Potts couldn't beat Texas but still earns plaudits

September, 20, 2009
9/20/09
1:38
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


AUSTIN, Texas -- Taylor Potts couldn’t beat Texas in his first road start. But the Texas Tech quarterback earned praise for how close he came to pulling off that feat.

Brendan Maloney/US Presswire
Taylor Potts withstood a ferocious pass rush to throw for 420 yards and three TDs in his first road start.
Potts withstood a furious Longhorn pass rush and didn’t stop throwing. He was still firing away even as the Longhorns claimed a tough 34-24 victory.

“He was really, really tough,” Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. “He got hit hard tonight. It’s a rare, rare quarterback -- and some great quarterbacks can’t do what he did -- and that’s to get hit really, really hard, come back on the next play and next drive. He did that and he did not flinch.”

Potts completed 46 of 62 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns, directing the Red Raiders on two scoring drives to start the second half after Texas Tech had struggled with only three points in the first half.

Texas players were marveling at the way he came back from a devastating blindside fourth-quarter sack from Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle. Potts appeared to take a helmet-to-helmet hit from Kindle, but bounced backed without recoiling and was back trying to lead his team again on the next drive.

“I got hit, turned the ball over and the game wasn’t over,” Potts said. “And we had to try and get another score. I didn’t want to let my teammates down. I was voted captain. If I’m lying on the ground hurt, that’s not a good captain.”

Texas players said that Potts’ performance was reminiscent of other prolific Tech quarterbacks in the past, with a twist. They said his toughness may set him apart from the others.

“Potts is a great quarterback,” Texas defensive end Sam Acho said. “I watched him a little on tape and he looked good. But in real life, he was even better. We knew he would be a challenge. He’ll be a good one. He played great under pressure.”

The Red Raiders dictated the tempo in the first half by operating out of a no-huddle offense. But they had repeated troubles with penalties -- Tech had 58 of its 108 penalty yards in the first half -- and couldn’t overcome repeatedly being in long-yardage situations.

“In the first half we played a little sporadic,” said Potts, who came within three completions of breaking the school’s single-game completion record. “But in the second half, I felt like we played like ourselves.”

Some of the thinking was that Texas would capitalize by moving the game from its projected starting time in early November to becoming Potts’ first start on the road.

Texas coach Mack Brown didn’t go along with that thinking after watching Potts' show of passing, tenacity and toughness.

“You have to give Taylor Potts credit,” Brown said. “Unbelievable passing. I stood there watching and couldn’t believe some of their passing. I thought it was a credit to him for playing as well as he did.”

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