Texas Tech a tough host for Longhorns

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Traveling to Texas Tech has never been kind to Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns.

The screaming Red Raiders fans. The insults. The howling wind.

The losses.

Brown is 3-3 in six trips to Lubbock and all three losses have cost Texas dearly in the chase for Big 12 and national championships. None was more devastating than a last-second 39-33 defeat on Michael Crabtree’s highlight catch of the 2008 college football season.

The No. 6 Longhorns (2-0) trek back out to Lubbock this weekend with a new quarterback and expectations of another zany night in the wild, wild West.

“It’s a fun challenge,” Brown said Monday. “We’re going to find out who we are Saturday night.”

Longhorns players say that while Jones AT&T Stadium is on the small side _ it only seats 60,454 _ it is one of the toughest venues in the Big 12.

“Lubbock is an awesome place to play. The whole environment (is crazy),” said junior safety Blake Gideon. “It’s going to be a blast.”

Gideon and senior cornerback Curtis Brown expect special attention from Red Raiders fans. Both were directly involved in the two most critical plays of the 2008 game.

Gideon, then a freshman, dropped what looked like an easy interception on Tech’s final drive. One play later, Crabtree beat Brown and Earl Thomas on the sideline to score with 1 second left.

Curtis Brown sees replays of the catch “every time I turn on the TV” but says it doesn’t bother him.

“It was just a play made by a good player. He just made it against me,” Brown said.

The loss was the Longhorns’ only one of the 2008 season. It felt even worse when the Big 12 tiebreaker sent Oklahoma to the championship game instead of them.

Texas Tech (2-0) has a way of spoiling Texas’ championship hopes.

In 1998, Brown’s first season, a win in Lubbock would have set up a showdown with Texas A&M the next week for the South Division title. The Red Raiders won a back-and-forth contest 42-35. Texas’ loss gave the Aggies the division crown two weeks before Texas beat Texas A&M in the regular season finale.

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