Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro on Monday was named the Big 12 Conference offensive player of the week for his performace in the Red Raiders’ win Saturday at West Virginia.
Amaro caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
The junior from San Antonio MacArthur now has caught a career-high nine passes in each of the last five games and eight passes in the game before that.
One of Texas Tech’s bright spots in the comeback victory Saturday was the play of cornerback Derrick Mays, who was terrific after he replaced struggling starter Olaoluwa Falemi midway through the third quarter.
Falemi was flagged three times for pass-interference penalties, the last nullifying an interception by teammate Austin Stewart. The series after that, Bruce Jones moved from boundary (tight-side) cornerback to Falemi’s spot at field (wide-side) cornerback, and Mays took Jones’ spot.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury credited defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt for making sound adjustments on the fly during the Red Raiders’ 37-27 victory Saturday at West Virginia.
Tech went from giving up 27 points in five possessions in the second and third quarters to giving up one first down in the last five series of the game. That gave the offense a chance to rally from a 27-16 deficit.
So how much did Wallerstedt chalk up to tactical changes and how much to the players simply executing calls better?
West Virginia’s Ford Childress, one of three quarterbacks the Mountaineers have started this season, will miss Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. Several West Virginia media reports said Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen made the announcement on his radio show, indicating that the redshirt freshman from Houston Kinkaid will be sidelined “for a while.”
Two weeks ago, a storyline for Texas Tech’s game at Kansas was how well the Red Raiders would handle their first 11 a.m. kickoff of the season, coming off four night games in a row.
With the Red Raiders playing their third consecutive 11 a.m. game Saturday at West Virginia, now it’s fair to ask if the the familiar routine will help.
Tech beat Kansas 54-16 and beat Iowa State 42-35 in the pre-noon kickoffs.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro posted Wednesday on Twitter that he plans to stay in school for his senior year rather than declare for the 2014 NFL draft.
Amaro posted a picture of a note from teammate Bradley Marquez that said, “Going to miss you bro. 7 more games.”
Amaro replied, “(H)e thinks I’m leaving next year but I’m staying with my boys!”
The Red Raiders’ 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end/inside receiver has 47 receptions for 606 yards and a touchdown this season. This week, he was named to midseason all-America teams chosen by CBSSports.com and YahooSports.com.
Texas Tech’s offensive line might be in better shape this week than at any point since the start of the season. Guard Beau Carpenter, who missed three games after suffering an ankle injury in the season opener, returned to the starting lineup in week five, and guard Alfredo Morales is playable again.
Morales, who suffered an ankle injury in the fourth game against Texas State, was able to play last week, line coach Lee Hays said, but the Red Raiders got by without him.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was back at practice Tuesday, 10 days after he suffered a knee injury in Texas Tech’s 54-16 victory at Kansas. Mayfield was in full pads with the rest of the quarterbacks when media were allowed in to do post-practice interviews.
There was no indication of how much he participated or whether he can play in this week’s game at West Virginia.
Texas Tech went to work this week trying to improve its special teams — an area that was a strength through five games, but sprang all sorts of leaks Saturday. Tech’s 42-35 win over Iowa State was made unnecessarily closer, largely because of special teams breakdowns. The Red Raiders allowed a kickoff-return touchdown, a turnover when a punt hit a return-team member, missed a field goal and had trouble fielding punts.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro couldn’t have had a much better day last year against West Virginia — nor could he have had a much worse day. Amaro caught five passes for what remains his career high, 156 yards, and a touchdown, but he took a shot to the midsection that sidelined him for the last six regular-season games.