Joe's Postgame Editorial

For the last couple of years, Tech football observers have been asking the question, "When will Taurean Henderson finally break the big one?" Consider the query answered in spades. Henderson bolted for a 70-yard touchdown with 2:37 remaining in the fourth quarter to cap a remarkable 31-30 comeback victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kansas. On that single play, Henderson authored two milestones.

First, he put the frosting on his career-best rushing day as a Red Raider in which he gained 170 yards on only 17 carries with two touchdowns. Second, his touchdown sealed the greatest come-from-behind victory in school history. Tech trailed Kansas 30-5 in the second quarter. The previous record for points overcome was 21 in last week's 70-35 pasting of TCU. Should the Raiders pull the trifecta in Norman next week, cardiac centers across west Texas will undoubtedly be swamped.

Much like last weeks effort, Tech dug itself a hole early on that looked virtually insuperable. This time, however, they did it on the road in the Big XII opener for both schools. The Raiders actually jumped out to a two-point lead at the outset when a bad deep snap skipped past the Kansas punter and through the back of the end zone for a safety with 9:59 remaining in the first quarter. From that point on it was all downhill for Tech in the first half.

Kansas' first score came on the heels of safety Rodney Harris' interception of a Sonny Cumbie pass via a tipped ball. On the first play after the pick, Jayhawk quarterback Adam Barmann, who threw for 220 yards on the day, found running back John Randall on a screen, which went for 36 yards and a touchdown. Kansas would have repeated success with the screen pass.

Kansas' next scoring drive also began in Tech territory after a 30-yard Alex Reyes punt. Randall again was the chief culprit taking a screen for 13 yards, a sweep for 12 and finally strolling into the end zone from three yards out on back-to-back-to-back plays. The Jayhawks led 14-2 with 2:48 left to play in the first quarter. The Raiders got back on the scoreboard on their next possession by virtue of Alex Trlica's 34-yard field goal. The three-pointer was set up by an 18-yard Henderson burst and a 41-yard snag by split end Jarrett Hicks who caught 8 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon.

Following a three-and-out by the Tech defense, which held Kansas to 345 total yards, Tech looked poised to reclaim the momentum. Two plays later, however, Cumbie had a ball batted by linebacker Nick Reid and intercepted by linebacking mate Greg Tyree. This was one of four Cumbie interceptions on the day. He also had two touchdowns and 355 yards on 28 of 52 passing.

With possession of the ball on the Tech 21, Kansas points were almost inevitable. The Raider defense gained a victory of sorts, however, holding the Jayhawks to a 22-yard Scott Webb field goal with 9:45 left to play in the half. Kansas' next scoring drive followed a failed Cumbie quarterback sneak on fourth and one at the Jayhawk 19 yard line. The key play was a 32-yard pass to tight end Lionel Anderson, who slipped a Vincent Meeks tackle en route to the big gainer. On the very next play wide-out Brandon Rideau beat Tech cornerback Khalid Naziruddin on a 26-yard halfback pass from Charles Gordon for a touchdown with 2:37 to play in the half, making the score Kansas 24, Texas Tech 5.

The turnover bug bit Tech once more on the next series of plays as Jayhawk safety Tony Stubbs vacuumed in another tipped Cumbie pass on the Tech 36. On the ensuing possession, Gordon played the receiver rather than the passer as he found pay dirt on an 8-yard pass from Barmann with 0:48 remaining in the half. Kansas' two-point attempt failed and the score stood at 30-5.

It was here that the Raider comeback commenced. Trailing by 25 points with only 48 seconds remaining and 80 yards away from the opposing end zone, many coaches would have had the quarterback take a knee and led their team to the locker room for some wound licking. Not Mike Leach. The Raider offense immediately kicked into high gear with a six-yard catch by receiver Trey Haverty, a 46-yard snag by inside receiver Nehemiah Glover, and another Haverty catch for 31 yards and a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. Tech's two point attempt was no good, but sparked by Haverty, who would catch eight passes for 142 yards, the Raiders undoubtedly felt that they were still in the game.

And indeed they were. Tech had owned third quarters against its previous opponents this season, and Kansas fared no better. Raider safety Chad Johnson got the Tech defense off on the right foot on the Jayhawks' opening possession of the third quarter by picking off a Barmann aerial and racing 56 yards to the Kansas seven yard line. Henderson took over from there, carrying for six yards and then one more for the touchdown, which made the score Kansas 30, Tech 18 with 11:42 to go in the quarter.

Tech would not score again until their final possession of the third quarter, but Kansas went scoreless as well. In fact, after giving up 30 points in the first half, Tech blanked the Jayhawks in the second. The Raider score came on a 20-yard Cumbie-to-Hicks strike with 0:44 remaining and it brought the score to 30-24. In the fourth quarter, Kansas missed two opportunities to salt the game away. Redshirt freshman kicker Scott Webb missed field goals from 45 yards and 43 yards (the latter boinked off the left upright), leaving the door open for the Tech comeback. The resurrection culminated in the aforementioned 70-yard TD blast by Henderson and all that was then required was another stand by the Raider defense.

Things looked ominous for Tech as John Randall took the ensuing kickoff back 41 yards to the Kansas 45, but the Jayhawks were unable even to crack Red Raider territory. Following a 3-yard screen to Rideau, cornerback Jabari Smith reeled in a Barmann pass that had been tipped by Vincent Meeks. The Jayhawks lived by the tipped-pass interception, and they died by it.

Raider Power Top Stories