LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman brought out some film from the last couple of seasons this past week to remind his players how it feels to win.
The No. 24 Aggies had lost two straight after holding double-digits leads at halftime when they came into Lubbock.
They led again at halftime, 30-21 against Texas Tech on Saturday night. This time the Aggies prevailed.
“It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had this feeling,” Sherman said after the 45-40 win. “We went back down memory lane a little bit and relieved some of those feelings. And we had that same feeling in there today.”
Ryan Tannehill ran for two touchdowns and threw for another for the Aggies.
“That feeling in the locker room makes it all worth it,” Tannehill said. “You’re in there with your closest brothers, and you’re having a good time. To me that’s the best feeling you have.”
Texas A&M finally put together four quarters, despite being outscored 20-14 in the second half.
The Aggies (3-2, 1-1) ran for 205 yards on 46 carries.
Seth Doege threw for three touchdowns and 391 yards to lead Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1). Eric Stephens injured his knee late in the third quarter and had 122 yards on 22 carries.
“We hate to lose Eric Stephens,” Tuberville said. “It doesn’t look good.”
Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael each ran for a score for Texas A&M.
Tannehill found Michael Lamothe early in the fourth quarter for a 5-yard TD to put the Aggies up 45-30.
Sherman said he weighted his game plan toward the run. There were 46 rushing plays and 16 passes.
“I didn’t want this to be a throw-fest out there,” Sherman said. “I wanted to have some balance in running the football. It worked for us so we stayed with it.”
Tannehill’s pass to Lamothe proved crucial. Doege came back and found Alex Torres on a 20-yard TD pass with 31 seconds remaining in the game to pull within 45-40.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the end but made too many mistakes,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We couldn’t stop their run. We played much better but didn’t get anything going offensively in the third quarter.”
The game’s momentum turned on a blocked field goal by the Aggies in the third quarter. Terrence Frederick put A&M up 38-23 when he picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched along the near sideline for the touchdown. Dustin Harris was the Aggie who got his hand on the 50-yard attempt by Donnie Carona.
That score took the air out of the Red Raiders and their fans.
A roughing the kicker penalty on the Aggies earlier in the third quarter gave Texas Tech another shot at scoring. The Red Raiders got only a field goal, though, to pull within 31-23. Steven Terrell appeared to have be pushed into Red Raiders punter Ryan Erxleben on fourth-and-10 from Texas Tech’s 35.
Doege found a wide open Torres for a 22-yard gain and then was sacked for a 7-yard loss. Donnie Carona finished the drive with a 49-yard field goal — his second from that distance as the Red Raiders had to settle for 3-pointers throughout the game.
“We had to kick too many field goals and too much time ran off the clock,” Tuberville said. “We’re a much better team than we were on the first of September.”
Both offenses played fast and the defenses struggled to get to the line in time.
Stephens scored on a 4-yard run to pull Tech within 24-20 late in the first half. Texas Tech got big help on the scoring drive from back-to-back pass interference penalties.
Tannehill did it all in the first half. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 156 yards. He also rushed for 55 yards and the two rushing touchdowns.
Texas Tech keep pace until settling for a 27-yard field goal to trail 17-13.
The day started poorly for Texas A&M. The Aggies found their team buses were vandalized overnight Friday. Bus drivers found manure inside and outside the four vehicles.
A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said Saturday manure went “from one end to the other” inside one bus that couldn’t be locked. The others had manure along the exterior. He tweeted that the outsides of all the buses had vulgarities “spray painted” on them.
“Classy,” ended his first tweet.
The team was accompanied school security and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and no official report was made to the agency, an email from Aggies spokesman Brad Marquardt stated.
Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt called the vandalism “unfortunate” and that it doesn’t “represent who we are as a group.”