No. 7 TCU pulls away for 9-0 in 34-24 win over Texas Tech

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Texas Tech at TCU
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Max Duggan and the TCU Horned Frogs are learning to play with a perfect record that makes them playoff contenders.

That’s the view of first-year coach Sonny Dykes, who watched his team pass another test Saturday.

Derius Davis returned the first punt 82 yards for a touchdown, Kendre Miller ran for the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter and No. 7 TCU pulled away in a 34-24 victory over Texas Tech.

Davis caught one of Duggan’s two fourth-quarter TD passes as the Horned Frogs reached 9-0 for the first time since 2010, a 13-0 season that ended with a Rose Bowl victory and No. 2 national ranking.

The Big 12’s No. 1 offense in yards didn’t get its first touchdown until the fourth, and TCU has trailed in the second half of four of its six conference victories.

“Despite everybody in the program kind of doing everything we can do to preach the one-game-at-a-time thing, I think there are times our players start to see the enormity and gravity of things,” Dykes said. “It starts with us as a coaching staff and just making sure our guys feel free.”

The Red Raiders (4-5, 2-4) went ahead 17-13 in the third quarter on Tyler Shough‘s 33-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Sparkman, but ended up falling to 2-4 against ranked teams in coach Joey McGuire‘s first season.

“Frustrating game because we have the lead,” McGuire said. “Just got to make plays to win the game.”

The previous perfect run for TCU came in the Mountain West Conference and was before the College Football Playoff.

The nine-game winning streak is the longest since the Horned Frogs won 16 straight spanning the the 2014-15 seasons. In 2014, one-loss TCU had joined the Big 12, but was left out of the first four-team CFP.

“Our deal is let’s just try to figure out a way to win a game and then at the end of the year, we’ll sit down and see what we have to do,” Dykes said. “I think the way we’ve tried to approach this has served us well.”

Defensive standout Tyree Wilson made the first big play for Texas Tech with a fourth-down tackle for loss when TCU was driving up 7-0 after Darius’ return up the right sideline and back toward the middle.

Wilson, though, sparked the Horned Frogs’ go-ahead drive with a facemask penalty when his sack of Duggan would have put TCU in third and long.

A pass interference penalty in the end zone put the ball at the 2-yard line, and Miller extended his rushing TD streak to 10 games on the next play for a 20-17 lead.

“That was a big drive,” said McGuire, who wasn’t pleased with the calls. “Had opportunities to get off the field, could have been different going into the fourth quarter, keeping that lead and hanging on to it.”

Miller surpassed 100 yards rushing for the sixth time in seven games, finishing with a season-high 158 yards on 21 carries.

Playing without leading receiver Quentin Johnston because of an ankle injury, Duggan was 12 of 23 for 195 yards, his fewest as the starter this season. The senior didn’t throw an interception, giving him 24 TDs with just two picks this season.

The Red Raiders started 3 of 3 on fourth down, but failed on consecutive possessions in their territory after Miller’s TD, setting up Duggan’s 23-yard scoring pass to Davis and a 16-yarder to Emari Demercado.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders had one interception after entering the game with a Big 12-leading 15. While they protected the ball better, the league’s No. 1 passing offense was held under 200 yards (163) for the second week in a row after not having fewer than 299 before that.

TCU: The nine-game winning streak is the longest as a head coach for Dykes, who was facing his alma mater and the school where he was an assistant. He’s the first Big 12 coach to go this deep into his first season without losing.

TECH QBS

Freshman Behren Morton started strong for Texas Tech, going 7 of 10 with a 47-yard touchdown to Jerand Bradley. But he left in the first half with an ankle injury that’s been bothering him for a month.

Shough, the opening day starter who has missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, went 9 of 22 for 84 yards and had a short touchdown run late.

PASSING TURPIN

Davis’ fifth career punt return for a touchdown broke a tie with Dallas Cowboys return man KaVontae Turpin for the TCU record. They are tied for the school mark with six kick or punt returns for TDs.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: After playing ranked opponents six of the first nine games, the Red Raiders don’t have a team currently in the Top 25 on their remaining schedule. Kansas visits next Saturday.

TCU: The Horned Frogs play at Texas. They lost to the Longhorns for just the second time in the past eight meetings last year in Fort Worth.

Texas Tech fined for field storming when Texas player shoved

Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman/USA TODAY NETWORK
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IRVING, Texas — Texas Tech was fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the Big 12 Conference because fans stormed the field following an overtime victory against rival Texas, a celebration during which a video showed one of them shoving a Longhorns player.

A post on Texas Tech’s official athletic department Twitter account included a still shot from the video asking for help in identifying that fan, and said the matter had been turned over to the school’s police department.

“Texas Tech does not condone any physical altercations between spectators and student-athletes. This behavior has no place at Texas Tech athletic events,” the school said in a statement.

The video showed Texas senior edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo being shoved from behind by one of the fans who ran onto the field Saturday after the Red Raiders’ game-ending field goal for a 37-34 win, their first at home in the series since 2008.

“I wouldn’t call the fan running into our player. I think the fan went and knocked our player down,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Those are tough situations. I love the pageantry of college football. When fans rush the field, it’s dangerous for us as coaches on both sides. It’s dangerous for the players. I give Ovie a lot of credit. I thought he showed great poise and composure. I thought it could have turned into an ugly situation.”

Sarkisian said he didn’t blame fans for rushing the field to celebrate a victory like that, but said it would be good to find a better and safer way for everybody involved. He also acknowledged significant fines some conferences have to try to eliminate such situations.

Texas Tech was fined and publicly reprimanded in accordance to Big 12 policy regarding standards of sportsmanship.

“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” Big 12 Conference Commissioner Brett Yormark said. “The Texas Tech Department of Athletics has a written event management policy that, while well thought out, was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team student-athletes, officials, coaches and staff. There is zero tolerance for any act that compromises the safety of game participants.”

Texas Tech tops No. 22 Texas 37-34 with FG in wild OT finish

Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
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LUBBOCK, Texas – Trey Wolff kicked a 20-yard field goal in overtime, lifting Texas Tech over No. 22 Texas 37-34 after the Red Raiders overcame a two-touchdown deficit in the second half but let a lead slip away in the final seconds Saturday.

Texas’ Bijan Robinson fumbled on the first play of overtime, and Donovan Smith led the Red Raiders to the 1-yard line before Wolff’s winning kick in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Fans of Texas Tech (3-1, 1-0) thought they had their first home win over Texas since Michael Crabtree‘s last-second catch 14 years ago when Wolff kicked a 45-yarder for a 34-31 lead with 21 seconds left in regulation.

The Longhorns had other ideas.

Hudson Card‘s 28-yard pass to Tarique Milton got the Longhorns (2-2, 0-1) close with six seconds remaining, and they picked up another 10 yards on a quick pass with two seconds to go. Will Stone‘s 48-yard kick as time expired forced overtime.

Robinson’s 40-yard scoring run in the third quarter gave Texas a 31-17 lead, but the Red Raiders responded with their third TD drive of at least 10 plays.

Smith kept the tying drive alive with a cutback run for 5 yards on fourth-and-4 before his 19-yard scoring pass to Baylor Cupp for a 31-31 tie midway through the fourth quarter. The Red Raiders converted six of eight fourth-down tries.

The Red Raiders beat the Longhorns in a Big 12 opener for the first time in six tries and ended a six-game home losing streak. Fans stormed the field after that 2008 victory, and did it again Saturday after Wolff’s winner.

It might be Texas’ last trip to Lubbock depending on whether the Longhorns leave early for the Southeastern Conference in 2024. The schools are talking about continuing a rivalry that has been played for 63 consecutive seasons.

For the Longhorns, the loss was reminiscent of the first three games in a six-game losing streak that soured coach Steve Sarkisian‘s Texas debut last season. They had double-digit leads in all three losses.

Still limping at times because of the high ankle sprain sustained after starter Quinn Ewers sprained a clavicle against No. 1 Alabama, Card threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns with Ewers watching in uniform on the Texas sideline.

Robinson had 101 yards and two TDs before the crippling mistake from the Heisman Trophy hopeful to start overtime.

Smith threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, with Myles Price catching a career-high 13 passes for 98 yards, including a 5-yarder on fourth-and-3 on the way to what the Red Raiders thought would Wolff’s winning kick in regulation.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas: This was Sarkisian’s chance to build some momentum for the program two weeks after a one-point loss at home to then-No. 1 Alabama. Now the Longhorns will have to try again in two weeks against their biggest rival, No. 6 Oklahoma.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders stayed mostly with high-percentage throws on methodical drives with Smith after the sophomore threw five interceptions in the previous two games. He didn’t throw any picks in 56 attempts, completing 38 for an average of 8.7 yards per completion.

UP NEXT

Texas: Hosts West Virginia next Saturday.

Texas Tech: The only back-to-back road games of the season starts at Kansas State next Saturday.