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Texas-sized comeback

McCoy rallies Longhorns from 21 down vs. Texas Tech

Posted: Sunday October 29, 2006 1:18AM; Updated: Sunday October 29, 2006 1:23AM
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Colt McCoy was relieved after rallying the Longhorns to victory with 256 yards passing and four touchdowns.
Colt McCoy was relieved after rallying the Longhorns to victory with 256 yards passing and four touchdowns.
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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Every four years for the past 12, Texas had left Lubbock a loser.

It looked like that trend might continue Saturday night when Texas Tech jumped out to a three-touchdown lead in the first half.

But the No. 5 Longhorns overcame four turnovers and erased the big deficit to beat the Red Raiders 35-31.

"This team doesn't know how to quit," said Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns. "We just kept hanging in there. We are determined and we fight to the end."

The Longhorns (8-1, 5-0 Big 12) won their 20th straight conference game and 17th consecutive road game.

Texas didn't get its first lead until early in the fourth quarter when McCoy threw a 28-yard touchdown to Quan Cosby to make it 35-31.

Tech (5-4, 2-3) had chances in the final 6:14. Twice the Red Raiders failed on fourth downs inside Texas 35. Both plays -- a completion to Joel Filani and a quarterback sneak by Graham Harrell -- came up just short and were reviewed by replay, but the officials' spots were upheld.

The second opportunity came after Jamaal Charles fumbled for a second time, this one coming at his own 24, and Tech's Jake Ratliff recovered. But Tech failed to take advantage of the turnover.

Though Tech coach Mike Leach didn't mention specifics, he said there were "some things" that happened in the second that he was "not able to comment on," possibly referring to the officials' two spots.

"But I thought they were very detrimental to our effort," said Leach, who added it was his team's best game this season.

Harrell completed 42-of-62 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception, his first since throwing five in games against Missouri and Colorado. The most passing yards Texas has ever given up was 533 yards against Houston in 1992.

Texas coach Mack Brown said he was proud of his team's confidence and perseverance

"That's the thing that separates teams," he said. "We played hard; we didn't play that well. And Texas Tech played as well as I've ever seen them play. Harrell was as hot as I've ever seen."

Texas put more pressure on Harrell in the second half, enabling the Longhorns to hold the Red Raiders scoreless. Harrell had been nearly perfect in the first half. He got the Red Raiders inside the Texas' 20-yard line only twice in the second half.

"Every ball (Harrell) threw seemed to be on the money," said defensive back Aaron Ross, who broke up three passes. "Everything he did was right. The right throw, the right receiver, the right route."

Jarrett Hicks had his best game of the season with nine catches for 156 yards for Texas Tech.

McCoy, who completed 21-of-31 and threw one interception, has thrown 24 touchdown passes this season, leaving him two shy of school season record shared by Chris Simms and Vince Young.

Texas had lost in Lubbock in 1994, '98 and 2002. Turnovers nearly doomed Texas this time. The Longhorns fumbled five times and lost three.

Tech jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, helped along by a fumble recovery by Blake Collier on Charles' first fumble. He was hit at the Red Raiders' 25.

Harrell went to work quickly. He completed passes of 32, 23 and 12 yards before hitting Eric Morris for a 3-yard score to put Tech up 14-0 midway through the period.

It got worse for the Longhorns. Deep in his own territory, McCoy threw an interception -- only his fourth this season -- right into the arms of Fletcher Session, who lumbered 19 yards to give the Red Raiders a three-touchdown lead.

The Longhorns went to their running game and scored on their next two possessions and caught a break when Scott Derry forced a fumble after Joel Filani caught a 15-yard pass. A penalty gave Texas the ball at the Tech 45 and on the first play McCoy threw a touchdown pass to Limas Sweed to cut the deficit to 24-21.

In the first half Texas gave up 10 plays of 16 yards or longer, the longest a 40-yard pass from Harrell to Hicks on a drive that ended with a field goal by Tech.

The Longhorns' pass defense looked feeble as it gave up more yards in the first half (364) than it had in any game this season.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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