Austin at home
Texas Tech will be the road team when it plays Texas State at 6 p.m. Saturday in San Marcos, but it might not feel that way to Austin Zouzalik.
The senior inside receiver will have a large cheering section inside Bobcat Stadium because he has a handful of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and family friends who live in San Marcos.
Zouzalik’s parents both graduated from Texas State in 1983. (The school was then called Southwest Texas State.)
“It’s very exciting,” said Zouzalik’s mother, Cheryl Aycock. “We both went to Southwest Texas, Austin’s dad and I. We’re Bobcats, but now we’re Texas Tech Red Raiders. ... (Austin’s) got a big fan club waiting for him down there.”
Zouzalik has made several trips to San Marcos to visit family, but Saturday will have a different feel with the Red Raiders becoming the first Big 12 team to visit Texas State.
“I used to drive by that stadium as a kid and look at all the buildings around there,” Zouzalik said. “Now I’ll be going down there on a business trip with a little different attitude. It’s going to be weird.”
Perhaps Zouzalik will be able to impress family members with a couple big punt returns after notching runbacks of 18 and 19 yards, respectively, in the season opener. Zouzalik used a pair of spin moves just before being contacted by the Northwestern State gunners that allowed him to rack up big gains.
So where did the senior learn the nifty move?
“I think I taught him that earlier this week,” Aycock said, “so I think he’s going to go out and do it again.”
Zouzalik conceded that the idea for the new juke came from his mother, even if his response might have seemed a bit tongue-in-cheek.
“They let her come to the hotel the other week and walk through our punt return unit,” Zouzalik said with a smile, “and she taught me how to do that.”
The Tech defense might be in for a challenge Saturday when it comes to slowing down Texas State’s talented dual-threat quarterback Shaun Rutherford.
The Red Raiders, though, may have strong enough candidates on the scout team to give the Tech defense a fair look at what it might face.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said freshmen Keenon Ward and Tucker Tuberville, his son, are taking reps as scout team quarterbacks, as both were heavily involved in the run games as senior quarterbacks in high school.
Ward rushed for 1,769 yards and 23 touchdowns at Snyder, and Tucker Tuberville guided Frenship to a 10-0 regular-season record as a dual-threat quarterback last season.
“Both of them have run that kind of stuff before,” Tommy Tuberville said. “They’re running two groups. You have to make the reads out here, even on the scout team, and those two have run it.”
Backup center/offensive guard Tony Morales is “starting to jog some” this week as he recovers from an MCL sprain, Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday. The coach added he hopes to have Morales back at practice next week. ... Tuberville said Alfredo Morales and Beau Carpenter will continue to rotate at left guard, but added that Morales was the better performer of the two during Saturday’s 44-6 win against Northwestern State.
Compiled by Nick Kosmider