BOULDER, Colo. — Though it was not an upset of a No.1-ranked team or a big rivalry game, Texas Tech finally got a win to help define this season a little more and put some hope in the minds of Red Raider coaches, players and fans.
Tech (4-3, 2-3 Big 12) scored 20 second half points and overcame a 10-point deficit to win its first game in five attempts at Folsom Field, 27-24, over Colorado (3-4, 0-3) in what will more than likely be the final game between the two teams for a long time.
"We needed this one," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said following his team's first Big 12 road win this season. "… Overall, it wasn't a great day on both sides, but we scratched and we clawed and we found a way to win the game."
But it did not come easily.
The Red Raiders appeared to be the same off-key team that has struggled this season to produce any yards, first downs or even points in the first half against the Buffaloes. Tech had just 94 yards of offense and seven points at halftime, trailing 10-7. In fact, the Red Raiders had more yards from their three punts (145) than their total offense until senior quarterback Taylor Potts and his wide receivers got things going to open the second half.
Tech marched 93 yards in seven plays on its second possession after halftime, then went 80 yards 10 minutes later to tie the game at 24-24 with just 10:54 remaining.
After a stop and interception by CU, Tech got one more chance to march down the field, leaving Matt Williams with a 40-yard field goal to win it and the Red Raiders watched as the kick sailed right through the uprights with 2:08 left.
"I was just trying to stay relaxed," said Williams, who kicked his first-ever game-winner in college. "I tried to focus on other things than kicking the ball, but I just took a deep breath and kicked the ball. I know God gave me the talent to kick the ball through the uprights, and that's why he put me here. I just have to do my job."
One big reason was the decision by offensive coordinator Neal Brown to switch Alex Torres to inside receiver and Detron Lewis to outside receiver. The two combined for 12 catches, 217 yards and one touchdown. Potts found much of his success with the two receivers in the second half on the slip screen pass to the outside, giving Torres a 45-yard run after catch and Lewis a 32-yard run after catch — something that had not been there all season for the offensive unit.
After going just 4 of 8 for 28 yards in the first half, Potts finished with 286 yards while completing 24 of 38 passes for two scores. Then once the passing game got better, so did the Tech running game. Running backs Eric Stephens, Baron Batch and Ben McRoy combined for 167 yards on 30 carries (5.6 yards per carry) by far their best performance this season.
"We know we can hang on, we know we can win," Potts said. "We know it, we just have to do it. You've got to make the plays. A few mistakes here and there are going to happen, but we have to eliminate anything we can. We've got guys making plays, we've just got to keep guys making plays. We've got to have the confidence to catch every ball. We've got to have the confidence to make every single run-block, and to make every single cut."
"I hope everybody remembers this. We go on the road to a place where we have never won before in school history. We go out and get the win, come from behind a win. It's something to build off of, something to kind of hang your hat on."