Texas Tech was looking for Steven Sheffield to be its savior Saturday night, starting him at quarterback in place of fellow senior Taylor Potts.
In a strange twists of events, Potts turned out to be the savior.
Texas Tech and Missouri are just a few minutes away from kicking off at Jones AT&T Stadium, where Red Raider fans are either running late or deciding not to show up. The crowd seems more sparse than usual, especially for a nationally televised night game.
Perhaps they're expecting the worst against the 14th-ranked Tigers (7-1, 3-1 in Big 12 Conference), who are tied for first place in the North Division. Tech (4-4, 2-4), meanwhile, is last in the South and has lost each of its last two home games.
Eric Stephens can relate to Texas Tech football fans who are unhappy with the team's 4-4 record and last-place standing in the Big 12 Conference's South Division.
The Red Raiders' sophomore running back is from Mansfield, and his favorite NFL team - the Dallas Cowboys - are in even worse shape at 1-6.
"I know the fans are getting restless," Stephens said during Monday's weekly news conference at Jones AT&T Stadium. "They're not used to losing around here, not the last couple years.
COLLEGE STATION - Steven Sheffield probably considers Saturday's game against Texas A&M his most enjoyable of the season, because he got his most playing time of the season.
The senior quarterback replaced Taylor Potts on Texas Tech's first possession of the fourth quarter, finishing 11-of-14 passing for 129 yards and his first two touchdown tosses of the year. They both went to Lyle Leong, who had the fifth three-TD game of his career.
COLLEGE STATION - The Avalanche-Journal's traveling party - Don Williams, John Bowersmith and myself, Adam Zuvanich - has made it safely to the press box at Kyle Field, where Texas Tech and Texas A&M are about 70 minutes from kickoff.
It's an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for a football game. The temperatures are in the 70s, and there isn't a cloud in the southeast Texas sky.
If you listened to the radio broadcast of Texas Tech's 27-24 win against Colorado on Saturday, you heard about a heated exchange on the sideline involving Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville, offensive coordinator Neal Brown and quarterback Taylor Potts.
Potts had just thrown an interception in the Colorado end zone, with the game tied and about six minutes remaining, and the three convened immediately thereafter.
Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts had his jaw X-rayed during halftime of Saturday's game against Oklahoma State, and before he jogged back on the field for the start of the third quarter, backup Steven Sheffield was warming up behind the Tech bench.
But there was no chance of Sheffield entering the game, no matter how much Red Raider fans would have liked for that to happen.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday that Sheffield did not practice "all week" leading up to the game and "wasn't available to play quarterback."
Fans of Texas Tech football aren't the only ones freaking out these days.
The Red Raiders themselves feel just as frustrated, and in some cases just as befuddled, about their 3-3 start to the season.
"I hope everybody's angry," Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said during the team's weekly news conference on Monday. "I'm angry, our players are angry and disappointed, and that's what you want to feel.
Bront Bird was beside himself as he sat at the podium in the JT King Room on Saturday evening.
Texas Tech had just suffered a 34-17 loss to Oklahoma State - which hadn't won in Lubbock since 1944 - to fall to 3-3 for the first time since 2001. The defeat also made Tech the only team in the Big 12 with three conference losses.
"It hurts to lose, and it sucks to be in this position," Bird, Tech's senior middle linebacker, said after the game. "We've got to figure out something."
Fourth Quarter (Oklahoma State 34, Texas Tech 17)
5:14: Texas Tech just got the ball back, but this one is all but over. The Red Raiders will need a miracle to keep Oklahoma State from earning its first win in Lubbock since 1944.
With that in mind, I'm signing off and heading down to the field to prepare for postgame interviews. Check back later for some postgame thoughts.