AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 18: Texas Longhorns fans cheer during the game against the Missouri Tigers on October 18, 2008 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas won 56-31. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Revenge. For days, it's the only thing Texas players have heard about.
All it takes is for someone to mention Texas Tech or Michael Crabtree's electrifying game-winning touchdown catch against the Longhorns last season. It can't be helped. That one play with one second left cost Texas so much.
Quarterback Colt McCoy dismisses the very notion of payback as No. 2 Texas (2-0) gets ready for Saturday's night's rematch.
"Put it in the past," McCoy said. "I've never been a revenge-type guy."
The greater motivator, he said, is about being one second and one play better than last season.
"We've talked to our defense about making a stand on the last drive of the game," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "The norm for us is to make that play and win."
That's the message to the media. For about 101,000 Texas fans at Royal-Memorial Stadium, revenge may be the only thing that matters.
Up in Lubbock last year, Red Raiders fans were at a fever pitch from the opening kick to their victory party when they stormed the field not once but twice.
"I expect our fans," Brown said, "to be the best they've ever been."
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach seemed unconcerned about the reception that awaits. He suggested Texas is more likely to be looking ahead to upcoming games against ranked opponents Oklahoma and Oklahoma State than worried about his unranked Red Raiders (2-0), who don't seem to be on anybody's radar nationally this season.
"I imagine we're probably another game to them," Leach said.
The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 7, a more traditional time slot for an intense Big 12 South rivalry. But with last year's nail-biter and a television schedule needing a big game this weekend, ABC asked that it be moved to a prime-time slot this week.
History suggests the change will not help Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders' spread offense requires extreme precision between the quarterback and receivers, and Leach usually has more time to get it in gear for games like this.
Things haven't turned out well when he didn't. Since 2000, the Red Raiders have lost all four games played against ranked teams in August and September.
And this time, they face Texas with a new quarterback, junior Taylor Potts.
Potts has looked good so far. His 861 yards passing leads the nation and he threw for seven touchdowns last week in a 55-10 win over Rice. Still, Saturday night will be his first start on the road.
Leach was either protecting his quarterback or just teasing the media when he didn't make Potts available to talk with reporters this week. Texas expects him to be latest great gunslinger in Leach's plug-'n-play offense.
"They had seven touchdown passes last week and that's nearly unheard of," Brown said. "Tech gets the credit for coaching on offense, I've never felt like their kids get credit for being really good players."
For McCoy, last season's loss stalled his Heisman Trophy campaign and he finished runner-up to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.
With Bradford out with a shoulder injury, the Heisman could come down to a two-man race between McCoy and Florida's Tim Tebow, the 2007 winner. A big game in front of a revved-up home crowd with a national television audience could be a big boost.
McCoy has been solid his first two games, passing for 654 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. His 67.1 percent completion rate is well off last season's 76.7 that set an NCAA single-season record.
Brown said he talked with McCoy about not trying to be perfect.
"Everybody who has walked up to that young guy for the last year in the state of Texas has said, 'Win the Heisman for me. Win the national championship for me.' That's all he's heard," Brown said.
"He's trying to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. I had a long talk with him and told him, 'You need to relax and go back and have fun."'