Archive for Sunday, September 26, 2004

Despite deficit, Tech kept faith

September 26, 2004


Texas Tech's football players didn't doubt they could rally from a 25-point deficit against Kansas University on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

"We're down 25, we feel like we're winning the game. It sounds crazy, but it's the way we feel," senior quarterback Sonny Cumbie said after the Raiders stormed back from a 30-5, second-quarter slump to shock the Jayhawks, 31-30.

Actually, the nation's No. 1-rated QB's comments didn't sound crazy at all, considering he had just directed Tech to greatest comeback in school history for the second straight week.

On Sept. 18, Tech overcame a 21-point deficit to deck TCU, 70-35. That, until Saturday, was the school's top comeback win.

"Second one in a row. I'm getting a little tired of that. If this keeps up, we'll need to come back from 30, 40," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "It's not like we have anyplace to be. It's not like we're going anywhere. We're here 60 minutes no matter what."

Leach's brain worked overtime Saturday. The former Oklahoma assistant concocted a masterful play during a late timeout that proved to be the game-winner.

On a third-and-six play, junior Taurean Henderson accepted a handoff -- yes, Leach called a running play on a day Cumbie completed 28 of 52 passes for 356 yards -- and raced 70 yards for a game-breaking TD with 2:37 to play. Alex Trlica's extra point provided the final margin of victory.

"Coach called the play. It caught us all by surprise," Cumbie said. "I did a little bit of a double-take. I was like, 'Are you sure about that?' No, what I really said was, 'Yes, sir.'''

During an earlier timeout, Leach called out each and every Red Raider. With 11:31 left in the first half, Leach called time when Tech started a series on the KU seven-yard line.

After huddling around their coach, Tech's defenders held the Jayhawks to a field goal.

"It's what Oprah does. We do it periodically," said Leach, who called a similar timeout against TCU with his team down, 21-0. "We've had a lot of little Oprah situations, discussions where we get in touch with our feelings."

Almost lost was the fact Tech's defense tossed a shutout at KU the final half.

"I haven't seen a better defensive performance," receiver Haverty gushed.

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