Red Raiders Blow By Cornhuskers, 70-10

One of the most common axioms of football wisdom is that speed kills. Hence, the obsession with forty-yard dash times and recruiting football players who double as track stars. But Saturday night in another record-setting performance, the Texas Tech Red Raiders demonstrated that quickness can be every bit as lethal as straight-ahead rapidity.

Powered by an opportunistic defense, precision passing by quarterback Sonny Cumbie, and the tap-dancer quick maneuvers of Taurean Henderson, Johnnie Mack, Trey Haverty, and Nehemiah Glover, the Raiders demolished the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Jones/SBC stadium by a 70-10 count. It was the second straight 70-point performance by the Raiders at home and the most points ever scored on the Nebraska Cornhuskers as well as the worst defeat in school history.

Tech head coach Mike Leach acknowledged that his quicker players had an exceptional night. "I thought we did a good job of making people miss tonight. I thought we did a good job of putting a toe in the turf and making moves. You know, really, we felt that they [Nebraska] were real strong in their secondary and they had some thick, strong guys up front, which they were. Then, uh, we just had some plays that we thought could attack their scheme and, uh, I think you know you get on a roll when all three sides of the ball rise up and you get that energy. And strange as it may sound, I think theres power in positive thinking."

If positive thinking contributes to football productivity, then Leach and his charges must have been channeling Dale Carnegie on the sidelines. The Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and were never seriously challenged thereafter.

Cumbie, who has been somewhat maligned recently for interceptions and some questionable decision making, had without question his best night as a Raider, passing for 436 yards, but more important, completing a very high percentage of his passes (44 of 56), throwing five touchdowns, and only one interception. The interception, moreover, came on a miscommunication between Cumbie and receiver Nehemiah Glover and may not have been the quarterbacks fault.

The Tech receiving corps also had an exceptional evening, dropping only a couple of passes, vacuuming in everything else, and contributing magnificent runs after the catch. Glover caught 12 passes for 74 yards and his first touchdown of the year, Haverty 7 for 64, and Jarrett Hicks reeled in three Cumbie aerials for 108 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown got Tech on the board with 6:23 to play in the first quarter. His second, which came with 1:14 left in the second quarter, was good for 80 yards, gave the Raiders a 21-3 margin going into half time.

Cumbie, for one, was satisfied with the performance and seemed little concerned with his second guessers. "...I couldnt care less about the critics. I play for the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the players in that locker room and the coaches in that locker room, and those are the only guys I concern myself with. And as long as theyre happy, I think 70 points will keep em happy for two weeks and then well come out here against Texas and throw it around."

As much as Cumbie, Hicks, and the cat-quick collection of dazzlers deserve credit for building a commanding lead for the Raiders, the turnover-hungry defense should also be applauded for crushing the life out of any Cornhusker hopes for a comeback. After collecting only one turnover in the first half, the Raider defense forced six more in the second to entomb the Huskers.

After Tech jumped out to a 35-10 lead on a three-yard Cumbie pass to tight end Bristol Olomua for a touchdown late in the third quarter, the cavalcade of turnovers commenced. Linebacker Fletcher Session recovered a fumble on a bad snap at the Nebraska 14 with 2:10 to play in the third quarter. Johnnie Mack cashed it in on a 14-yard draw play for a touchdown. 42-10.

Safety Vincent Meeks picked off a Beau Davis pass after cornerback Khalid Naziruddin tipped it. Four minutes later, Taurean Henderson plunged over the goal line from one yard out. 49-10.

On Nebraskas next possession, Mike Smith recovered a Cory Ross fumble deep in Husker territory, which Cumbie used to hook up with Glover in the end zone, making the score 56-10.

Then, former Reedly College teammates Dwayne Slay and Sylvester Brinkley each snagged Davis passes, which were converted into touchdowns via a six-yard Mack run and a six-yard pass from Cody Hodges to Henderson respectively, to account for the final fourteen points of the evening. 70-10. Believe it if youre able.

The Raiders will have to wait two next for their next opportunity to produce another episode of That 70s Show. Following a bye week, the Texas Longhorns will be coming to Lubbock for a game that may well have major bowl implications.

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