No. 20 Texas Tech looks to rebound against Texas
By BETSY BLANEY
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas coach Mack Brown has seen quarterbacks such as Seth Doege at Texas Tech.
On Saturday, Doege and the No. 20 Red Raiders' receiving corps will challenge a Texas pass defense that's giving up 229 yards a game, while Texas Tech is averaging 358 yards through the air.
Brown thinks Doege, who's thrown for 30 touchdowns and 2,540 yards this season, is one of the nation's best quarterbacks and is similar in accuracy and competitiveness to former Red Raiders signal-callers Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury.
Doege deserves to be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy, Brown said.
"His name should be right in the middle of that list, in my estimation," Brown said. "He's the No. 7 passer in the country, No. 1 in TD passes. I don't know how you keep that guy out of the Heisman race as you look at it."
Doege got press as a dark-horse contender for the Heisman before the Red Raiders fell 55-24 at No. 3 Kansas State last week. Going into that game, Doege had thrown 13 touchdowns in wins over West Virginia and TCU.
Against the Horned Frogs he found Alex Torres in the middle of the end zone for a career-best seventh touchdown in the Red Raiders' 56-53 win in triple overtime in Fort Worth.
Texas has won back-to-back games, most recently a slim 21-17 victory at Kansas. Starter David Ash was pulled from the game and backup Case McCoy's one-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left gave the Longhorns the win.
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said the defense will be prepared to play against Ash, who was named the starter for Saturday's game earlier his week.
"But we'll prepare for both" quarterbacks, he said. "But most of the time, and we'll do it in this game, is prepare for the offense, because you can't run two different offenses."
Brown said he wouldn't hesitate to turn to McCoy again if circumstances warrant taking Ash out. He called it a "tremendous situation" to have two good choices.
"That is no different than any other position except it gets more publicity," he said. "You play the guy that does the best. Throughout the year David has done a great job. Saturday he struggled, and Case did the best."
Texas has won the last three games against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders last beat the Longhorns in 2008 when Harrell hit Michael Crabtree for a touchdown in the final seconds of the game.
Crabtree was expected to be at Saturday's game. He plays for the San Francisco 49ers, who have an open date Sunday.
Doege wants to see it as just another game, one in which the offense plays well in both halves.
Against the Wildcats, the Red Raiders scored just two touchdowns in the second half. Had Texas Tech won the two teams would be tied for first in the Big 12 and the Red Raiders would still have a shot at a BCS bowl.
"I think there is a little fire burning inside of us after what happened on Saturday because that was such a great opportunity for us," Doege said. "Just because we get hit in the mouth or just because a big-time play turns negative and maybe shifts the momentum, we have to learn to fight back and understand we can still make plays to get us back in the football game."
The in-state rivalry between the two schools makes the week fun. Longhorns offensive guard Mason Walters was a teammate of Doege's at Frenship High near Lubbock. Doege, though, had knee injuries that kept him from playing his junior and senior years.
The two have remained friends and get together whenever Walters returns to visit his parents.
"We're still buddies," Doege said. But "during this week we're not that close of friends."
On the Longhorns side, Johnathan Gray has family ties to Texas Tech. His father James Gray was a running back for the Red Raiders in the late 1980s. He still holds the record for career rushing touchdowns (52) and is second in career rushing with 4,066 yards.
The younger Gray, who's gotten a touchdown and 427 yards on 81 carries, will start his first game Saturday,
"I'm going to Texas, they went to Tech," Johnathan Gray said. "It's kind of a rivalry in the house. They talk smack. I just be quiet and wait till the results after the game."
Updated November 2, 2012