Leach laments botched gambles

September, 7, 2008
9/07/08
1:54
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

RENO, Nev. -- Texas Tech coach Mike Leach sounded like a lot of losers who come to Nevada intent on knowing their limits but never quite budgeting for them as they leave.

But after two botched fourth-down gambles that came up short deep in his own territory, Leach said he felt fortunate to escape Mackay Stadium with a 35-19 victory over Nevada.

"I thought I gambled stupid and it was just dumb," Leach said. "Being in Reno, I guess I got the bug. I was stuck in a hotel where you don't have any clocks and they were pumping oxygen in there. I thought it was my lucky day, we won the game."

Leach twice went on fourth down plays inside his own 30. But Aaron Crawford and Graham Harrell were stopped short to set the stage for two Nevada field goals that kept the Wolf Pack in the game.

But the Tech defense stepped up both times, keeping Nevada out of the end zone until the end of the game.

It made Leach appreciative of the gambles of Hall of Fame Nevada coach Chris Ault, who converted a couple of big plays that made the Tech coach marvel after the game.

"Chris probably gambled and has more expertise," Leach said. "He knows what not to do and he's been at it for a long time. I felt like they made us squander at least the first half and our defense bailed us out."

The earlier misses didn't keep Leach from gambling a third time, which proved to, finally, be lucky. Harrell converted a fourth-and-2 situation from the Nevada 36. Three plays later, Shannon Woods added a clinching 21-yard run that accounted for Tech's final touchdown.

Ault wasn't as lucky later in the game, when he failed to convert an onside kick after a field goal had cut the Tech margin to 14-12 late in the game.

Tech's superior talent eventually won out. But it didn't keep Leach from sounding like many tourists who bust out at the casinos intent on hitting a big score.

Unlike them, however, Leach still won what he ultimately set out to do when he arrived in the Silver State.

"We did win the game, but I'm down a couple of hundred bucks," Leach said. "I feel fortunate we stepped up and we were able to win the game."

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