The Red Raiders still had the most exciting season in their history, peaking at No. 2 in the poll in mid-November. That’s little consolation now, after losing two of the last three games, this one keeping them from a school-record 12th win and dropping them to 0-4 in the Cotton Bowl.
“We would have liked to have finished on a better note,” said Harrell, who was 36-of-58 for a Cotton Bowl-record 364 yards and four touchdowns, and became both the NCAA career leader in touchdown passes (134) and the first player with multiple 5,000-yard seasons.
“It was still a very fun season.”
All-American receiver Michael Crabtree caught four passes for a career-low 30 yards in what might be his last college game. Slowed by an ankle injury sustained in the season finale, and having gotten poked in the eye, he caught a 2-yard pass for Harrell’s record-breaking touchdown but also fell on the pass that turned into Green’s game-breaking interception.
Snead, a Texas native who began his career with the Longhorns, was 18-of-29 for 292 yards and three touchdowns. After his interception that put Tech up 14-0, the Rebels didn’t have another turnover on the way to 515 yards.
McCluster, who at 5-foot-8 is hard to find and even harder to tackle, gave the Red Raiders fits. So did 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end Gerald Harris, who caught two passes for 29 yards, both touchdowns — after having only five catches and two TDs all season. Mike Wallace made a terrific grab of a 41-yard pass between two defenders for another touchdown.
Green nearly stole the show by following his long interception return with what initially was called a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown. Upon review, however, he stepped out at the “nine and two-thirds yard line,” as the official described it.
Next year, the Cotton Bowl will be played in the $1.1 billion stadium being built by the Dallas Cowboys. To say goodbye to the old place, the bowl founder’s widow handled the pregame coin toss and the dates 1937 and 2009 were painted on the field between the words, “Celebrating 73 years.”
This turned out to be the most points in the game’s history and the biggest crowd, 88,175, thanks to a recent stadium expansion.
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
All hail Harrell!
Slideshow: Check out Texas Tech star quarterback Graham Harrell in action.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
Check out the action from the postseason.
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Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.