LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Nebraska has never looked this bad.
Texas Tech handed the Cornhuskers the worst loss in their
storied 114-year history Saturday night, with Sonny Cumbie throwing
for 436 yards and five touchdowns in a 70-10 win.
"I'm very disappointed in our team's effort," first-year coach
Bill Callahan said. "We are certainly capable of being a better
ball club. It just came down to turnovers and we had a lot of them
in the second half."
Tech (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) forced seven turnovers and recorded its
first victory in eight tries against Nebraska (3-2, 1-1 Big 12),
which set school records for points allowed and margin of defeat.
Before Saturday, the most points scored against Nebraska came in
a 62-36 loss to Colorado in 2001. Nebraska's largest previous
margin of defeat was 54, set in a 54-0 loss to Minnesota in 1943
and matched in a 54-0 loss to Indiana in 1944 and a 61-7 loss to
Minnesota in 1945.
Tech coach Mike Leach said he didn't know about the record until
about five minutes remained.
"We were just trying to play efficiently," he said.
It was a numbing low for a longtime power that hasn't contended
for a national title in recent years.
The Huskers won two national championships in the 1970s under
Bob Devaney and three more in the 1990s under Tom Osborne. They had
nine wins or more for 33 straight seasons and spent 54 straight
weeks in the AP Top 10 before going 7-7 in 2002 under Frank Solich.
Solich replaced the retired Osborne in 1998 but was fired after
last season despite going 10-3 and finishing 58-19 in six seasons.
Callahan was brought in after a long search, and the former
Oakland Raiders coach replaced Nebraska's traditional run-first
mentality with an offense that emphasized the short pass.
But Saturday, the passing game backfired on Nebraska, which
threw five interceptions and set up easy Tech scores. Four
interceptions and both Nebraska fumbles came after halftime. And
Tech converted most into scores.
"We kept allowing them opportunities to keep scoring and we
just basically gave the game away," Nebraska safety Daniel
Bullocks said. "They took advantage of our mistakes."
Nebraska scored to make it 21-10 after halftime, and Callahan
thought his team still had a chance.
"I thought we had Tech right where we wanted them," he said.
"I also felt the game was in reach as we made it a two-possession
game and we had a chance to come back, but it just turned into a
Five of Tech's last six possessions began in Nebraska territory:
at the 41, 14, 8, 6 and 12.
"I never saw anything like it," Tech defensive end Adell
Duckett said. "The last nine minutes took forever. Everyone got
involved, it was good stuff."
Cumbie, who came into the game leading the nation in passing
yards at 417 yards a game, threw TD passes of 22, 80, 6, 3 and 2
yards. It was his sixth straight game of more than 350 yards
passing and his fourth of more than 400 yards this season.
Cumbie completed 44 of 56 passes, including 14 straight in the
third quarter, and had one interception. His longest TD pass came
late in the first half when he found Jarrett Hicks on the left
sideline for an 80-yarder that made it 21-3.
It was the longest TD pass by Tech since Leach brought his
aerial offense five years ago. The longest previous pass came in
Tech's 49-45 win over Mississippi last season when B.J. Symons
threw a 70-yard TD toss to Carlos Francis.
Hicks said the team was looking for a strong rebound after its
28-13 loss at Oklahoma last week.
"The biggest thing is we play more relaxed at home in front of
our own fans," said Hicks, who caught three passes for 103 yards.
"Once the crowd gets behind us, I don't think there's anybody that
can stop us."
Tech has scored 70 points in each of its two home games this
year. The Red Raiders beat TCU 70-35 in September after trailing by
Tech running back Taurean Henderson scored the first rushing
touchdown against Nebraska in the past 26 quarters when he capped
an 86-yard drive on a 3-yard run to give the Red Raiders a 14-0
lead early in the second quarter.
Henderson scored three touchdowns, one passing and two rushing.
Johnnie Mack also scored three.
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