Texas defense bails out its offense
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Before he walked up the ramp that led to the visitor's locker room following Saturday night's 24-14 win against Texas Tech, Texas safety
"It was going to be the last time I play here," Gideon said. "It's probably going to be the last time I take a trip to Lubbock. So this is my farewell. I left everything I had. All of me, for my team, I left out on the field."
Two years ago, the Texas offense brought the top-ranked Longhorns back against feisty Texas Tech. Had the defense held, Texas probably would have played for the 2008 BCS title. Texas Tech's run seemed over as Gideon tracked a ball that had bounced off Red Raiders receiver
Saturday, the Texas defense needed to bail out the Texas offense. Once again, Gideon tracked a tipped ball -- this time in the first quarter. This time, he caught it. "That's funny how things like that work out," Gideon said. In the third quarter, Brown received his own shot at redemption. With the score tied at 14, Texas Tech had driven to the Texas 16-yard line. Quarterback
"A monkey jumped on my back at the end," Brown said. "But it's all good."
Actually, the monkey jumped off.
Though Gideon and Curtis Brown didn't want to admit it publicly, Texas coach
The Texas coaching staff saw plenty to criticize -- especially on offense -- but after the nightmare two years ago, simply leaving the High Plains with a win was enough. Brown had warned his team beforehand that nothing would go smoothly once the Longhorns landed in the land of Guns Up.
"Weird things happen in Lubbock," the coach told his team. Indeed they do, for better and for worse.
A gift score happened. Texas Tech's first snap sailed past Potts, and Longhorns defensive end
Three non-standard interceptions happened. Texas quarterback
A 22-play drive -- featuring a fake punt from the Longhorns' own 29 -- happened. Texas averaged a paltry 2.2 yards a carry for the night, but the Horns only needed a yard when Mack Brown called for the fake. Before the play, Brown gave upback
The fake, which will forever be remembered as gutsy instead of stupid, allowed the Longhorns to chew up the end of the third quarter and more than a third of the fourth. OK, nothing Texas did on offense was particularly effective, but two 15-yard penalties -- including an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Texas Tech cornerback Will Ford for trash-talking Texas tight end
Texas players and coaches will cringe when they watch the film of Saturday's win. Receivers dropped passes. The line failed to open holes. Gilbert made the kind of poor choices sophomores tend to make in their third game as a starter.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, the offense didn't need to do much. The defense held the Red Raiders to just 144 yards, the first time since 1990 that Texas Tech had been held below 150 yards. Texas Tech finished with minus-14 rushing yards and just 11 first downs.
"All we can really focus on is playing Texas defense," Gideon said. "I've said this a million times. Regardless of what happens with out our offense or special teams or whatever, when go out there to play defense, we go out there to play ball."
Texas defensive coordinator
It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. Texas will face UCLA next week before the annual meeting with Oklahoma in Dallas that typically charts the course of any Longhorns' season. To compete for the national title, Texas will need a serious offensive upgrade. Mack Brown knows that. He knows ESPN cameras exposed more flaws Saturday.
But, as he sat sweating Saturday night in the same interview room that was at the center of the
Brown and the Longhorns were just happy to kiss Lubbock goodbye for two more years.
"We'll worry about all that tomorrow," Brown said. "I couldn't care less about any of that tonight."