Throwback Thursday: Tech scrapes by Nebraska in OT thriller
Early in the 2008 football season, the Texas Tech offense - led by Graham Harrell under center, receiver Michael Crabtree as the reigning Biletnikoff winner and a veteran offensive line - looked a bit off kilter in a number of contests. The Red Raiders looked to finally get things back on track against Kansas State, where they hammered the Wildcats to a tune of 58-28. Mike Leach's ninth-year squad moved on to 5-0 as a result, and Texas Tech fans were ready to take on what looked to be a very manageable Nebraska team that was sitting at 3-2 on the season.
That wouldn't be the case, as the Cornhuskers successfully played a game of keep away with the Red Raiders, holding onto the ball for most of the contest and making a furious comeback in the fourth quarter with 21 points. In fact, Nebraska impressively doubled Texas Tech in time of possession, as they had the ball for more than 24 minutes as opposed to Harrell's unit holding onto it for only 12 and a half.
Joe Ganz and the Cornhusker offense made few mistakes, going 7-of-12 on third down while finishing with more overall yards - 471 to 421 - and more passing yards - 364 to 284 - than the Red Raiders.
However, Crabtree decided to live up to his billing as the best wide receiver in the country, on two plays in particular.
Crabtree came up with the games opening score on a 35-yard tunnel screen catch to the endzone, putting Texas Tech on top early. He was fairly quiet throughout the rest of the matchup as the Cornhuskers marched back to tie things up at 24-24 with just six minutes left in the contest.
The Red Raiders hadn't been able to get anything going in the fourth quarter up until that point while Nebraska was hot offensively, meaning that Texas Tech had better find a way to take the lead in the closing minutes. Leach and Harrell decided they were willing to take the gamble on 4th and 5 on their own 35 with just 4:23 left in the contest.
Harrell looked for his All-American wide receiver to make a play, and Crabtree did just that, coming down with a 47-yard catch down the right sideline, culminating in a lead-taking 31-24 score a few plays later.
Nebraska marched it right down the field to tie things up, however, and we headed to overtime in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders received the ball and scored on an Eric Morris jet sweep to the right corner of the endzone, but a missed PAT only put them up 36-31.
With the game on the line, McKinner Dixon came up with the greatest near-sack of his career, forcing Ganz to throw an errant pass that was picked off by Jamar Wall to end the contest and push the Red Raiders to 6-0 on the season.
It was a struggle of a game, but Texas Tech came out the better for it, going through arguably the best - and most legendary - four-game stretch in program history immediately after.