Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech's all-time leading receiver, saved best for last

Texas Tech scores TD on fake victory formation

The Red Raiders lined up like they would kneel the ball and run out the clock against Texas. Instead, Jakeem Grant surprised everyone, scoring from 40 yards out.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Tech called the play "Hook 'Em."

Red Raiders offensive coordinator Eric Morris was watching on TV when Auburn ran it with a 5-foot-9 receiver for a 28-yard gain against Texas A&M this season. It’s a Gus Malzahn favorite, a trick play he calls "Woody." And there is no doubt it put Jakeem Grant in the role was born to play.

To survive a 48-45 shootout against Texas on Thanksgiving and complete their bounce-back from a 4-8 season to 7-5, the Red Raiders needed a little magic from their little man. On a night he’ll never forget -- one in which he also caught one of the luckiest touchdowns in college football this season -- Grant delivered one more time.

Texas Tech, up 41-38, went for the knockout blow with a call Kliff Kingsbury kept in his back pocket all night long. Tech’s defense had just pulled off a momentum-swinging stop on fourth down with less than 3 minutes to go.

Time for a sudden-change strike. The Red Raiders took the field in a tightly-packed bunch. Pat Mahomes took the snap under center and gave it to the 5-foot-6 Grant, who was crouching behind his big linemen undetected.

Mahomes carried out the fumblerooksi fake to sweeping running back Justin Stockton. The Longhorns all had their eyes on him. Then Grant sprung up so quickly that one guy who could have stopped him for a loss, defensive tackle Poona Ford, took one false step and was too late.

Grant shot around the left corner, dodged Texas defensive backs Jason Hall and Holton Hill and scored from 40 yards out. Kingsbury ran onto the field and went wild.

Grant proudly called the trickery Tech’s "midget play" after the game. They had had less than two weeks to practice it. Some Tech players figured it would end up getting scrapped.

"It was actually looking pretty ugly at first, and he wasn’t going to run it because we couldn’t get it set," running back DeAndre Washington said. "But I’m glad we did. Jakeem is so small. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t see him or know what was going on. Once he finally broke, nobody was going to catch him."

But there was never a doubt in Grant’s mind. When Kingsbury asked him if he was ready to run it, his mighty mite responded: "I’m telling you, Coach: I’ll score on it."

As soon as Grant sprinted out of his crouched position, he could tell this was actually going to work. He knew there was no way the Longhorns saw him.

"I knew when that defensive end bit up I would be in the clear, and that’s what I did," Grant said. "I used my playmaking ability to go score a touchdown and possibly put the game away."

Even Mahomes, who had to really sell the fake to make it work, couldn’t believe the coaches called that play in that moment.

"But I just knew if I put it in Jakeem’s hands, and if we ran it like Auburn ran it, we would score," Mahomes said. "It worked out almost exactly the same, except they didn’t have Jakeem make three or four guys miss and go score a touchdown."

That’s one heck of a way to finish off a night that rewrote the Texas Tech record books. In his final Big 12 game, the senior broke the school record for career receiving yardage. He moved ahead of both Michael Crabtree and Wes Welker on Thursday night, reaching 3,164 yards with a bowl game to go.

When he walked into his postgame news conference, Grant was still holding the game ball Kingsbury and the team awarded him. He never set it aside or let it go.

That’s how much this one meant for a kid from Mesquite, Texas, who has forever been told he’s too small. After racking up 207 all-purpose yards against the Longhorns, that critique certainly came to mind.

"Texas told me I was too small to play for them," Grant said, "so I came into this game with a chip on my shoulder, telling myself there’s no way they can stop me."

The record wasn’t on his mind going into the game. All Grant cared about was getting Tech’s first victory against the Longhorns since Crabtree's legendary catch in 2008.

That’s exactly what Grant had in mind: he wanted that unforgettable finish.

"I definitely wanted to make a highlight reel just like he did to beat Texas," Grant said.