HOUSTON — Lost in the madness that has accompanied a coaching change at Texas Tech are several major milestones that can be reached by a few Red Raiders during the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas against Minnesota, which kicks off at 8 p.m. today inside Reliant Stadium.
Seth Doege needs just 66 yards to become the first Tech quarterback since Graham Harrell (2006-08) to throw for at least 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. The senior also needs two touchdown passes to reach 40 this season.
Doege’s top two receivers, Eric Ward and Darrin Moore, are also chasing statistical landmarks. If Ward tallies at least 26 yards receiving and Moore hauls in 52, the pair will become the first 1,000-yard receiving duo at Tech since Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola both reached the plateau in 2007.
Tech interim coach Chris Thomsen said he has been impressed by how consistent the trio has been this season.
“I think they’ve been amazing,” he said. “Being the offensive line coach and getting to watch those guys from a different perspective, what stuck out to me about those two receivers is toughness. Those guys have had to play a lot of snaps. We started out pretty deep at that position, then had some guys get injured.
“It went from a deal where we felt like we were going to be able to rotate guys and keep guys fresh all year to, ‘Hey, you guys are going to have to carry a load.’ They’ve done a great job.”
Doege said he knew he was going to get strong performances out of both receivers. Moore, he pointed out, was the leading receiver in the country last year before he got hurt in Tech’s third game against Nevada, and Ward broke out as a sophomore with 84 catches for 800 yards.
Still, it hasn’t made the way the pair has answered the bell each week any less impressive, Doege said.
“Once those guys were told they had to carry the load more than they thought they were,” he said, “they took it on their backs and were excited about it. They took a lot of pride in their work, and they were very detailed in every practice. They tried to get better, and I think that’s the key — they continued to get better over the season.”
Doege also stressed the three players wouldn’t be nearing major milestones without the help of a solid offensive line. In turn, tackle LaAdrian Waddle said the unit is making it a personal mission to help the three skilled players reach those targeted numbers tonight.
“We take pride in that,” Waddle said. “Them getting to that milestone will be good for us, and we’ll look at it as a positive.”
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