Defense gets big road win for No. 7 Longhorns
Although Mack Brown and No. 7 Texas have work ahead offensively, there were no complaints about the defense after its big road win over Texas Tech.
The Longhorns handcuffed Tech's usually potent offense, getting three-and-outs or a turnover on nine of the Red Raiders' 15 possessions in the 24-14 win Saturday night. Texas Tech was held to 144 total yards, it's lowest output in 20 years.
''Tonight they looked really good,'' Brown said afterward. ''Tonight we were pretty dominating. I thought the defense staff did a tremendous job, played a lot of guys, keeping guys fresh.''
On Sunday, the Longhorns (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) had the nation's top rushing defense, allowing just 44 yards per game, and were second in the country in total defense (206 per game).
The secondary got three interceptions, using first-half blitzes to throw the Red Raiders offense off-tempo, and Texas' defense controlled the line of scrimmage the whole game. They sacked Red Raiders quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield four times (Eddie Jones had two and Kheest Randall and Alex Okafor had one each).
Texas Tech, which finished with minus-14 rushing yards, got just one offensive touchdown and put no points on the scoreboard in the second half.
''Getting pressure with just the front four is critical,'' Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said. ''I felt we had a great plan and great execution.''
The win avenged the Longhorn's 2008 loss in Lubbock that ended on a final-second touchdown pass to Red Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree. The 39-33 defeat cost the Longhorns a shot to play for the national title.
Brown, now 4-3 in Lubbock, and the Horns knew playing in West Texas was going to difficult.
''The happiest time in a player, in a coach or a head coach's life is when you whip somebody, a rival, in a tough place on the road, in a tough game, and you can be in the dressing room and get on the plane together understanding that you did something not many people get to do,'' Brown said.
A record Red Raiders crowd of 60,545 crowd was distressed by an anemic offense, especially after a decade watching Mike Leach's teams. It was their worst yardage total since 1990, when they had 93 yards against Miami and a defense coached by Texas Tech boss Tommy Tuberville.
Probably happiest among the Longhorns defenders were defensive backs Blake Gideon and Curtis Brown. In the loss two years ago, Gideon let a sure interception slip through his hands the play before Crabtree scored to give Texas Tech the win.
Curtis Brown, one of two defenders nearby when Crabtree made his winning catch, thought he would score when he intercepted Red Raiders quarterback Taylor Potts at the Texas 14 and headed up a wide open field.
''A monkey jumped on my back at the end, but it's all good,'' Brown said of Baron Batch, Texas Tech's speedster running back who caught and tackled him at the Red Raiders 12.
The game was Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert's first true road game (the Horns played before a mostly Texas crowd in their win at Rice to open the season) and it became an atypical night as the offense struggled at times.
Gilbert came into the game without a sack and the Red Raiders (2-1, 0-1) got to him four times. But he also threw three interceptions - also a first this year - with two of those coming off tips.
The Horns will look for improvement on offense as they prepare for a UCLA team that beat then-No. 23 Houston 31-13 Saturday night.
''We've got to go back, and I think that's a good thing that there's enough mistakes that we made ... and go to work and get ready to play,'' Brown said.
The last time the Bruins came to Austin, in 1997, they overwhelmed Texas 66-3.
''I thought they were going to beat the walls down before we got out,'' Brown said of his players' emotions before kickoff Saturday. ''I would have been really, really shocked if we had lost this game.''