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No. 7 Texas Tech survives Nebraska in OT, 37-31

02:24 AM CDT on Sunday, October 12, 2008

By BILL NICHOLS / The Dallas Morning News
brnichols@dallasnews.com

LUBBOCK – On its first road trip, Nebraska found itself in a strange place. There was a fake field goal, a blocked extra point, an extra point that bounced in off the post, and a 47-yard pass on a late fourth-down play.

In the end, which came in overtime, there was a scoreboard that flashed, Texas Tech 37, Nebraska 31.

"It really was a strange game," said Tech coach Mike Leach, who contributed by ordering quarterback Graham Harrell to go long on fourth-and-5 from the Red Raiders' 36 with the score tied in the fourth quarter. "It was one of the strangest games I've been apart of. I think Nebraska would say the same thing, too."

The Huskers should have stayed at home. They more than doubled the Raiders' time of possession, and even outgained them. But they couldn't match the points.

"It's heartbreaking, going on the road against a ranked team and to come that close," Nebraska receiver Todd Peterson said. "No way to describe it really."

No. 7 Tech (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) seemed a little flat for spells. Maybe that's because the offensive players had only so many crossword puzzles to pass the time, spending all but 19 minutes, 48 seconds on the bench.

But the Raiders scored on the possession that mattered most. Eric Morris ran for a 1-yard touchdown on the first drive of overtime, then after Nebraska (3-3, 0-2) blocked freshman Donnie Carona's extra-point attempt, Jamar Wall secured victory by intercepting Joe Ganz's throw-away pass.

"It surprised me," Wall said. "He basically just threw it right to me. I thought he was going to throw it over my head, and I just jumped and it hit me."

Ganz orchestrated a 79-yard drive, capped by his 17-yard touchdown pass to Peterson, which tied the score with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Baron Batch took a screen pass 24 yards on Tech's first play, setting up Morris' 1-yard end around. After Carona's low PAT was blocked, Tech fans let out a collective moan. But Ganz threw incomplete on first down. On second down, he ran right to avoid pressure, then aimed for the sideline so he wouldn't get sacked. The ball landed in Wall's stomach.

"I was trying to throw it out of bounds, and the guy pulled me down from behind and it went right to the kid," said Ganz, who completed 36 of 44 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. "It's just a sick feeling to end it like that after we played so hard. We had our chances. It shouldn't have been that close."

The Raiders' offense was productive, especially considering they played less than one period of hockey. Michael Crabtree made five catches for 89 yards, including the 47-yarder, and had two touchdowns. He broke the school record for touchdown receptions with his first. And Harrell completed 20 of 25 passes for 284 yards.

"Nebraska has done the best job against us since I've been here," Harrell said. "But they made the mistake at the end, and we got the win."

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