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October 18, 2008COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Graham Harrell threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more and No. 7 Texas Tech beat Texas A&M 43-25 on Saturday, giving the Red Raiders their best start in 32 years.
Harrell completed 44 of 56 passes for 450 yards as the Red Raiders moved to 7-0 -- 3-0 in the Big 12 -- after beating A&M for the seventh time in eight meetings.
Jerrod Johnson completed 26 of 39 passes for 283 yards for the Aggies (2-5, 0-3 Big 12), who led 23-20 at halftime. A&M gained outgained Texas Tech 274-254 in the first half, but mustered only 32 yards and five first downs in the second.
Michael Crabtree caught two touchdowns and Baron Batch rushed for 87 yards and another score.
Texas Tech led 36-25 with 24 seconds left when coach Mike Leach called time out and asked referees to review a run by Shannon Woods to the 1-yard line. Harrell scored a meaningless touchdown on the next play.
Randy Bullock kicked three field goals for A&M, including an early 49-yarder that put them up 3-0. Crabtree then ran back his first career kickoff return 50 yards to the Texas A&M 42. He caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Harrell six plays later.
Johnson hurt his right knee after leading the Aggies to the Texas Tech 18. Johnson took a late hit from Tech defensive end Brandon Williams after completing a pass to Terrence McCoy. Johnson fell backward over another defender. After trainers checked on him, Johnson walked off the field on his own.
Senior quarterback Stephen McGee, who sat out the last two games with a sprained shoulder, came in and threw a short touchdown pass to Ryan Tannehill. McGee beat out Johnson for the starting job in the preseason. He was hurt in A&M's second game and hadn't played since re-aggravated the injury against Army on Sept. 27.
While Johnson pedaled on a stationary bike, Batch finished a quick Texas Tech drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. A&M's Lucas Patterson blocked Cory Fowler's extra-point kick.
Johnson returned for the next series and got up limping after another hard hit by Williams. But Johnson kept the Aggies on the move, finding Tannehill for a 44-yard gain. Bullock kicked a 28-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the half to tie the game at 13-all.
Crabtree twisted his left ankle on the kickoff and hobbled off the field. Harrell overthrew a receiver and A&M safety Trent Hunter intercepted. Harrell had thrown only three interceptions in 262 attempts coming into the game.
Bullock kicked another field goal with 6:29 left in the half to put A&M ahead 16-13. Crabtree returned for Texas Tech's next possession, which ended on Harrell's 8-yard touchdown pass to Batch.
A holding penalty wiped out a 78-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Jeff Fuller and A&M punted with just over 2 minutes left before halftime.
Tramain Swindall caught a 37-yard pass from Harrell, then fumbled near midfield. Tannehill made a diving catch for a 40-yard gain on the next play and Mike Goodson's 1-yard touchdown run put the Aggies ahead 23-20 with 23 seconds left before the break.
Harrell went 5-for-6 on the Red Raiders' first drive out of halftime and Crabtree caught a 3-yard TD pass to put Texas Tech in front for good.
Fowler's 25-yard field goal with 2:44 left in the third quarter made it 30-23. The Red Raiders have reached 30 points in 11 consecutive games.
Texas Tech punted for the first time early in the fourth quarter, but the Aggies couldn't get a first down. The Red Raiders held A&M to 12 yards and two first downs on their first three possessions of the second half.
Harrell went 8-for-8 on Tech's next drive and scored on a 1-yard sneak with 7 minutes left. A&M defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddy blocked Fowler's extra-point kick and Arkeith Brown returned it for two points to cut Tech's lead to 36-25.