Texas Tech Logs Another Bowl Comeback
by Mike Mitchell
January 1, 2008
Texas Tech scored 17 points in the final 3:31 of the Gator Bowl and beat Virginia 31-28 on Alex Trlica's 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left. The wild comeback echoed last year's 44-41 overtime win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl where the Red Raiders stormed back from a 38-7 deficit halfway through the third quarter to log the greatest comeback in a FBS bowl game.
The first half saw Virginia grab a 21-7 lead on a combination of two safeties,a field goal and two touchdowns. The safeties came when Harrell was twice flagged for intentional grounding from his own end zone. Cavalier running back Mike Simpson had a 96-yard TD run to set an NCAA bowl record for running backs, and finished the day with 170 yards on 20 carries.
The rally started with Michael Crabtree's 20-yard touchdown reception with 3:31 left in the game. On Virginia's second play of the following drive, backup quarterback Peter Lalich was sacked and fumbled to give Texas Tech the ball at the Cavalier 4-yard line. Aaron Crawford ran it in on the next play to tie the game.
Lalich had replaced Jameel Sewell on the first series of the fourth quarter when Sewell limped off the field. Lalich finished that drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass that had provided the Cavs with a 28-14 cushion.
After Texas Tech tied it up, Virginia went 3-and-out and a short punt put the Red Raiders in business at their own 47-yard line with 2:11 still left on the clock. Texas Tech began the game-winning drive with four successive runs to move to the UVa 34. A 9-yard pass from Harrell to Kobey Lewis moved the ball to the 24-yard line and, after an incomplete shuttle pass, Trlica came on to nail the game-winner.
QB Red Raider QB Graham Harrell set Gator Bowl records for yards, completions and attempts as he went 44-of-69 for 407 yards and 3 TD's.
The victory improved Texas Tech's bowl record to 10-20-1, but the Red Raiders are 5-3 in bowl games under Mike Leach, and 5-1 in their last six bowl trips. Texas Tech has gone bowling in eight straight seasons since Leach became the head coach in 2000.
Virginia slipped to 7-10 all-time in bowl games.