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Tech defense doesn't break in 35-19 win

12:30 AM CDT on Sunday, September 7, 2008

By SCOTT OXARART / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

RENO, Nev. – The Nevada offense moved the ball well against No. 12 Texas Tech on Saturday at Mackay Stadium.

But whenever the Wolf Pack drove inside Texas Tech's 20-yard line, the Red Raiders took a stand.

Texas Tech (2-0) held the Wolf Pack to four field goals in six trips inside the Tech 20-yard line and cruised to a 35-19 victory.

"I think we put Nevada in a hole in the red zone," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "I didn't do the greatest job coaching as I should have, but our defense stepped up."

Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell threw for 297 yards and one touchdown, and Michael Crabtree caught seven balls for 158 yards.

Nevada (1-1) rushed for 224 yards and threw for 264, with quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushing for 92 yards.

With about 15 seconds left in the third quarter, Nevada was in line for a score.

The Wolf Pack ran it to the Texas Tech 26, but after a Brandon Williams pass deflection on third down, Nevada settled for its sixth field-goal try, which it missed.

Earlier in the game, the Wolf Pack had third and goal from the 3 but again couldn't get in the end zone. Kaepernick ran for a touchdown, but it was reviewed and overruled. Kaepernick fumbled before crossing the goal line, which led to a touchback.

"Our defense bailed us out several times," Leach said. "I think if you subtract about five big plays, I think we had a near perfect game [defensively]."

Nevada kicker Brett Jaekle made four of six field-goal attempts for the Wolf Pack.

The Nevada defense gave the Texas Tech offense some room to breath, and an 82-yard pass from Harrell to Crabtree with 11 minutes left in the game took the crowd out of the game and gave Tech a 28-12 lead.

Nevada was able to move the ball, totaling 243 yards (148 pass, 95 run) in the first half compared to Texas Tech's 155 (119 pass, 36 run).

Nevada's only score came on a 48-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Marko Mitchell with 10:30 left in the game.

Texas Tech's offense appeared to wear down the young Nevada secondary in the fourth quarter.

Harrell tried to hit Crabtree in single coverage and Nevada was called for pass interference with about seven minutes left in the game.

When Nevada played the pass, Texas Tech ran the ball. Shannon Woods was the benefactor, with a 21-yard run to give the Red Raiders a 35-19 lead with 6:18 left.

Earlier in the game, Harrell pressed the Nevada secondary. He used a play-action fake, which drew the strong safety giving Crabtree one-on-one coverage with junior college transfer Antoine Thompson, making his debut against a Bowl Championship Series team.

Crabtree broke free and caught the 50-yard pass, which was airborne for about 45 yards, taking Texas Tech to the one, resulting in a Shannon Woods touchdown run.

Tech's Eric Morris took back an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown with 7:51 left in the first.

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