Bold calls inspire Texas Tech

NORMAN, Okla. -- People across the nation were wondering what was going through the mind of Tommy Tuberville.

With his team appearing on the cusp of an upset win, the Texas Tech coach called a fake punt late in the third quarter while holding a 14-point lead over Oklahoma.

The play failed, but the message was sent.

Texas Tech had come to Norman willing to take any risk necessary to upset the Sooners.

Tuberville's aggressive mindset paid off as Texas Tech knocked off the No. 3-ranked Sooners 41-38 at Owen Field on Saturday night. The Red Raiders' win snapped OU's 39-game home winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation until Saturday.

"We came in and played loose," Tuberville said. "I told them when we got on the bus to go to the airport, 'No matter what happens, this is going to be a fun game.' I told them we are going to fake a punt, we are going to do something to try to win this game."

Tuberville lived up to those words as the Red Raiders went for it twice on fourth down in the red zone, converting one of those attempts for a touchdown, in addition to the fake punt call.

"If I look back on it I wouldn't do it again," Tuberville said of the failed fake punt. "But I think they appreciated, 'Hey, Coach is trying to win this game. He actually thinks we are going to win this game, let's keep it going.' Sometimes you don't make it, but it gets your players fired up."

In his second season at Texas Tech, Tuberville set the tone for the game early in the second quarter with the game tied at 7. One play after his team was stuffed for no gain on third-and-goal at the OU 1-yard line, Tuberville went for it on fourth down and the Red Raiders converted with a touchdown run from quarterback Seth Doege.

"We want to have their backs when they make a call like that," receiver Alex Torres said. "Because they trust in us. When our coaches trust us that much, we want to repay them."

Tuberville's confidence in his team, and willingness to take the blame if his risk-taking failed, showed with that call. It sent a message to his team that he refused to play scared and would take risks if he felt it would lead to a win.

"When they're out there making gutsy calls, it's on us to get the job done," Torres said of Tuberville's aggressiveness. "Those gutsy calls, they change the momentum in games. They're huge. That's what really swings momentum and momentum is huge in a game like this."

It's easy to get intimidated as a visiting team coming into Norman. The sellout crowds and prospect of battling one of the nation's top teams create an uncomfortable environment for visitors.

Tech didn't let the atmosphere impact them, attacking the Sooners' defense for 41 points and 572 total yards, including 441 passing yards from Doege. The Red Raiders controlled the game throughout, taking a 31-7 lead early in the second half then holding off a late rally from the Sooners.

"We knew we were a good football team so we had a lot of confidence coming in," said Doege, who finished 33-of-52 for four touchdowns. "But we knew Oklahoma was one of the top teams in the nation, so we knew we had to play our best game to give us a shot."

They knew they had to play their best game and play to win. They did both, and they sent ripples throughout the college football landscape by handing the undefeated Sooners, one of the favorites to earn a BCS title berth, their first loss of the season.

"When you go on the road and beat a [No. 3] team, it's really special," Tuberville said.

Brandon Chatmon covers University of Oklahoma sports and recruiting for SoonerNation.

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