Cyrus Gray scored four touchdowns to lead Texas A&M past No. 21 Texas Tech 52-30, snapping a three-game losing streak for the Aggies.
Texas A&M (4-3, 1-2 Big 12) hadn't won in Lubbock since 1993 and was coming off an awful performance against Kansas State. A&M lost 62-14 last week.
Sherman, in his second season with A&M, told his players this game would show how they responded to tough times.
Then Tech score in six plays on its first possession, and the Aggies lost a fumble on their first play.
Here we go again, A&M fans must have thought. Instead, the Aggies held the Raiders after the fumble and put together a nine-play drive that ended in a touchdown.
"We were at a crossroads," Sherman said. "That was a turning point in the game."
The Aggies had 334 total yards in the first half against the Red Raiders a week after they had 301 against K-State.
"I told the guys during this week that this game was more about them as a man than it was about them as a football club and how they needed to respond to play this ball game," Sherman said.
"I'm proud of them as a man and as a football club tonight."
Jerrod Johnson completed 19 of 28 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, and added 71 yards and another score on 10 carries.
Gray, who finished with 131 yards on 25 carries, rushed for three touchdowns and caught a 12-yard pass for another.
The 52 points by the Aggies was the most they've ever scored against the Red Raiders and the win was A&M's first over a ranked Texas Tech team.
"He brought this team from utter despair Monday to a point where they could play hard and win the game," Aggies defensive coordinator Joe Kines said of Sherman.
The Red Raiders (5-3, 2-2) went to Seth Doege at quarterback after Taylor Potts fumbled in the third quarter.
When Gray didn't have the ball teammate Christine Michael chewed up his share of yards. Michael gained 121 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 44-yarder on the Aggies first possession of the second half -- on 22 carries.
"It was a big win for us," Michael said. "We played as a team, defense and offense, special teams, we all had a great night."
Johnson came into Saturday night's game leading the Big 12 with 16 TD passes and was second in the league with 315.5 yards passing per game.
The Red Raiders' offense appeared flat in Potts' first start since sustaining a concussion Oct. 3 against New Mexico. He was 25 of 36 for 310 yards and two touchdowns before he was pulled from the game midway through the third quarter.
Potts was responsible for three turnovers, two of which led to Aggies scores.
Texas Tech moved into the rankings for the first time this season after winning 31-10 at then-No. 15 Nebraska last week. Steven Sheffield, the backup who made his second career start in that game, was in street clothes and using crutches on the sidelines Saturday night.
Fans chanted "no more Potts" shortly after Terrence Fredericks' interception in the end zone just before halftime.
Leach said his players let their guard down.
"If you have a ridiculously weak opponent, you might play bad and overpower them, but you can't do that against a tradition and a program like Texas A&M," Leach said. "If it was easy anybody could do it. If it was easy, I'd be coaching the Swedish bikini team and I'd have them coming out here to do all this."
Potts committed his third turnover when he fumbled on Texas Tech's second possession of the third quarter. Linebacker Von Miller hit Potts from behind and the ball was recovered by Tony Jerrod-Eddie on the Red Raiders 33.
"I don't think Potts ever got in a rhythm," Leach said. "I don't know if he tried to make too much happen. ....just looked, you know, slow and statue-like."