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Twice this season Texas has beaten Texas Tech, and twice they’ve had to eclipse a significant deficit to do so. The Longhorns traveled to Lubbock Saturday for what looked like a trap conference match. The ‘Horns lead the Texas league going in and Tech was in last place, but UT coach Butch Neuenschwander knew he’d have a game on his hands, regardless of the league table.
“It was kind of like I predicted and told the boys, that these guys had nothing to lose and they were going to come out hard and hitting hard,” Neuenschwander said. “We made mistakes right off the bat and boom, they were up 17-0.”
Texas has struggled all season with their pace out of the gate, so they’d been in this position before. Their hole was dug with a lot of penalties, handling errors and poor decisions, and they got themselves out of said hole with resolve and better poise.
“It was just reducing the amount of penalties. We had like seven penalties in the first half, so it was just reducing the penalties, and just calming down and not forcing the pass,” said Neuenschwander. “We forced too many passes in the first 20 minutes of the match, but we knew what we were capable of. My leaders on the team just rallied the guys around and went forward.”
Texas was able to close the gap to 17-14 by halftime, and with momentum on their side starting the second half, they found themselves up 24-20 with 15 minutes to go when they went down to 14 players after a tight-five sin bin for a dangerous tackle, putting the game in serious jeopardy once more.
The Longhorns survived their 10-minute disadvantage unharmed, and once at full strength again punched in an unconverted try to seal the 29-20 win. Improving to 4-1 in league play, the Longhorns are still atop the Texas table. However, Texas State’s 32-12 win at Sam Houston Saturday keeps the 'Horns within their reach.
The Marauders had a bit of a sluggish first half in Huntsville and led by just eight at intermission, but exploded in the second stanza, outscoring Sam Houston 17-5. The league title will be decided Friday night, when the Longhorns face TSU in San Marcos under the lights.