Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Season wrap: Texas Tech
By Brandon Chatmon
It was a wild ride in Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech looked like the surprise of the Big 12 at one point and the Big 12's biggest fraud a few weeks later before finishing the season alongside Oklahoma as the Big 12’s top representatives during the bowl season. Not a bad day's work for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Despite the inexperience of freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, the Red Raiders ranked among the top 10 nationally in total yards and passing yards while finishing first in the Big 12 with 392.85 passing yards per game.
Offensive MVP: Jace Amaro. The Red Raiders tight end was the Big 12’s toughest individual matchup as his size, athleticism and ball skills were impossible to contain. The junior had 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. His 35 receptions for 29 first downs on third-down plays also paced the Big 12. He was everything you’d want in a tight end.
Defensive MVP:Will Smith. It was hard to watch a Texas Tech game without noticing the senior linebacker. He was active, effective and productive during his final season in Lubbock with a team-high 120 tackles, averaging 9.23 tackles per game, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. And he saved his best for last with 48 combined tackles in the Red Raiders' final three games.
Best moment: The Red Raiders’ 37-23 victory over Arizona State was Kingsbury’s signature win. The stellar performance from Webb (403 passing yards, four TDs) and strong performance from TTU’s defense sent the Red Raiders into the offseason with plenty of momentum and quieted critics who claimed the Red Raiders hadn’t beaten anyone worth noting during Kingsbury’s first campaign.
Worst moment: TTU’s 49-26 loss to Kansas State at home. The Wildcats overwhelmed the Red Raiders with 28 unanswered points to end the first half and take a 35-10 halftime lead as whispers of TTU being a fraud transformed into declarations during the worst home loss of the season.