Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tech's Doege gives his team a special night
By David Ubben
Seth Doege had just polished off a performance that would land him national player of the week honors. He and his Texas Tech teammates rushed to the corner of the field to sing their fight song, the first visiting team to do so in victory at Oklahoma's Owen Field in more than six years.
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege passed for 441 yards and four touchdowns against Oklahoma.
As they got there, Doege spotted a familiar face: his dad. Their eyes met, and Randy Doege pumped a fist. No words necessary. We did it.
"I’ll always remember that," Seth Doege said.
This relationship between Doege and Texas Tech has been give-and-take forever. All of Doege's West Texas family are Texas Tech fans. He grew up watching Kliff Kingsbury, whose single-game NCAA completion percentage record Doege broke this season against New Mexico.
When Tech offered him a scholarship early in his high school career, he took it and essentially ended the recruiting process.
Doege missed his final two seasons of high school football, but Texas Tech stayed committed to him.
Doege got a chance to play for Tech back in 2009, but he was benched in his first start and didn't see any meaningful action until becoming the starter this season. Transfer? Ha.
Now as a junior, he's largely responsible for the biggest win at Texas Tech in a long time. After the win at Oklahoma, coach Tommy Tuberville told his team it may have been the best of his coaching career, which included more than a decade in the SEC at Ole Miss and Auburn.
"It’s something I’ll never forget. It’s something you dream about as a kid, playing the No. 1 team in the nation and coming out with the victory," Doege said. "It’s something every kid wants to do."
A dream in the sense that he always hoped it would happen, but not that he never thought it could. Texas Tech must not have heard that it was expected to lose by four touchdowns on Saturday.
"We expected to win that game. It was special, but at the same time, we weren’t surprised," Doege said. "We felt like we were a good football team. We felt like in our two losses, we had opportunities to win those games, and we felt like if we just went in there and played really well, that we would give ourselves the opportunity to win the game, which we did. It’s just one of those things where, we were confident."
Doege especially had reason to be confident. His passing numbers were competitive with anyone in the country, and after Saturday's win, his 22 touchdown passes are fourth nationally and tied for the Big 12 lead. Only Houston's Case Keenum has topped his 2,608 passing yards.
"Seth’s had a lot of success this year, not just in that game. He’s emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and he’s been consistent with it," Tuberville said. "All the hype of a game like that, going in and being able to play that well at our quarterback position is going to give him a lot of confidence. They did a lot of different things in the secondary, they gave him a lot of different looks, and he was able to handle all of them."
Doege sat on the sidelines while quarterbacks before him like Graham Harrell and Taylor Potts endured lopsided beatings in the same stadium. No Tech team had won in Norman since beating 3-8 Oklahoma under first-year coach John Blake back in 1996.
"We were physical, we weren’t scared and we were there to win the game, not play the game," Doege said. "I don’t think anybody on the team was intimidated at all. We went into that game really confident and we expected to win. I don’t think anything about OU really intimidated us. We knew this was a great football team, but we also knew that we were a great football team, too, and we’d put in as much work as anybody."
"It was a party in the locker room," Doege added.
The party's over. A special night can evolve into a special season. That continues Saturday against Iowa State.