I couldn't help but think watching this game that as angry as I was, I knew how the other team's fans felt. In 1990, when we beat David Klingler and U of H, I was a senior at UT. That game was pure euphoria. The #3 team in the nation with a Heisman hopeful at QB came into our place and got smacked in the mouth on national TV. Now, there are certainly differences here. Back then we weren't nearly as good as Tech is now and a 21-point underdog.
That said, I laid in bed last light very upset over how we could have won this game. Given PB's post on the five stat lines that said it all, we were overcoming our first quarter/half performance all night long. I would point out however, that the second half was ours and we were winning with roughly a minute and a half to go.
I know that some of these may be hypercritical (and please feel free to point out where you think so) but here are things that could have won the game:
1) I feel a little "dirty" and embarassed blaming the officials but apparently holding is no longer a penalty in the town limits of Lubbock. I'm not saying simply that we weren't and they were but there was a LOT more holding going on on every single play. On the final drive, Melton got tackled for God's sake. On the play were Orakpo got hurt the OT had his arm around him from behind.
Now that I have that off my chest, I will come out and openly recall that in the Mike Leach era we've been the beneficiaries of awful officiating that ultimately won us the game. Turnabout is fair play. You can't always have it your way although I don't recall there ever being this much on the line.
2) Blake Gideon. Damn you. I really love how far this kid has come this year and perhaps next year the duo of Earl Thomas and Gideon forms one of the best safety tandems in the nation...but last night he dropped the pick that would have sealed the game.
3) We left them too much time. OK, I understand that you don't give up points when they're there but do you think that Mike Leach's defense on the final TD was inviting us to score so they could get the ball? We were moving the ball at will. Could they have been a little more deliberate in milking the clock against a team that had already burned two time outs? Could Colt NOT have run out of bounds on his run to the left in the red zone? By rights, Tech still should have run out of time due to Leach's awful clock management. If Crabtree struggles with the defenders for a second or two inside the five yard line...they run out of time.
4) Curtis Brown (sigh). Now you know why this guy wasn't good enough to start over Chykie. On the winning play, I can't blame him for the coverage. After all, it is Michael Crabtree. What I do blame him for his tackling effort. You've gotta do better than that in crunch time. This doesn't excuse him for his abysmal play in the previous three quarters but let's agree that Muschamp figured out how to keep us in the game.
Those are the obvious things in the fourth quarter. Disagree if you will (or not). I could go on about things in the previous three quarters but let's be honest, we were in position to win late...so I chose to focus on the things we could have done differently at the end of the game.
A question: Does any team have a more thought out play for the end of game lateral-kickoff-return than what we showed last night? Just asking.