- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2008

LUBBOCK, Texas | So it wasn’t simply the emotion of playing No. 1 at home that brought out the best in Texas Tech last week. The Red Raiders just might be that good.

Proving the No. 2 ranking and win over Texas was no fluke, Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree picked up where they left off, scoring touchdown after touchdown and turning a showdown with No. 8 Oklahoma State into a 56-20 rout Saturday night.

After losing a fumble on the game-opening drive, Harrell led the Red Raiders to touchdowns on their next seven drives, capping three of them with touchdown passes to Crabtree, the big, strong sophomore who might be the nation’s most dangerous receiver.

Now that Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0 Big 12) has gotten by two straight top-10 foes, one more awaits: No. 6 Oklahoma. In Norman.

At least the Red Raiders have next weekend off to get ready for yet another game that will be billed as the most important in school history. The stakes will be high - the biggest remaining obstacle to winning the Big 12 South, earning a spot in the conference title game and playing their way into the national championship game.

Harrell finished 40-for-50 for 456 yards and six touchdowns. He lost two fumbles but didn’t throw an interception and wasn’t sacked. He was rarely even pressured as Texas Tech won its 12th straight game, the longest streak in the nation and best in school history.

Crabtree caught eight passes for 89 yards and the three scores. Nine other Red Raiders caught passes on the way to piling up 629 yards - still less than the 718 yards gained in a 49-45 loss to Oklahoma State last year, a game best remembered for the postgame “I’m a man! I’m 40!” rant by Cowboys coach Mike Gundy.

A more-composed Gundy and Oklahoma State (8-2, 4-2) came into this game seeking the same goals as Texas Tech. If the Cowboys had won, there would’ve been a four-way tie atop the division with the Sooners their last remaining obstacle, too.

Things looked good for them early, when Kendall Hunter scored on a 2-yard run three plays after Oklahoma State’s recovery of a fumbled snap by Harrell. The Cowboys led 7-0 after only 2:30 and the crowd that provided such a boost against Texas the previous Saturday night went silent.

Yet Harrell, the nation’s leading passer, marched the Red Raiders 80 yards in five plays. He took them 70 yards on the next drive, then 97 and 72, spreading the ball around, while saving the most important plays for his main man, Crabtree. It was 28-14 at the half and Texas Tech already had 312 yards against a defense allowing an average of 357.4 yards per game.

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