Brooks powers Texas Tech past UCF 24-23 as blocked PAT plays key role

Sun, Nov 19, 2023

Brooks powers Texas Tech past UCF 24-23 as blocked PAT plays key role

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Tahj Brooks ran for a career-high 182 yards while powering a game-clinching drive after E'Maurion Banks blocked a potential tying extra-point kick, and Texas Tech rallied for a 24-23 victory over UCF on Saturday night.

Behren Morton threw for two touchdowns in the home finale as the Red Raiders (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) won their third consecutive game in a battle for bowl eligibility. In coach Joey McGuire's debut last season, Texas Tech won its final four games, including a Texas Bowl victory over Mississippi.

The Knights (5-6, 2-6), making their Big 12 debut, will have to win at home against Houston next weekend to secure an eighth consecutive season of bowl eligibility.

UCF couldn't hold a 14-0 lead, didn't get any points from inside the Texas Tech 5-yard line by letting time run out before halftime and settled for a short field goal on fourth-and-3 when trailing by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

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Despite all that, the Knights were a PAT away from a tie after John Rhys Plumlee's 71-yard touchdown pass to Javon Baker with 5:30 remaining.

Colton Boomer had made 85 consecutive PATs when a leaping Banks in the middle of the line got a hand on the kick to keep the Red Raiders in front 24-23.

The Red Raiders then ran off the final 5 1/2 minutes behind Brooks, who carried eight times for 34 yards in the nine plays before Morton kneeled down twice.

Morton had a first-down pass during the drive, and the clincher was a 4-yard run from Brooks on second-and-3 with 1:16 remaining. Brooks scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 13-yard run late in the third quarter.

UCF led 14-0 after the kicker Boomer ran 24 yards on a fake field goal to set up Harvey's second TD run of the first quarter, a 1-yarder.

The Red Raiders, who will finish with a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008-09 under the late Mike Leach, got even with Morton's scoring tosses of 15 yards to Drae McCray and 19 yards to Mason Tharp.

The Knights were in position to score before the end of the half. Out of timeouts with the clock running inside 15 seconds, Plumlee threw a shuffle pass to Harvey, who was stopped at the 2. UCF didn't come close to getting off a play to stop the clock.


UCF: The Knights had another strong effort after blowing out then-No. 15 Oklahoma State. They will think about the chances that got away, particularly if they can't extend their streak of bowl eligibility. Boomer also missed a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Texas Tech: Brooks won the battle of two of the nation's top 10 running backs by beating his previous career best of 170 against Baylor last month. Brooks has at least 100 yards in eight of the past nine games. Harvey finished with 78 yards, ending a five-game run of at least 100 yards that was the longest at UCF since 2007.


UCF: The Knights and Cougars, who play next Saturday, are first-time members of the Big 12 after spending the past 10 seasons together in the American Athletic Conference.

Texas Tech: Visits Texas on Friday in the last scheduled meeting between the longtime rivals.

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