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October 23, 2010

Tech earns first win in Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. -- Matt Williams' 36-yard field goal with 2:09 left capped Texas Tech's comeback from a 10-point deficit and gave the Red Raiders a 27-24 win over Colorado on Saturday.

The Red Raiders (4-3, 2/3 Big 12) started the game-winning drive at midfield after Austin Zouzalik thwarted the Buffaloes' rugby punt strategy by grabbing the line-drive at his 47.

After Williams' field goal, the Buffaloes (3-4, 0-3) turned the ball over on downs at their own 22 with 1:44 left when Cody Hawkins misfired on three throws and completed another for 2 yards.

The Buffaloes got the ball back with 16 seconds left when the Red Raiders decided not to go for a field goal but Hawkins threw two more incompletions before completing his final pass, which was fumbled away.

Hawkins replaced injured starter Tyler Hansen (ribs) late in the first half and led the Buffaloes to a field goal that gave them a 10-7 halftime lead. He then hooked up for two scores with freshman Paul Richardson as the Buffs built a 24-14 lead.

Williams' 40-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 24-17, and after Aric Goodman was wide right on a 35-yard attempt for Colorado, the Red Raiders drove 80 yards in seven plays and tied it on Taylor Potts' 7-yard touchdown pass to Lyle Leong with 11 minutes left.

The Red Raiders were about to go ahead when Colorado cornerback Jalil Brown intercepted a fade pass in his end zone that was intended for Detron Lewis with six minutes remaining.

But the Buffs were forced to punt and that's when their strategy, which they hoped would result in a bouncing ball down the field, was thwarted by Zouzalik.

Potts hit Lewis for 14 yards and Baron Batch ran for 14 more, setting up Williams' game-winner.

After a slow start, Potts completed 24 of 38 passes for 286 yards and two TDs. Alex Torres caught six passes for 133 yards, and Lewis had a half dozen receptions that covered 84 yards.

Hawkins finished 22 of 43 for 276 yards and two TDs.

For a while it looked like Hawkins would overshadow Potts. He hooked up with Richardson for TD passes of 3 and 60 yards as Richardson became the first freshman in school history to catch two touchdown throws in a game.

Hansen was having a good game when he got hurt, completing all but one of his 10 passes and running for the game's first score. But he was blasted by linebacker Tyrone Sonier just as he pitched the ball to tailback Rodney Stewart on an option play late in the first half.

Hansen stayed down for several minutes before being escorted off the field and into the locker room.

Hawkins came in and completed 6 of 9 passes for 77 yards but the Buffs' drive stalled at the 3 and Goodman's 23-yard field goal gave Colorado a 10-7 halftime lead.

Hansen returned to the sideline for the second half but Hawkins stayed in the game.

In between his two TD throws to Richardson, the Red Raiders capped a 93-yard drive with Potts' 15-yard frozen rope touchdown throw to Torres.

In the first half, Hansen's 1-yard keeper put Colorado ahead 7-0, and the Red Raiders, who came in averaging 315 yards passing, had trouble getting going in Boulder's thin air.

Finally, Potts hit Torres for a 17-yard gain and Eric Stephens reeled off a 25-yard run after he decked out freshman safety Terrel Smith at the line of scrimmage. Smith was making his debut after discarding his redshirt in the face of an injury epidemic in the Buffs' defensive backfield, where five players have suffered serious injuries.

Smith made up for his miscue with several key tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

Colorado was without its best pass rusher as defensive end Josh Hartigan was out with a sprained ankle, and the Buffs lost linebacker Jon Major to an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.


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