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Saturday, October 25, 2008
McBath sparks Tech's turnover binge

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Darcel McBath had never experienced anything like it -- three interceptions in less than six minutes were bigger than anything he could have imagined. Even bigger than scoring multiple touchdowns in a matter of minutes back on the dusty playgrounds in his hometown of Gainesville, Texas.

 
  Douglas Jones/US Presswire
  Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) is sacked by Texas Tech defensive end McKinner Dixon (43) during the first half at Memorial Stadium.

"It wasn't like pee-wee football or something," McBath said. "I was just glad I could make some plays when I had the chance."

Kansas' first three possessions of the second half were a turnover hat trick for McBath, leading to Tech's 63-21 blowout victory. And they typified the in-game adjustments that Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill has cooked up during recent games.

The Red Raiders struggled defensively against Nebraska two games ago and were torched for 274 yards in the first half against Texas A&M last week. But they limited the Aggies to no offensive points and 32 yards in the second half to spark a comeback victory.

This week, after the first four possessions of the game resulted in a 14-all deadlock, the Red Raiders followed the pattern of the last two games.

"They were calm in the A&M game and they were calm today," McNeill said. "These kids have big ears and big eyes and they just listened."

But none more than McBath, who had been blistered for two touchdowns by Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing earlier in the game.

"On the first one, I slipped on the backside and made it hard on Danny (Tech strong safety Daniel Charbonnet)," McBath said. "That was on me and the second one was on me, too."

The Tech secondary benefited from consistent four-man pressure provided by the defensive line. It didn't always produce sacks, but provided enough steady pressure that it clearly rattled Reesing as the game went on.

Reesing had thrown only five interceptions in 285 attempts coming into Saturday's game. But he was picked off three times by McBath during a span of four Kansas offensive snaps.

It enabled McBath to tie the school single-game record for interceptions that was set earlier this season by Charbonnet against SMU.

"I've never had that happen to me in a lot of years of football to have back-to-back mistakes like that," said Reesing, who also lost a fumble earlier in the game. "Sometimes, when things go bad, they go really bad. You can't sugarcoat them. We just didn't play well in the second half."

The biggest reason for the 42-0 blitz that enabled the Red Raiders to put the game away was the Tech defense. Kansas blistered Tech for 10 first downs in the first quarter. But during the pivotal run, Kansas was limited to two first downs, 15 plays and 19 yards.

"We adjusted on some things and the kids caught on well," McNeill said. "They didn't panic. They keep their poise and believed in what we tell them."