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Texas-Texas Tech: History Not On Side Of The 'Horns

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The 'Horns have dominated the Red Raiders over the course of the rivalry, but things have been pretty even recently in Lubbock.

Ezra Shaw

With an all-time record of 46-15, the Texas Longhorns have had their way with the Texas Tech Red Raiders over the years, and such a record is befitting of the statuses of the two programs, the result of a lot of strong Texas teams over the years and relatively few strong Tech squads.

In fact, Texas hasn't lost to Tech at home in the Mack Brown era, with the last loss coming in 1997, the final year of the John Mackovic era.

However, it's been a different story on the road. Brown lost his first game against the Red Raiders in Lubbock when the ranked 'Horns fell to the unranked Raiders in 2000.

Since then, the Longhorns have lost every other trip to the South Plains except for 2006, with the 2008 game potentially resetting the streak. Actually, the streak goes all the way back to 1994.

For Mack Brown, strange things happen in Lubbock in November, too, with the only victory during that month against the Red Raiders on their home field coming in 2000, with losses in the other three contests.

Here's a look at that stretch.

Texas Tech 33, Texas 9 -- October 29, 1994

Ranked all season -- and ascending as high as no. 12 before losing to Rice in early October -- the Longhorns entered Lubbock with a 5-2 record against a 4-3 Tech team. The Red Raiders got out to a 21-0 lead prior to halftime and Texas never recovered, managing only a field goal and a late touchdown pass.

By modern standards, the passing game was prehistoric, with the Longhorns averaging only 4.8 yards per attempt under James Brown. The run game was even worse, with 41 attempts going for only 63 yards as the two primary Texas ballcarriers were both held under two yards per carry.

Texas Tech quarterback Zebbie Lethridge threw for three touchdown passes to open up that lead. Not only did Lethridge have an awesome first name, but he also got popped for accepting free or reduced legal services from a Texas Tech regent after racking up four misdemeanor charges.

Texas Tech 42, Texas 35 -- November 14, 1998

The first trip to Lubbock was not a positive one for Mack Brown and his Texas team, which entered the game ranked 18th in the country and sitting at 7-2, requiring a major recovery from the 1-2 start to begin the season.

The Red Raiders controlled the football, running 97 plays to only 59 for the Longhorns, and put the game away late with a short touchdown run to achieve the final margin with less than 30 seconds on the clock. It was a drive that covered more than 80 yards in just more than a minute and a half.

In what had to have been one of the worst performances of his career, quarterback Major Applewhite went only 10 of 24 passing, was sacked twice, and threw two interceptions. Surely a day that he would rather forget.

Texas Tech 42, Texas 38 -- November 16, 2002

A loss to Oklahoma was the only blemish on the Texas schedule as they appeared headed for a BCS birth, heading to Lubbock ranked among the top three or four teams in the country, depending on the poll.

It was my first experience with how nightmarish things can get in Lubbock, as well as my first and only look at what Texas fans always talked about when they said they didn't trust Chris Simms. At the time, Texas Tech had never defeated a more highly-ranked opponent.

The Longhorns entered the game with the fifth-ranked defense in the country, but couldn't stop the potent combination of Kliff Kingsbury and Wes Walker, as the senior quarterback threw for 473 yards and six touchdowns, while Welker had 247 all-purpose yards and two touchdown catches.

The two teams were going back-and-forth in the fourth quarter, but Texas having to settle for a field goal early hurt the 'Horns and the Red Raiders scored the go-ahead touchdown with just less than six minutes left in the game and iced it when Simms threw an interception that was intended for BJ Johnson, who said he was bumped by a linebacker before getting out of his break.

The loss knocked the Longhorns out of contention for the Big 12 title and ended any outside hopes of sneaking into the national championship game. Instead, Texas had to settle for a Cotton Bowl appearance when Oklahoma unexpectedly lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game and stole the BCS bid Texas was set to receive.

Texas Tech 42, Texas 38 -- November 1, 2008

The Catch. The Drop.

Not much more needs to be said of the shootout that took place the day after Halloween on a spooky night in Lubbock.

Earl Thomas may have heard a whistle and stopped, while Curtis Brown took a poor angle on Crabtree, attempting to break up the pass, but never had a chance.

Blake Gideon had earlier dropped an interception that would have iced the game. In fact, it looked like he had caught it, sparking celebration between my friends and I before we saw the ball trickle out.

Quan Cosby missed the game and Texas his steady play, though Malcolm Williams flashed hard for what would be the first and only time in his career.

The loss didn't end national title hopes for the Longhorns, but it did cloud things significantly. Texas eventually ended up tied with Oklahoma and Tech for the South Division crown, but lost out because of a bogus tiebreaker. They still could have had a chance to play for the title had various coaches not ranked Texas criminally low in the final poll.

The game also replaced the 2002 contest as the biggest win in the history of the Tech program.


At times, Lubbock has been a house of horrors for Texas, with the 2002 and 2008 losses standing as some of the more monumental defeats in recent program history in terms of altering the outcome of the season in question. In each of the other defeats under Brown, Texas came into the game with a national ranking, only to lose.

With things going much more poorly in Austin than a 6-2 record might suggest, Tommy Tuberville and his crew can't rob the Longhorns of any high aspirations this year, even though wide receiver Mike Davis believes the 'Horns still have a shot at the BCS.

But another November defeat that would once again start the cycle of a loss every other trip to the South Plains is a key point in the narrative of the two programs, further cementing Lubbock's status as a dangerous place to play.