AUSTIN (AP) In one week, Texas Tech went from conquering heroes to head-scratching no-shows.
That’s what beating Oklahoma on the road and following it with a blowout home loss to Iowa State will do.
The Red Raiders are back on the road, facing a Texas team Saturday that is gaining confidence behind a tough running game and a defense that just posted its first shutout in six years.
“The same guys that were on the field against Iowa State are the same guys that were on the field against Oklahoma,” Red Raiders defensive tackle Donald Langley said. “Those guys earned it in Oklahoma … We just have to prove it again coming down to Austin.”
The win at Oklahoma snapped the Sooners’ 39-game home winning streak and proved the Red Raiders have the talent to win anywhere.
After the 41-7 home loss to Iowa State, the Red Raiders held a players-only meeting to sort things out before they headed to Austin — a place they haven’t won since 1997.
“I think as a team, we’re ready to roll,” Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege said. “The biggest thing we accomplished was letting that one go because you can’t have a hangover of the last game.”
Texas players say there’s no way the Red Raiders team that got hammered by Iowa State will walk into Royal-Memorial Stadium.
“There’s a lot of talk they may have been looking ahead to our game,” Texas senior safety Blake Gideon said. “Regardless of how bad a team played the week before, they’re going to come ready to play.”
Texas Tech has haunted Gideon’s four-year career for one play he didn’t make as a freshman in 2008.
He dropped an interception that would have sealed a Texas comeback win in Lubbock, and on the next play, Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree caught the winning touchdown pass with a second left.
It was the only loss in Texas’ 12-1 season and ultimately cost the Longhorns a shot at the Big 12 and national championships.
Gideon, who will see the Red Raiders for the last time Saturday, knows he’s been the target of fan frustration ever since.
“There’s really not too many people in the stands that I play for. I play for all the guys that are in the locker room and that have been there with me the whole time,” Gideon said.
Texas coach Mack Brown had a pointed message for Texas fans still hanging onto Gideon’s drop four years ago: “It’s time for people to give up on the ’08 tipped ball. There were a lot of things that could have changed (the game) … It’s just the one people remember.”
Texas snapped a two-game losing streak last week against Kansas, pounding out 441 yards rushing against one of the worst defenses in the country behind freshmen running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.
The Texas running game could hide a passing game that has struggled behind freshman quarterback David Ash, who has started the past two games. The Red Raiders rank just 114th nationally against the run.
Texas (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) and Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3) both can become bowl-eligible with a win. After playing for the BCS championship in 2009, Texas missed a bowl game last season for the first time since 1997, leaving Mack Brown spending his holidays on the couch in front of the TV.
“It was one of those things we took for granted,” he said. “You get kicked in the face and have to sit around and watch 38 games, it will make you want to get one. We’d like to get that out of the way this weekend.”
You can listen to the Texas vs Texas Tech game locally on 1080 KRLD – Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)