LUBBOCK, Tex. — The nation's longest Division I-A losing streak hit 13 Saturday night when Cal State Fullerton lost to Texas Tech, 41-7, before 36,228 in Jones Stadium. And with each loss, the burden on Titan Coach Gene Murphy's shoulders grows heavier.
"Yes, it's tough," Murphy said of the streak after Fullerton's second lopsided loss of the season. "How would you feel if you wrote 13 (bad) stories in a row? If you're a competitor, you feel bad. We didn't give up tonight, but we semi-self-destructed."
It's getting to be an old story: Fullerton turns the ball over deep in its own territory. Opponent scores an easy touchdown. Opponent goes on to an easy victory.
It happened many times during the Titans' 1-11 season in 1990 and again last week in the Titans' 47-3 loss to Mississippi State. It happened Saturday night, too.
One play after Texas Tech's Lin Elliott made a 40-yard field goal with 9:38 left in the first quarter, Fullerton quarterback Terry Payne was sacked and fumbled the ball away on his one-yard line.
One play later, Red Raider quarterback Jamie Gill scored to give Texas Tech a 10-0 lead with 9:27 left. That's 10 points in 11 seconds. The Red Raiders added another touchdown and a field goal in the first quarter to take a 20-0 lead.
Fullerton outscored Texas Tech, 7-3, over the next two quarters, but the Red Raiders put the game out of reach with 18 points in the fourth quarter. Elliott added field goals of 52, 40 and 49 yards.
Gill led a balanced Texas Tech offense, completing 13 of 21 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and tailback Anthony Lynn added 69 yards in 15 carries.
The Red Raiders rolled up 371 total yards, compared to Fullerton's 204, and had excellent field position throughout the game, starting four possessions in Titan territory and four others at their 35-yard line or beyond.
The one time the Titans had good field position and a chance to get back into the game, they couldn't capitalize. Trailing, 20-7, early in the second quarter, Fullerton was on the Texas Tech 42-yard line after a short Red Raider punt.
Arthur Davis, who rushed 39 times for 128 yards, ran 11 yards to the 31, but two more running plays netted one yard, a delay-of-game penalty pushed Fullerton back to the 35 and an incomplete pass created a fourth down. Phil Nevin's 52-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
"We put our defense in horrible field position most of the night," Murphy said. "We're certainly not that awesome a team, but I thought we had a chance when it was 20-7, we stopped them and had the ball around the 50. But we didn't take advantage, and that really hurt."
The Titan offense figured to be hurting without starting running back Reggie Yarbrough, who re-injured his ankle in practice Thursday and was limited to three first-half carries. Fullerton failed to gain a first down in the first quarter, and its only first down in the third quarter came on a penalty.
Fullerton's lone highlight was an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive, which ended with Payne's 17-yard touchdown pass to Pat Lynch with 10:21 left in the second quarter. Payne suffered a slight concussion in the third quarter and was replaced by May.
Receiver Kerry Reed and tackle John Cotti also suffered minor injuries, but the Titans will have two weeks to recover before facing Division II Cal State Northridge on Sept. 21.
"We're getting game experience, which is what we need," Murphy said. "A win would be the best tonic in the world. But we have a bye this week, and it couldn't have come at a better time."