnson capped off the drive and punched it in for a Longhorn touchdown to increase their lead 24-14.
Texas continuously got pressure on Bowman, but the sophomore quarterback’s quick releases made the Longhorns pay.
Bowman had 325 passing yards on the game (31-52) with 5 touchdowns and three interceptions.
As the Red Raiders drove down the field, an offside penalty on the Longhorns resulted in a free play for Tech. Bowman threw it up in the air for sophomore wide receiver Erik Ezukanma, who utilized his 6-foot-3 frame to catch it over Texas cornerback Jalen Green for a Tech touchdown. The 19-yard reception brought the game within three for Tech.
The ensuing possession, Tech forced a three-and-out on Texas, and then proceeded to block the punt. The Red Raiders gained possession on the opposing 15-yard line, but, for the second time in the game, Bowman threw an interception. Texas returned the pass for 71 yards to enter the opposing red zone.
The Longhorns converted on the turnover as Ehlinger threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Schooler. The Red Raiders couldn’t get anything going on the following drive, and the halftime buzzer sounded.
At the half, Texas (250) led the Red Raiders (180) in total yards. However, Tech’s 172 passing yards overshadowed the Longhorn’s 130.
The difference in the game after two quarters was Bowman’s two crucial interceptions, which Texas converted off of to score. Despite the turnovers, the Red Raiders will still only down 31-21 at half.
Right out of halftime, Tech was forced to punt on a three-and-out. However, the special teams came up big for the Red Raiders again, as junior defensive back Xavier Martin recovered a muffed punt in the endzone to cut the Texas lead 31-28.
The Red Raiders then gained momentum on a 12-play, 47-yard drive, but it was cut short after Tech ran the ball despite an eight-man stacked box in favor of Texas. Tech opted for a field goal on fourth down, but Wolff’s kick hooked right and missed.
After a pair of stops against Texas from the Red Raiders, Tech stomped down the field on a 67-yard drive to score. T.J. Vasher, after one reception all game leading up to the final minute of the third frame, caught two passes for 20-plus yards each, including a score to bring the score 38-35 in favor of Texas.
Tech's receiving core had a solid outing, notching 325 reception yards which made up over half of their 441 total yards. Ezukanma collected 91 receiving yards on seven catches with one touchdown, Carter had 77 receiving yards on seven catches with two touchdowns and Vasher had four catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Another defensive stand by the Red Raiders resulted in an interception by sophomore defensive back Alex Hogan. Following the interception, Thompson broke a 10-yard carry to the end zone to give Tech a 42-38 lead heading into the final frame.
On their second possession of the fourth quarter, the Longhorns got into the Red Raider 10-yard line and threatened to score. However, Wilson’s pressure on Texas’ quarterback led to a rushed pass, and senior defensive back Thomas Leggett broke up a pass on the goal line to force a Texas fourth down.
The Longhorn field goal unit then came on the field and converted to bring the score within one.
Three drives later, Texas Tech drove down the field on a six-play. 56-yard drive that ended in an 18-yard reception in the corner of the end zone. Tech gained its biggest lead of the game 49-41.
The Red Raider line came to life as the game went on, two sacks down the stretch crushed the Longhorns’ drives nearing the end of regulation.
On offense, SaRodorick Thompson broke free on a 75-yard run.
Texas responded with a quick touchdown. They then recovered their own onside kick.
They then scored on another possession to bring the game within two. They scored on the two-point conversation to tie the game at 56 apiece.
The Longhorns scored 15 points in the final three minutes of regulation behind Ehlinger, who threw for 262 yards (27-40). He also had five touchdowns and one interception.
Tech was unable to convert with the score winding down, and the game went to overtime.
The Red Raiders chose to defer, and started on defense in overtime.
Texas scored on the first possession of overtime on a short pass to Moore.
The Red Raiders then got a chance, and were unable to convert. This resulted in a Texas victory.
The final score was 63-56 in favor of the Longhorns, and both teams set scoring records against each other in the series.
The Red Raiders will turn their focus to Kansas State at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 3.