LUBBOCK, Texas — Growing pains? Growing pains is what you call losing 21-17 to Southern Mississippi in a football game that you led but let get away.
This was something way worse for Nebraska.
More like excruciating pain. Unbearable pain.
The pain that goes with looking up at a Jones Stadium scoreboard Saturday night and seeing this:
Texas Tech 70, Nebraska 10.
"It's obviously very embarrassing,'' Huskers linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "The only choice we've got is to put it behind us and improve a lot. It was an embarrassment to everybody involved in it. This is the worst loss I've ever been involved in.''
Texas Tech scored more points on Nebraska than anyone in history. The Red Raiders beat NU worse than it had been beaten.
"We need to get a lot better, obviously,'' NU Coach Bill Callahan said. "If you look at us performing tonight, it was not even close to being our best. We're certainly capable of being a better football team.
"It's gut-wrenching to go through an experience like this.''
Nebraska knew there would be some bumps when it all but dismantled its coaching staff and changed offenses between seasons. Most assumed the bruises would be things like the loss to Southern Miss or the narrow escapes against Pittsburgh and Kansas.
Few could have predicted the destruction Saturday night. Texas Tech passed for 451 yards, forced seven turnovers and rolled up 49 second-half points as the Huskers looked helpless.
The team that's learning to throw the football got a real lesson from the team that already knows how. The team that thought it was playing good defense got torched by a team that knew it was playing good offense.
In the postgame euphoria, Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie managed to downplay what had just transpired before a national TBS audience.
"You know, it's a win,'' Cumbie said. "We're just glad we won the football game. The score doesn't mean much. We just want to win games.''
Nebraska struggled with its air attack before a crowd of 52,954. Coupled with no substantial running game and a defense that finally cracked, it added up to a miserable night for the Huskers.
And an assortment of questions that need to be answered.
With the Big 12 North up for grabs, was this a sign that Nebraska might not be up to joining the race? With two losses in five games, how ugly might it get in the second half of the season?
With freshman Beau Davis replacing Joe Dailey in the third quarter, what's going on with NU's quarterback situation?
Really, just where is Nebraska going right now? Well, on Saturday night, the Huskers simply went home quietly.
Cumbie threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns before the third quarter expired. The Red Raiders even tacked on two rushing touchdowns against a Nebraska defense that hadn't allowed any in 25 quarters.
By the time Cumbie left early in the fourth quarter, the senior had thrown for 436 yards and five TDs. And the Red Raiders weren't even done scoring yet, mainly because Nebraska kept handing them the football on a crazy run of turnovers.
Nebraska (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) trailed 21-3 at halftime despite committing just one turnover and benefiting from 100 yards in Texas Tech penalties. The hurtful blow was an 80-yard touchdown pass from Cumbie to Jarrett Hicks with 1:14 left -- the Red Raiders' longest pass play since Head Coach Mike Leach brought his offense to Lubbock in 2000.
Three plays into the third quarter, Mark LeFlore turned a quick slant pattern into a 74-yard touchdown reception from Dailey, breaking a tackle on his own 35-yard line.
That was the last time Texas Tech (4-2, 2-1) left NU anywhere close.
Cumbie threw TD passes of 6 yards to Johnnie Mack and 3 yards to Bristol Olomua as the lead grew to 35-10. After Davis' first series ended when he fumbled a shotgun snap on third down, the Red Raiders turned it into Mack's 14-yard run and a 42-10 advantage.
Texas Tech then scored on its first four possessions of the fourth quarter — all starting with a short field after Nebraska mistakes — and the lead ballooned to 70-10 with 7:14 still on the clock.
|Yards per carry||4.8||2.5|
Nebraska is 7-4 all-time against Texas Tech.
|Western Illinois||Sept. 4|
|Southern Miss||Sept. 11|
|Texas Tech||Oct. 9|
|Kansas State||Oct. 23|
|Iowa State||Nov. 6|
Nebraska has played 15 games on Oct. 9. See them all »
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