Daily Texan Staff
Trailing the Texas Longhorns 14-0 early in the second quarter, Texas Tech, desperately trying to get back into the game, tried a trick play but the end result summed up the entire evening for the Red Raiders.
Tech ran a fake field goal with place-kicker Tony Rogers carrying the football. Instead of gaining a momentum turning first down in Texas territory, Rogers received a concussion courtesy of Longhorn defensive end Tony Brackens.
"They told me [Brackens] kind of bowled over the kicker and I just saw the end result and that kicker was face down and he wasn't moving," Texas linebacker Robert Reed said. "Poor kid," he added.
Texas head coach John Mackovic obviously was pleased by his Longhorns' decimation of Texas Tech.
"I couldn't have written the script any better," Mackovic said.
The Texas defense showed up ready to play Saturday night and turned in the best performance that side of the ball has seen in the Mackovic era.
"Our defensive coaches had a great, great game plan and our players understood it," Mackovic said. "We worked on it and talked about what we had to do and we came out and played our best game defensively in a long time."
The Texas defense had Tech quarterback Zebbie Lethridge on the run and on his back most of the game. The Horns sacked Lethridge six times and hurried him throughout the game forcing him into a less than stellar 12-of-23, 123-yard performance. Lethridge also threw his first two interceptions of 1995.
"I don't know if we totally got off or if they just stunk it up or whatever," Reed said. "But the end result is that we blew them out and I'll take it anyway it comes."
In addition to the six sacks, the Horns recorded 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, forced three fumbles, recovered two of them and intercepted two Lethridge passes.
Free safety Chris Carter's first-quarter interception broke Lethridge's Southwest Conference record for consecutive passes without a pick on his 212th attempt. The streak spanned 31 quarters.
"They dominated our offense early in the game and we made some mistakes that we hadn't made all year," Lethridge said.
The second half wasn't much better for the Raiders. If a 28-0 halftime deficit didn't dampen Tech's spirits, the second play of the third quarter dashed all hopes for a third-straight triumph over the Longhorns.
Backup running back Rod Hobbs took the handoff from Lethridge and gained six yards but had the ball stripped by Brackens. It was picked up by safety Robert Crenshaw and returned 33 yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 Texas lead.
"We had turnovers, sacks, everything," Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook said. "We just put the whole thing together. We stopped the run. We stopped the pass. We just did everything."
The Longhorns barely missed their first shutout since Nov. 16, 1991 when they blanked Texas Christian 32-0.
"They score one measly touchdown, if they want it, they can take it," Reed said. "We beat them soundly."
Westbrook tallied his first interception of the season and had high praise for his team following the game.
"I think this week we finally put it all together," Westbrook said. "I think we're going to continue this and like I said, Texas is back on the map but we gotta keep them there."
* If coaching doesn't ultimately work out for Mackovic maybe fortune telling might.
"I talked to Coach Mackovic early in the week and he told me he had a 40-point gameplan and that if we just contained Zebbie Lethridge we'd have a chance to shut them out," Texas defensive tackle Stonie Clark said. "But I didn't really believe him."
* The 41-point margin of victory is the largest over a top-25 team in Texas football history.
* Texas wideout Mike Adams moved past Tony Jones into first place on the all-time receiving yardage list with 1,899 yards.
* Shon Mitchell's 105 rushing yards and Ricky Williams' 113 rushing yards marked the 18th time in Texas history that a pair of Longhorn running backs topped the century mark. The last time it happened was last year's game against TCU when Rod Walker and Priest Holmes both went over the 100-yard mark.
* Texas quarterback James Brown is now 10-1-1 as a starter and has thrown a TD pass in 10 straight games.
* Crenshaw became the first Horn to return a fumble for a TD since Anthony Curl returned one for 13 yards against Tech in 1992.
* With his second straight 100-yard game Williams now has 539 yards rushing in 1995, fifth-best by a Texas freshman. Earl Campbell owns the record of 928 yards.
Texas fans have heard it all year long.
If the Longhorns played as well as they were capable, scary things would happen, the players and coaches said.
The talent was there, the confidence was there. It was just a matter of putting it all together.
On Saturday night, those same Texas fans finally saw it.
In the most complete performance by a Texas team in John Mackovic's four-year tenure as head coach, the 13th-ranked Longhorns played a near-perfect game and dominated in every phase for four quarters against No. 23 Texas Tech.
The Longhorns avenged embarrassing losses to the Red Raiders the last two years in grand fashion, winning 48-7 in front of a sold-out Memorial Stadium crowd of 77,809 and before a national television audience.
And in the process, the Longhorns satisfied many Orangebloods -- not to mention themselves -- who have come to expect this kind of performance every week.
"It was a very enjoyable ending for us," Mackovic said Sunday. "Our team played well, we were really excited how we were able to get in the game and do so well. I don't know if we thought the game would go our way as easily as it did, but it seemed like every thing fell into place."
The Horns, who improved to 6-1-1 (3-0 in Southwest Conference), moved up to No. 8 in the USA Today/CNN Top 25 football poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press poll.
"Last night was a fiasco," Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes said Sunday. "Coach Mackovic had his team ready to play a lot better than I had my team. And I think that was obvious from the onset.
"They played with a lot of confidence and tremendous effort football. ... It was just a good ol' tail kickin'. And those things, as much as you hate to admit it, those just happen sometimes."
The Horns' defense continued its recent trend of attacking the line and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In all, Texas recorded six sacks, and for the first time in 17 career starts, Tech quarterback Zebbie Lethridge (12-of-23, 123 yards, two interceptions) did not run or pass for a touchdown.
"To win this football game, we felt like we really had to control Zebbie," Texas defensive coordinator Gary Darnell said. "And that's not meaning the other guys weren't good players. But if they can't get the ball, that negates them. We put a lot of emphasis on trying to keep Zebbie contained and that's exactly what we did."
Already ahead 48-0 at the end of the third quarter, the only thing in question was whether the Horns would keep the shutout intact. Oh well, not everything was perfect.
"It was a collaboration of things," said Texas free safety Chris Carter, who ended Lethridge's streak of 211 consecutive passes without an interception when he recorded his second pick of the year in the first quarter.
"The team worked well together, secondary played good coverage and the defensive front rushed well," Carter said. "Everything just worked well. We tried to come in and take away their keys and we did that for the most part. We ran the tempo of the game."
Texas ran the tempo of the game not only on defense but on offense as well, forcing the Raiders (5-3, 2-2 in SWC) to abandon their heavy blitz package early in the contest.
Tailback Shon Mitchell ran for three touchdowns (32-, 6- and 36-yard runs) and finished with 105 yards on just 11 carries. His backfield mate, fullback Ricky Williams, led the Horns' rushing attack with 113 yards on 15 carries. As a whole, the Horns piled up 479 yards of offense, including 305 yards on the ground.
Of the Horns' six touchdowns, four came on drives of under two minutes -- 30 seconds, 1:27, 1:52 and eight seconds.
"It felt good to win like that because we did dominate for four quarters," Texas offensive guard Dan Neil said. "Everything seemed to be working. Last year, that's what they did to us. They dominated for four quarters and it was our turn to get them back and we were able to."
Quarterback James Brown was effective when he threw the ball for the Horns, finding Justin McLemore (15-yard pass) and Steve Bradley (2-yarder) in the end zone for first-half TD strikes. Brown ended the day 10-of-23 for 174 yards and no interceptions.
"It was a great game plan by the coaches, they worked on it and we had two weeks to prepare for this football game," Texas receiver Mike Adams said. "We knew exactly what they were going to try to do.
"It was a challenge for us this year. Last year, we didn't play so well. And we really wanted to stop [Tech defenders] Marcus Coleman and Zach Thomas, and I think we did a good job."
Adams (two catches, 69 yards) became the all-time leading receiving yardage leader in Texas history with 1,899 yards, surpassing Tony Jones' record of 1,842.
"This is a great boost for our team," Mackovic said. "Last week's victory over Virginia was a boost for our team, and I think tonight's victory was another boost for our team. We played with a lot of confidence and we played like we believed in ourselves, believed in our team and believed in the things that we needed to do and could do in a game."
Tech running back Byron Hanspard led the Raiders with 109 yards on 24 carries, but he left the game in the fourth quarter after he was hit on the shin by a helmet of a Horn defender.
Texas place-kicker Phil Dawson booted two field goals, a career-long 52-yarder and one from 32 yards out.
Said Neil: "A lot of teams can be good once every six, seven weeks. The great teams do it every week, and that's something we'd like to put together the next four games and play like that every week."
Texas travels to the Astrodome Saturday night for a game against the Houston Cougars.
* Mitchell injured his left achilles tendon on his last TD run Saturday and is questionable for this week's game. ... Cornerback Taje Allen suffered a mild separation of his right shoulder and is also questionable for this week. ... Safety and special teams player Brian Howard (broken finger) and wideout Quinton Wallace (hamstring) are questionable to doubtful.
Texas Tech 0 0 0 7 -- 7 Texas 14 14 20 0 -- 48 Tex--Mitchell 32 run (Dawson kick) Tex--Mclemore 15 pass from J Brown (Dawson kick) Tex--Mitchell 6 run (Dawson kick) Tex--S Bradley 2 pass from J Brown (Dawson kick) Tex--Crenshaw 33 fumble return (Dawson kick) Tex--FG Dawson 52 Tex--Mitchell 36 run (Dawson kick) Tex--FG Dawson 32 TTu--Fiebiger 2 pass from Cavazos (Rogers kick) A--77809. Texas Tech Texas First downs 19 24 Rushes-yards 45-127 46-305 Passing 197 174 Return Yards 5 49 Comp-Att-Int 16-31-2 10-23-0 Sacked-yards lost 6-52 0-0 Punts 5-41.8 4-35.3 Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-1 Penalties-Yards 7-50 5-46 Time of Possession 30:31 29:29 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING Texas Tech - Hanspard 24-109, Hobbs 5-28, Walker 1-15, Rogers 1-8, Ervin 1-3, Team 1-minus 10, Lethridge 12-minus 26. Texas - Williams 15-113, Mitchell 11-105, Brown 6-34, Mcgarity 2-25, Clayton 6-15, Wilson 4-13, Walton 1-2, Summer 1-minus 2. PASSING Texas Tech - Lethridge 12-23-2-123, Cavazos 4-8-0-74. Texas - Brown 10-23-0-174. RECEIVING Texas Tech - Mitchell 3-78, Scovell 3-51, Hanspard 3-13, Hart 2-27, Walker 2-3, Dubuc 1-17, Mckenzie 1-6, Fiebiger 1-2. Texas - Mclemore 3-50, Mitchell 3-34, Adams 2-69, Williams 1-19, Bradley 1-2.