Texas coach Mack Brown doesn't want to hear about Texas Tech's soft early season schedule or how the Raiders' offense piles up points against...
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Mack Brown doesn’t want to hear about Texas Tech’s soft early season schedule or how the Raiders’ offense piles up points against inferior teams.
Brown contends Texas Tech is more dangerous than ever and could derail the Longhorns’ goals of winning Big 12 Conference and national championships.
“What they are doing in college football is unheard of, offensively,” Brown said of the Raiders. “It’s amazing.”
Tenth-ranked Texas Tech (6-0 overall, 3-0 Big 12) meets the No. 2 Longhorns (6-0, 3-0) today in a game with huge implications for the conference and the Bowl Championship Series.
If Texas wins, the Longhorns tighten their grip on the Big 12 South and their No. 2 position in the BCS standings (USC of the Pac-10 leads the BCS). A Raiders victory would thrust Tech into the national-title chase.
“Someone’s going home with a loss,” Longhorns defensive end Brian Robison said. “And I don’t plan on it being us.”
Led by fifth-year senior Cody Hodges, who is starting for the first year, the Raiders lead the nation in points (53.7) and passing yards (472) per game with a Wild West shootout-style offense coach Mike Leach brought to the school five years ago.
Some of those gaudy numbers have been cranked up in wins over Florida International (56-3) and Division I-AA teams Sam Houston State (80-21) and Indiana State (63-7). But Brown notes the Raiders also beat Kansas, Nebraska and Kansas State, with Hodges passing for 643 yards in last week’s 59-20 romp over the Wildcats.
“They beat Nebraska in Lincoln, and we all know that’s tough to do,” Brown said. “They totally dominated Kansas State. … Too much has been talked about the first three games instead of the last three.”
This week’s game has the Lubbock campus abuzz about what a win could do for a team usually considered a Big 12 spoiler rather than a title contender.
Texas Tech is ranked in the Top 10 for the first time since 1977, an era when Texas still ran the wishbone offense with Earl Campbell — and Bill Parcells was Tech’s defensive coordinator.
Tech will be the first Top 10 team to come to Austin since 1999, when the Longhorns beat No. 3 Nebraska.
“My big thing is to relax and just enjoy it,” Hodges said. “Ten to 20 years from now I’ll look back and think that was such a great game. But if I’m too worried about other stuff, my head’s going to be filled with stuff it shouldn’t be.”
As dangerous as Tech can be, the Longhorns must fight an urge to take for granted a team they beat 51-21 last season.
“We are a better-focused team than we were last year,” Leach said.
The Longhorns have beaten five ranked teams during their 13-game winning streak.
Texas quarterback Vince Young, one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy, had a spectacular day last Saturday. He passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three more scores in a 42-17 win over Colorado.
Against Tech last year, Young ran for four TDs as the Longhorns stifled the Raiders’ offense by keeping it off the field. Texas held the ball nearly 20 minutes longer than Tech in that game.
While Young used to be thought of as a running quarterback, his passing has done most of the damage in the Longhorns’ biggest wins this season.
• Southern Illinois coach Jerry Kill, 44, left a hospital six days after having a seizure during last Saturday’s 61-35 home loss to Illinois State.
Kill will miss today’s game at Indiana State.
• Kevin Smith rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown and passed for another score as host Central Florida beat Tulane 34-24.
• Dustin Almond threw three touchdown passes to help visiting Southern Mississippi beat Alabama-Birmingham 37-28.