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No. 7 Texas vs. Texas Tech final score: Longhorns blow out Red Raiders in 57-7 romp

The season’s goals are still on the line for the Longhorns as final regular-season in the Big 12 comes to a close.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas — The No. 7 Texas Longhorns are back at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and set to honor 23 seniors on Friday before facing off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the final Big 12 regular-season game for the Longhorns.

From the perspective of Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Big 12 Championship game scenarios are simple — if the Longhorns win, they’re in. A loss clouds the picture significantly and ends any hope of moving up far enough in the College Football Playoff rankings to make the program’s first appearance among the final four.

To the extent that there’s a rivalry in a series with a 54-18 advantage favoring the Horns, last year’s overtime win by the Red Raiders in Lubbock, head coach Joey McGuire’s post-game comments, and the preseason comments made by new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark exhorting Texas Tech to beat Texas in front of him certainly added some extra fuel to the final interconference matchup between the Longhorns and the Red Raiders.

Throw in the presence of Longhorn Nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 in refereel Kevin Mar and there’s no shortage of storylines at DKR on Friday night.

Pregame warmups

As Sarkisian anticipated during the week, junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy and sophomore right guard DJ Campbell were both dressed and participating in pregame warmups after leaving last week’s win over Iowa State in Ames with injuries.

Texas Tech will be without wide receiver Myles Price and star defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings, but safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, who left last year’s win over UCF with a groin injury, participated in warmups after McGuire called him a game-time decision earlier in the week.

First quarter

Texas won the toss and deferred to the second half, starting the game on defense. With a chance to stuff the kickoff return, the Longhorn instead missed a tackle in the crowd, forcing sophomore nickel back Austin Jordan to make an important stop to avoid a big gain.

Throwing a screen pass to a triple stack along the sideline, running back That Brook was stopped for a one-yard gain on a play that left senior cornerback Ryan Watts down on the opposing sideline for several minutes before walking to the locker room. An incomplete pass by Texas Tech quarterback Behren Morton put the Red Raiders in 3rd and 9 with another incompletion forcing a quick punt by the visitors.

Senior linebacker Jett Bush came close to blocking that punt, which ended in a modest nine-yard return by Worthy and the long snapper for Texas Tech down on the field.

Texas opened its first offensive drive with a glance route run-pass option completed to Worthy for a 11-yard gain and a run by freshman running back CJ Baxter stuffed at the line of scrimmage when the pulling left guard missed his block. So the Horns went back to Worthy, who found a big hole in the Red Raiders zone defense for another 11 yards before redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers fit a pretty touch throw over a defender to connect with junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders on an 18-yard gain. Two runs by Baxter picked up a new set of downs in the red zone, but a false start on senior right tackle Christian Jones put the Horns behind the chains. On return motion, Texas senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington helped set the edge for senior running back Keilan Robinson on a screen pass for a 10-yard touchdown catch with junior wide receiver AD Mitchell pitching in with a nice block, too, for a 7-0 lead.

On the kickoff, freshman running back Tre Wisner helped stop the return before Texas stopped the first carry by Brooks for a one-yard gain and rallied for a tackle on a screen pass that resulted in freshman linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. drawing a personal-foul penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Texas Tech picked up another first down after a nine-yard run by, but Morton threw an interception on a jump ball stolen away by Texas freshman cornerback Malik Muhammad.

Ewers opened with a 15-yard completion to Mitchell and two throws to Whittington, the first a tunnel screen and then a glance route RPO, picking up 19 yards total. The drive temporarily lost momentum when Ewers missed a check down to Sanders under pressure before Baxter put the Horns into 3rd and 6 with a run up the middle. On a throw into a tight window intended for Worthy, the Red Raiders came away with the ball, as initially ruled on the field, but replay seemingly showed the ball hitting the ground before the Texas Tech player gained possession, ultimately confirmed by the officiating crew on review. Sarkisian sent the field-goal unit onto the field to allow junior kicker Bert Auburn to tie his career long from 50 yards, but sophomore offensive lineman Cole Hutson was called for a false start to force a punt downed at the 12-yard line.

Brooks bulled his way through the pile for five tough yards on first down and broke more tackles on second down to move the chains. Morton nearly completed a long pass downfield intended for Drae McCray, but the ball went through his hands, eventually setting up a 3rd and 7 that produced a sack by Bush.

On a double move, Mitchell came wide open down the field, but Ewers was under pressure and settled for a 23-yard completion to Sanders. Trying to hit a trick play from the 20-yard line, Worthy took a lateral and threw it short and into coverage for a near interception. Sophomore running back Jaydon Blue took the second-down carry up the middle for four yards, but the third-down pass by Ewers intended for Whittington. Auburn connected from 34 yards, marking his 15th consecutive made field goal to tie the school record.

Mc Cray nearly made up for his dropped pass with a 55-yard kickoff return before he was forced out of bounds by sophomore kickoff specialist Will Stone. Brooks continued to look dangerous breaking tackles on a 25-yard gain to start the drive and a pass-interference penalty on senior safety Kitan Crawford in the end zone gave the Red Raiders a fresh set of downs and the ball at the 2-yard line. Morton converted on the next play, taking a zone read into the corner of the end zone to cut the lead to 10-7.

Second quarter

On 2nd and 5 from the Texas 31-yard line to start the second quarter, Blue broke into the open field from a two-back set and burned past the Texas Tech defense for a 69-yard touchdown run to return momentum to the home team’s favor. The longest run of the season for the Longhorns pushed the lead back to 10 points, 17-7.

A questionable spot gave Texas Tech a first down on a 3rd and 2 completion before Morton scrambled for 14 yards against man coverage. A one-yard completion and an illegal snap put the Red Raiders behind the chains. Senior defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat batted down the pass on second down for a 3rd and 14 with Hill coming free on a blitz to sack Morton. On the punt-block unit, special teams coordinator Jeff Banks dialed up pressure and sophomore safety Michael Taaffe took it off the foot of the punter, recovering the blocked kick at the Texas Tech 20-yard line.

After the Red Raiders called a timeout, Worthy was open by the pylon, stepping out before finding the end zone for a huge incompletion followed by a false start. The next play went poorly, too, as Sanders was down on the field after getting pushed into a collision as Ewers was sacked for a two-yard loss. Texas settled for a screen pass on third down that resulted in Worthy getting clipped from behind trying to block and hobbling off the field. To set the school record for most consecutive made field goals by hitting from 37 yards for a 20-7 lead.

In a shocking development, senior defensive tackle Alfred Collins was held and actually drew a flag before Sweat and senior linebacker Jaylan Ford combined for a tackle for loss. Morton threw the ball away on second down under pressure and Texas Tech settled for a punt with a conservative third-down run. On the punt, Worthy a back out to receive it, making a fair catch.

Needing to show some killer instinct offensively, Texas started well with a 10-yard gain by Whittington on a catch down the sideline, a 13-yard run and a four-yard run by Baxter by Baxter, then a screen pass to Whittington that produced 12 yards on a cut across the field. But the Longhorns came up short in the red zone once again when Ewers left an intended jump ball for Mitchell well short and it was intercepted in the end zone, leaving Texas 3-of-4 in the red zone for 13 points.

Texas Tech picked up a 13-yard completion on its first play, but Texas sophomore cornerback Terrance Brooks seemingly came up with his third interception of the season on the drive’s third play, a ruling on the field that stood on review.

Running up the middle, Baxter gained six yards on first down and five yards on second down to move the chains before Mitchell moved into the red zone with a 20-yard catch on a glance route RPO. A check down to Helm produced four yards before Ewers dropped the ball at the mesh point on second down, but came up with the recovery for a two-yard loss. After Ewers threw the ball away on third down, Texas settled for yet another field goal and a 23-7 lead.

Brooks picked up a first down with two runs before the Red Raiders ended up in an important 3rd and 5 with 1:12 remaining in the half, a play the Longhorns delayed with a timeout. Texas stopped the completion two yards short of the chains, but Texas Tech stayed on the field, throwing short of the chains again with Hill coming up with the stop and turning the ball over on downs.

The Longhorns went for a shot play down the sideline to Worthy that fell incomplete, but Blue picked up an important gain to move into the edge of field-goal range with an 11-yard run and an eight-yard gain to the 26-yard line as Sarkisian called his second timeout with 11 seconds remaining. Ewers nearly took a sack and had to scramble to throw the ball away with two seconds left, sending Auburn on the field again to connect from 44 yards after Sarkisian called his third timeout. Texas headed into the halftime with a 26-7 and plenty of missed opportunities to think about, as well as the health of Worthy.

Third quarter

With the offense struggling to put Texas Tech away, the special teams opted for its own turn in the spotlight as Robinson took the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards for a touchdown, the first kickoff return touchdown of the Sarkisian era in Austin that extended the lead to 33-7.

Continuing the strong special teams play, the Longhorns limited the return to 17 yards, stopped Brooks on first down, then forced two incompletions for a three and out with junior cornerback Gavin Holmes breaking up the second-down pass and providing strong coverage on third down.

Looking to pass on 3rd and 4, Ewers took a sack to send the offense off the field one play after Baxter was banged up on a short run. On the punt, senior Ryan Sanborn was run into by two Texas Tech players, but the officiating crew drew Sarkisian’s ire by calling a five-yard penalty instead of a 15-yard penalty, forcing the punt to stand.

The Red Raiders went three and out for a second straight drive, failing to gain a yard and giving the Longhorns the ball at the Texas Tech 42-yard line after a 33-yard punt. Blue picked up 12 yards on first down before a more modest gain on his next effort. On a 17-yard gain up the middle, Blue’s run was negated by a holding penalty on Jones and Ewers took a coverage sack looking for a play downfield. With sophomore running back Savion Red wide open in the flat on third and long, the pass by Ewers was batted down. Auburn remained red hot on field-goal attempts in connecting from 54 yards, his career long by four yards, to extend the lead to 36-7.

After some indecision, Texas Tech elected to punt on a 4th and 3 from 32-yard line, instead calling an end around pass on a successful punt fake negated by two penalties on the Red Raiders.

A screen pass to Worthy and a check down to Blue moved the chains twice for the Longhorns with a chance to put the game away, which Worthy did on a 19-yard catch and run for a touchdown and a 42-7 margin.

Ford missed an opportunity for an interception and along return by jumping a pass from Morton, but the ball went through his hands, allowing Texas Tech to extend the drive for several more plays until a pass went off the foot of Brooks and caromed to Bush, who returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.

With the game out of hand, freshman quarterback Arch Manning made his first appearance for the Longhorns, scrambling for five yards and a first down on his first drop back.

Fourth quarter

Another scramble by Manning showcased his wheels before he finally attempted his first two passes, both bullets that didn’t connect with his intended targets, including a pass for freshman wide receiver Johnny Cook on fourth down in the red zone.

Manning eventually completed his first collegiate pass to Cook for 17 yards.

Texas closed out the game on offense with a 13-play, 91-yard drive that featured a 13-yard completion from Manning to junior wide receiver Casey Cain on a 4th and 5 before Wisner put an exclamation point on the win with a 10-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left on the clock for the final margin of 57-7.