It didn’t take long for word to spread about Texas Tech’s 41-38 upset win Saturday night at Oklahoma, even if the game didn’t end until almost 2 a.m. EDT because of a long weather delay before the game started.
“I think after the game I had 60-some text messages,” said Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, a Boyle County High School graduate and former player at the University of Kentucky. “I got a lot of feedback from people back in Kentucky, family, former teammates at Kentucky, guys I¿played with at UMass and guys I worked with at Troy and Delaware.”
Texas Tech ended No. 3 Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak, the nation’s longest, and was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week by the Football Writers of America Association.
“It was really a great experience,” Brown, who is in his second at Texas Tech, said. “We got beat there 45-7 last year when we gave up 38 straight points after it was 7-7. And it could have been worse.
“This year we are a lot better. Our kids went in not intimidated because we had beaten them in Lubbock in 2009 and 2007. Our kids played super hard, played physical and the defense got some timely stops.”
Brown is being a bit modest because his offense also rolled up 570 yards, including 441 yards passing by quarterback Seth Doege. The Red Raiders rolled to a 31-7 lead, but Brown knew not to relax because he went to LSU with Troy in 2008 and watched his offense built a 31-3 lead midway of the third quarter before LSU rallied to win.
“They had won the national championship the year before and we knew they would make a run. But at Troy that year, we enabled them. The difference in this game was we got out to a 31-7 lead, they made a run and we were able to weather in by scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter,” Brown said.
“We feel we can move the ball and score points. We are playing a really high level offensively. The last four weeks we have been really good even though we had close losses to Texas A&M and Kansas State. We have got a really good quarterback who is a student of the game. He’s a great competitor and leader and is fun to coach. He gives us a chance to win every week and we have bunch of guys playing really hard. They are a fun group to coach.”
Texas Tech had big wins under former coach Mike Leach, a coach who prided himself on his offensive capability, too. However, Brown says this win was a “huge program win” for various reasons.
Remember, Oklahoma was ranked No.1 in the coaches’ poll and Brown says Tech had not won there in a “long, long time” before Saturday.
“It was huge to score 41 points and gain over 500 yards. That’s impressive,” he said.
It also helped put Texas Tech back on the national scene without Leach, the controversial coach who made off-field headlines no school wants even though he did win big. Now other places — like Kentucky — can talk about Leach while the Texas Tech fans savor the nation’s biggest upset this season.
“This was probably as big as any win they have had here,” Brown said. “We are not dealing with the past. We are dealing in the present and this win was really good for our kids and program.”
The win created some speculation in the Bluegrass about whether Brown would ever be interested in returning to UK to coach. Obviously, with family ties in the state, he would have to be interested. However, bottom line today is that Texas Tech has better athletes and a much better chance to win, and Brown is much better off there as he tries to continue his rapid rise in the college football ranks.
But he does keep up with the Wildcats and his former Boyle coach, Chuck Smith, UK’s recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach.
“I watched the whole game Saturday (against Jacksonville State) and thought they played better,” said Brown, who exchanges text messages with Smith but has not talked to him during the season. “I hope they can really get things going now the way they want.”