Henderson and Company Look to Shoot Down Sooners

Any coach in the Big XII will tell you that it is tough to win two weeks in a row on the road, especially in Norman, Oklahoma. For the third time this season, junior tailback Taurean Henderson and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will try to accomplish this feat against the nation's second ranked team.

Former New York Giants Coach Jim Fassel once said, "In my opinion, if we are going to have a good season, we have to put together more back-to-back wins."

To some, this statement may seem a bit elementary and yet its simplicity is quite profound. Any coach in the Big XII will tell you that it is tough to win two weeks in a row on the road, especially in Norman, Oklahoma. For the third time this season, junior tailback Taurean Henderson and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will try to accomplish this feat against the nation's second ranked team.

Last week, in the Big XII opener against the University of Kansas, Henderson rushed for 169 yards, including a 70-yard game-winning touchdown scamper with less than three minutes to play. This performance earned him the honors of being named both the SBC/Big XII Offensive Player of the Week and also The Dallas Morning News Player of the Week.

On third down with six yards to go, Henderson got the call from Head Coach Mike Leach for a draw play up the middle. Needless to say he was shocked at the call.

"I was surprised when we got the running play call," recalls Henderson. I just saw daylight, an opening. The offensive line opened it up, a bunch of receivers were able to run off their defenders and I ran for the touchdown."

For the second time in as many weeks, Tech erased the former record for largest comeback in school history: 21 down against TCU and 25 down against Kansas.

Senior Quarterback Sonny Cumbie realizes that Tech will not be able to get down early if they expect to compete against the Sooners.

"You get down on a team like OU and what was 20 points become 30 or 40," Cumbie said. "The comebacks have been great and exciting and it has been a fun ride, but we want to start out faster than we have been. Digging ourselves in a 20-point hole against OU is going to be tough."

For the first time this season, Henderson broke the 100-yard rushing barrier. This accomplishment was key to the victory over KU.

"To be a successful team in the Big 12, we have to have both a running game and a passing game," said Henderson.

With the dismissal of defensive lineman Dusty Dvoracek a little over a week ago, the Sooner defensive line might be somewhat susceptible to a rushing attack by the Red Raiders. Tech's veteran offensive line will have multiple opportunities to open up holes for Henderson and company.

We're looking to put points up every time we have the ball," Henderson said.

One of the most refreshing and exciting areas of Texas Tech football this season has been the vast improvement of the defense. Not only have they played extremely well over the past few weeks, but they have also kept the game in reach long enough for the offense to get in gear. This is somewhat opposite of what the Tech faithful saw last season.

Senior outside linebacker Mike Smith is excited about the improvement from a year ago.

"Our defense has a big heart and we are not going to quit," Smith said. "We are a better team than we were last year and everybody knows that."

The question on Saturday will be whether or not the Tech defense will be improved enough to stop Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and freshman standout Adrian Peterson.

Taurean Henderson had a break out game against Kansas, and another record-breaking performance will be needed to get a "W" in Oklahoma.

In this type of game you have to come in focused and we have to work hard everyday in practice," Henderson said. "We have to pull through no matter what happens. When we get down we have to stay confident."

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