Friday, October 5, 2012
Who will transform tomorrow: Week 6
By David Ubben
Texas Tech's receiving corps has put up a balance of numbers that would make just about anybody shake their heads. Six receivers already have double-digit receptions.
Twelve players already have at least five catches through just four games.
The best of the bunch so far? Eric Ward, who leads the team in all receiving categories with 17 catches, 238 yards and four touchdowns.
Still, because he doesn't have the eye-popping physical talents of Darrin Moore, the blinding speed of Jakeem Grant or the experience of Alex Torres, Ward is all too often overlooked on his own team at his own position.
This, from the same player who caught 33 more passes than anybody on his team a year ago, leading the team with 800 receiving yards and 11 scores.
Coming into the season, more eyes were on his teammates. That changes Saturday, when Ward will remind us why he's a force to be reckoned with. He'll transform into a much more known entity when he helps Texas Tech upset Oklahoma and launch itself into the top 20 with the biggest victory of the season.
Last week, in a win over Iowa State, Ward hauled in nine catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, but this will be a much bigger stage. Ward will take advantage.
Asked who his No. 1 receiver was, quarterback Seth Doege didn't have to think much.
"Probably Eric. Eric Ward. Eric Ward has made a lot of plays for me, a lot of third-down conversions," Doege told reporters this week. "And he's done a really good job after the catch as well as yards after the catch."
He's extended drives with big catches, keeping the offense on the field and helping his teammates on the the other side of the ball maintain their status as the nation's No. 1 defense.
He'll do it again this week, and the Red Raiders will once again prove to be a headache for the Sooners.