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Texas Tech, Arizona State Holiday Bowl abundant with story lines

Posted: December 9, 2013 - 12:17am  |  Updated: December 9, 2013 - 1:04am
Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) throws against Stanford during the first half of the  NCAA Pac-12 Championship football game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) throws against Stanford during the first half of the NCAA Pac-12 Championship football game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz.
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Texas Tech’s Holiday Bowl matchup with No. 16 Arizona State comes with several ready-made storylines. Among them:

■ Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie was the 2004 Holiday Bowl most valuable player. In Tech’s 45-31 win over California, Cumbie threw for a career-high 520 yards.

Now he coaches the Red Raiders’ outside receivers.

“I didn’t watch, but I’ve heard plenty of it,” Tech flanker Bradley Marquez said. “Apparently, he took down Aaron Rodgers. That’s his claim to fame. We’ve heard a lot from him about it. I’m pretty sure he’s fired up about going back with us.”

Current Tech safeties coach Trey Haverty caught eight passes for 147 yards in the 2004 Holiday Bowl and co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith made four tackles. Haverty was an inside receiver, Smith a linebacker.

 

■ Arizona State offensive line coach Chris Thomsen was Texas Tech’s interim head coach for the Red Raiders’ bowl victory last December against Minnesota. Thomsen left for a job on the ASU staff immediately after.

He also has the title of assistant head coach.

 

■ Tech linebacker Will Smith, cornerback Bruce Jones and all-purpose player Sadale Foster all get to finish their college careers close to home. The three native Californians came to Tech from Riverside City College.

Smith and Foster grew up in Riverside, about 100 miles north of San Diego.

“I’m a (Dallas) Cowboys fan,” Smith said, “so me and my dad always went down there when they had a preseason game against the Chargers. That stadium’s a pretty nice stadium. I just like the whole atmosphere out there.”

Smith said the last time he went to a Chargers-Cowboys game, he was about 14 years old.

“I was like, ‘One day I want to be able to play out there,’” Smith said. “Now it’s finally coming true, so I’m very excited about that.”

 

■ Second-year Arizona State head coach Todd Graham has extensive ties to Texas. Mesquite is his hometown, and he started his coaching career from 1988-90 at Mesquite Poteet. He led Allen to five playoff appearances in six seasons from 1995-2000.

Graham was Rice head coach in 2006.

He also has spent time at East Central, Okla., (1991-93, defensive coordinator), West Virginia (2001-02, co-defensive coordinator), Tulsa (2003-05, defensive coordinator), Tulsa (2007-10, head coach) and Pittsburgh (2011, head coach).

 

■ Only five of the 123 teams in the FBS have thrown more interceptions than Texas Tech’s 18. That could spell trouble against Arizona State, whose defense has 21 interceptions, third most in the nation.

First-team all-Pac-12 safeties Robert Nelson and Alden Darby have six and four interceptions, respectively. Cornerback Osahon Irabor and safety Damarious Randall have three apiece. Irabor was second-team all-Pac 12.

 

Compiled by Don Williams

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