In 1953, the United States invented the hydrogen bomb and Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to scale Mount Everest. The year was also the last time a Texas Tech football team scored 70 or more points, going for 71 against New Mexico State. After Tech's bizarre 70-35 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs in which the Raiders rallied from a 21-0 deficit, the visitors must have felt that like they had experienced an H-bomb, and the home team as though they had climbed a Himalayan peak. Yes folks, it was anything but dull.
The early stages of the game boded ill for the Red Raiders as they marched into TCU territory on their first two possessions, only to come up dry on both occasions. Tech's first drive ended in a punt, the second on an incomplete Sonny Cumbie pass on fourth and one.
The first score of the game followed Elvis Gallegos' interception at the Tech 27 yard line. From there, TCU needed only two plays to score. Tye Gunn hit Marcus Draper with a 19-yard bullet to the Tech eight, and Robert Merrill carried the mail to the end zone on the next play, giving the Horned Frogs an early 7-0 lead.
From there, matters went quickly downhill for the Raiders. After gaining nine yards on three plays to start their next possession, Tech went for it on fourth and one from their own 29 yard line. TCU's Marvin Godbolt slammed Cumbie for no gain on a quarterback sneak, and the Frogs took over deep in Raider country. Less than two minutes later the Frogs, helped by a questionable pass interference call against Jabari Smith, cashed in for six more points on a nine yard Gunn to Reggie Harrell pass. 14-0 TCU.
After the game, coach and quarterback both assumed blame for the decision to go on fourth down deep in their own territory. Cumbie claimed that "it was a bonehead play on my part" and that the responsibility was his, while Mike Leach noted that "it was a dumb call" and that "it was my fault." For the record, it looked as though Leach gave Cumbie the option to pull the trigger if he thought the situation was propitious. Bad call by Leach, bad decision by Cumbie.
TCU's next scoring drive also started in Tech territory following Tommy Blake's sack of Cumbie, which caused a fumble that was recovered by Jesse Hejny at the Tech 43. The boo birds made a brief appearance at this point.
On the second play of the TCU drive, Gunn hit a wide open Quincy Harmon for 27 yards. Lonta Hobbs, who gained 123 yards on 19 carries, plunged over from one yard out to make it 20-0, TCU. The extra point was good and it looked like the rout was on.
And it was, but the Raiders were not to be on the receiving end.
Tech's next possession began on its own 43 after a short kick, which was returned 10 yards by linebacker Chad Hill. Two plays later, Cumbie hooked up with Jarrett Hicks on a 45-yard catch and run to the TCU 4.
This was the play that caused all symbols to switch their values: positives became negatives, negatives became positive, and the hapless Raiders suddenly became monsters. From the 4, Taurean Henderson took it up the gut into the end zone and it was 21-7 with 6:53 to go in the first half.
Leach and Cumbie tried to explain how the timbre of the game could change so dramatically and so quickly. Said Leach: "It was chemistry and the way everyone came together." Said Cumbie: "The thing that got us going was that we attacked em."
Chemistry or aggression, Tech was a transformed team.
Following a three and out, TCU's John Braziel boomed a punt to Tech freshman, Danny Amendola, who promptly slithered and darted his way 52 yards to the TCU 3. He tossed the ball into the air, however and drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which moved the ball back to the TCU 18. No problem. Three plays later Cumbie shoveled a pass to Johnnie Mack, who knifed into the end zone untouched, cutting the TCU lead to 7 with 3:32 to play until half time.
Brandon Hassell took over for a gimpy Gunn on TCU's next series, but could do nothing to stem the gathering tide. Three plays, out, and a punt, and Tech took over again on its 35 with 2:30 to play in the half. Cumbie, running the hurry up offense like Roger Staubach, quickly marched the Raiders down the field, capping the drive with a lovely 4-yard toss to the lethal Bristol Olomua for a touchdown. Amazingly, Tech had knotted the score at 21s going into the intermission.
Amendola took over in the second half where he left off in the first, scooping up Braziel's first punt of the stanza at his own 33, and rambling 47 yards to the TCU 20. From there, Cumbie concluded the short drive with a 4-yard pass to Olomua over the middle, and Tech took a lead that it would never relinquish.
Following yet another three and out compliments of the Tech defense, which held the Frogs to 316 total yards on the afternoon, the Raiders knifed 68 yards for seven more points, which came on a 6-yard jaunt by Taurean Henderson. Tech led 35-21.
Next, it was the defense's turn to get into the scoring act. TCU's Hassell rolled out from his 29 yard line, only to be decked by Adell Duckett. The hit jarred the ball loose, and Duckett's partner in crime Keyunta Dawson picked up the pig at the 17 and steamed into the end zone for a 42-21 lead.
Tech's next possession began at the inauspicious location of its own 4-yard line. On the first play of the drive, however Cumbie, after checking off at the line of scrimmage, hit Hicks with a strike that netted 62 yards and a first down at the TCU 34. Six plays later, Johnnie Mack galloped 8 yards untouched for a touchdown and a commanding 49-21 Tech lead at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was every bit as wild as the third, although the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Tech led off the scoring with a 2-yard Henderson touchdown that had been set up by a 56-yard completion to Clay McGuire. Tech had just reeled off 56 unanswered points after trailing 21-0.
TCU's offense got back on track at this point with a 61-yard option run by Lonta Hobbs, who split John Saldi and Vincent Meeks on his way to pay-dirt. According to Tech Defensive Coordinator, Lyle Setencich, "We had a couple of young kids in [on Hobb's TD run]. One of those younger kids didn't do what he was supposed to."
On Tech's very next offensive snap, Cumbie threw an interception to TCU's Mark Walker deep in Tech territory. Hassell then hit Harmon for a 22-yard touchdown over Antonio Huffman, and the score was 56-35. TCU would get no closer, however.
Tech's final two touchdowns, which led to the talismanic tally of 70, came on a 34-yard Cumbie toss to Hicks, and a pretty 30-yard shot from backup quarterback, Cody Hodges to Johnnie Mack.
Joe's Postgame Editorial
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