LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas didn't fade.
Not this time. Not like 2011. But that's the point: This isn't 2011. That much was clear when Texas stood right back up after taking Texas Tech's best punches for 15 minutes and delivered a knockout in the fourth. A year ago? Two? Texas hides. But in 2012, after two losses and everyone doubting this team, there the No. 23 Longhorns (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) were, standing tall and victorious with a 31-22 win against No. 18 Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3) in front of a record crowd of 60,879 at Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
"Probably we shocked most people,'' quarterback David Ash said.
The thing is, though, the players didn't shock themselves. That's what can't be lost in this. While shots were being taken after the loss to Oklahoma and the less-than-impressive win over Kansas, Texas ducked, covered and came together. Somewhere, within the players, despite all the evidence to the contrary, this remained a team that believed it had the potential to win.
It showed that potential throughout the game against Tech.
Ash, a week after being yanked, was 11-of-19 for 264 yards with three touchdowns. Running back Johnathan Gray posted his second consecutive 100-yard game. Wide receiver Mike Davis was more wide open than the landscape that surrounds this stadium. He had touchdown catches of 75 and 25 yards as well as a 54-yard grab.
And then there was the defense. Tech may have made it to the red zone five times, but it had three field goals to only two touchdowns. Yards, not points. Just like defensive coordinator Manny Diaz had been preaching all season.
"This is more of what we expected to start the season,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said.
"I knew this was the way we could play since two-a-days,'' added safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Now is not the time to quibble over why it took so long to arrive. Instead Texas has to figure out how to keep it around.
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