Big 12: Bethel Johnson
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kingsbury and Long hook up in passing duel for the ages
Date: Oct. 5, 2002
Place: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Score: Texas Tech 48, Texas A&M 47 (OT)
The Texas A&M-Texas Tech rivalry has developed into one of the country's most bitter blood feuds in the last few years. The Red Raiders have proved difficult for Texas A&M ever since Mike Leach took over in 2000.
One of the most memorable games in the rivalry wasn't settled until one of the wildest passing shootouts in conference history transpired.
Kliff Kingsbury was judged to be one of the nation's top quarterbacks in 2002, setting a conference record with six touchdown passes the week before the A&M game in a 49-0 beatdown of New Mexico.
Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Long wasn't expected to be nearly as proficient. Coming into the Tech game, he had thrown only one touchdown pass in his previous college career.
But that didn't faze him as he started quickly against the Tech secondary, blistering them for a 78-yard touchdown pass to Bethel Johnson on A&M's first offensive play of the game. He also added three other touchdown passes -- a 4-yard toss to Greg Porter, 9 yards to Terrence Murphy and 15 yards to Johnson -- to spark the No. 23 Aggies to a 28-17 halftime advantage.
Kingsbury was just as hot early, starting the game with 14 straight completions. But Long was more effective early, boosting the Aggies to a 35-17 lead on an 82-yard touchdown strike to Jamaar Taylor with 6:57 left in the third quarter.
That lead held until the fourth quarter when Kingsbury went to work.
The Red Raiders exploded for 21 unanswered points in a span of less than 10 minutes to take the lead after a 21-yard Kingsbury TD pass to Wes Welker, a 15-yard TD toss from Kingsbury to Taurean Henderson and a 88-yard punt return by Welker with 2:48 left. A two-point pass from Kingsbury to Anton Paige provided Tech with a 38-35 lead with 2:48 left.
The Aggies answered on a wild scoring play when running back Stacy Jones recovered a fumble by Porter at the Texas Tech 1 and carried it into the end zone with 1:40 left to extend A&M's lead to three. But kicker John Pierson missed the extra point to make it 41-38.
Kingsbury then engineered a seven-play 56-yard drive in only 98 seconds. It was capped by a 42-yard field goal by Robert Treece with two seconds left, tying the game at 41 and setting up the first overtime game in the history of the series.
The Aggies scored first in overtime on Long's seventh touchdown pass of the game, a 3-yarder to Terrence Thomas. But Pierson sent the conversion careening wide left, giving Tech an opening.
Four plays later, Kingsbury hooked up on an inside screen pass to Nehemiah Glover, who cut to the middle before scoring on a 10-yard reception. Treece's conversion gave the Red Raiders a wild 48-47 victory.
Kingsbury's heroics were particularly sweet considering he wanted to attend A&M coming out of high school. The Aggies never seriously recruited him and he ended up at Tech, where he left school as the most productive passer in school history.
The numbers: Kingsbury and Long combined for 841 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Kingsbury completed 49-of-59 passes for 474 yards and six touchdown passes; Long was 21 for 37 for 367 yards and a Big 12 record seven TD passes. At the time, the Aggies' 47 points were the most they have ever scored in a loss.
It was also the most points that A&M had allowed at Kyle Field since a 57-28 loss to Texas in 1977. The week before the game, Long threw a touchdown pass in his first career start. It snapped a string of seven straight A&M games without a touchdown pass. And Henderson produced 13 catches for 61 yards to pace Tech.
They said it, part I: "This is the biggest definitely. To do it against A&M -- a college I wanted to come to out of high school, and they didn't recruit me -- I made my point today," Kingsbury, who told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal that the win was particularly memorable to him.
They said it, part II: "All week long, I had a great week of practice. The snaps and holds were great. It was my fault. I thought the first one was good, but it just missed going through. The second one I pulled from the beginning, and I knew I missed it right away," Pierson, who described his missed extra points to reporters after the game.
They said it, part III: "I didn't see anybody on our sideline that didn't think we couldn't win," Tech coach Mike Leach, commenting on his team's 18-point fourth-quarter comeback.
The upshot: Texas Tech utilized momentum from the victory to charge to an upset victory over Texas later in the season. That triumph boosted the Red Raiders into a winner-take-all battle for the South Division title against Oklahoma that they lost, 60-15.
After that loss, they advanced to the Tangerine Bowl where they notched a 55-15 triumph over Clemson for their first bowl victory under Leach. The Red Raiders finished the season at 9-5.
A&M coach R.C. Slocum and the Aggies had trouble overcoming the Tech loss. The Aggies lost four of their final five games that season to finish 6-6. Slocum was fired after the final game of the season, a 50-20 loss at Texas, and replaced by Dennis Franchione.
Long started the remaining games of the season but was supplanted by Reggie McNeal as the Aggies' starter the following season. After the demotion, Long transferred to Sam Houston State following the 2003 season where he completed his college career.
18. Henery and Suh make Colorado blue.
19. Stunning OSU rally leads to Stoops' first home loss.
20. It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over.
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" against UNLV in 1999.