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Surging Texas Tech not satisfied with midterm success

Red Raiders say goal of Big 12 championship has motivated the team to a 6-1 start

Posted: October 21, 2012 - 7:20pm  |  Updated: October 22, 2012 - 12:12am
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Texas Tech's Alex Torres pulls down a touchdown pass over TCU's Kenny Cain during their game on Saturday in Fort Worth. (Stephen Spillman)
Texas Tech's Alex Torres pulls down a touchdown pass over TCU's Kenny Cain during their game on Saturday in Fort Worth. (Stephen Spillman)
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As the 2012 college football season approached, many fans and pundits alike pointed to Texas Tech’s seventh game, a road clash against new Big 12 Conference member TCU, as a contest it may need to win to have a shot at bowl eligibility later in the season.

But after a 56-53 triple-overtime victory against the Horned Frogs on Saturday in Fort Worth, that contest became the one that actually allowed the Red Raiders to check that item off the to-do list.

It’s a list that is becoming more ambitious with each passing week.

“A lot of people counted us out,” said Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, whose 6-1 team (3-1 in Big 12) moved to No. 15 in the most recent Associated Press poll.

“We’re a little better team, probably, than what people thought. We’re not finished yet,” he said.

Picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 by the media in the league’s preseason poll, Tech on Saturday became the conference’s second team to gain bowl eligibility (Kansas State). That’s enough to qualify the Red Raiders, 5-7 and postseason absent a season ago, as one of college football’s biggest surprises, joining the likes of Oregon State and Kansas State, Tech’s upcoming opponent.

It also has outsiders forecasting brighter horizons than many envisioned at the beginning of the season. Jerry Palm, who projects all the college bowl games weekly for CBSSports.com, now predicts the Red Raiders to earn the Big 12’s seat in the Cotton Bowl.

Tech quarterback Seth Doege, derided by some just a few weeks ago after a poor performance against Oklahoma, began showing up on various Heisman Trophy forecasting lists following his seven-touchdown performance Saturday — Doege leads all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks with 28 touchdown passes this season — which included three scoring throws in the overtime periods.

“He didn’t blink,” offensive coordinator Neal Brown said of Doege. “We struggled, especially there in the third quarter, and he didn’t blink. He never lost confidence, and it’s a sign of his maturity. He’s a great kid, and he made a lot of big plays.”

While those outside the locker room may be scratching their heads at Tech’s success more than halfway through the season, the Red Raiders insist this strong start doesn’t surprise them.

It doesn’t satisfy them either.

“We’ve been preaching to take it to the next level,” said Doege, who threw the 8-yard game-winner to close friend and fellow senior Alex Torres. “We’re going to continue to build upon what we want to accomplish, and that’s a Big 12 championship.”

With five games remaining on its schedule, Tech controls its own destiny in that quest. The toughest potential road block comes at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, when the Red Raiders visit No. 4 Kansas State, fresh off a 55-14 win at West Virginia.

The Wildcats (7-0, 4-0) — led by the latest Heisman frontrunner, quarterback Collin Klein — have high aspirations of their own, namely a trip to the BCS national title game.

“They get tougher as we go,” Tuberville said. “We don’t have time to sit around and celebrate.”

The Red Raiders won’t be predicted to win the game against Kansas State, opening as touchdown underdogs. Then again, that hasn’t seemed to bother them to this point.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” safety Cody Davis said. “We’re where we want to be, but we have to put (the TCU win) behind us and just keep working toward our goal.”

To comment on this story:

nick.kosmider@lubbockonline.com • 766-8735

george.watson@lubbockonline.com • 766-2166

College football

 Who: Texas Tech at Kansas State.

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.

Records: Tech 6-1, 3-1 in the Big 12 Conference; Kansas State 7-0, 4-0.

Rankings (BCS/AP/coaches): Tech, 14/15/17; Kansas State, 3/4/4.

Last game: Tech 56, TCU 53 (3OT); Kansas State 55, West Virginia 14.

Last meeting: Kansas State 41, Tech 34 last year in Lubbock.

TV: FOX (channel 34; Suddenlink Cable channel 10).

Line: Kansas State by 7.

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Tech vs K State

The magic 8 ball predicts Tech will beat K State.

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tech- kstate

gonna be a barn burner with tech on top

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Prediction

K-State 41, Tech 24

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KState

Have not seen the ability to shut down a Big12 rushing attack. Season has been great, and I hope seniors get their championship. IF our corners can shut down Kstate receivers 1-on-1 so we can bring safeties into the box, the dream may be kept alive. Raiders 27 - Wildcats 31

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Great job Tech!

I got a good feeling against KSU. We seem to match up better with them than TCU or VWU, so here is hoping for the best! GO TECH!

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Could be a special season

We've got to make Klein beat us with his arm. He looked good last week throwing the ball, but every team has looked good throwing the ball on WVU! Stop the run and run option and we have a great chance of winning. If they can mix up run and pass well and go with which ever is the most effective. I think it will be a close game at the half and I think Tech pulls away by the fourth quarter for a the biggest win in Tech history since the 2008 win over Texas! Tech 41 KSU 27! If that happens we will be in the top ten! Go Tech beat KSU!!!

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Tech Kstate game

K-State beat WVU at home, Tech didn't beat them, WVU just gave 49 points to Tech. Its funny how tech had 580 total yds. to K-State 320 last year. Tech basically have the same team which is much better. If you think Tech does not have a chance, you are smoked out. I guess I just don't get it. Anyone could see that WVU would lose 4 games in the conference. Oh ya, OU, TCU and Oklahoma state will beat WVU. If OK State is slightly off then they may lose but I don't think so. 4 to 5 loses for them this season. K-State do not have the fire power. They will try and run the ball to use as much clock as possible and rely on a turn over. That is their game and it has worked but that luck will run out this weekend. K-State beat OU and it is what it is but if you think K-State is better than OU then you are also smoked out. A fumble in the end zone and a int at the 28 yd. line going in for K-state plus OU fumbles on the 4 yd. line. Come on people, remember when WVU was in the hunt for the national championship. These analyst are silly. Any fool could see that coming. Iowa state lost to K-State by 6 and had every opportunity to win that game. That is forgotten about.

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Linebackers

Our Linebackers need to step up their game if we are going to slow down Optimus Klein. Will Smith played a decent game but the rest of them was barely mentioned for a tackle. We've faced at least 5 option style offenses this season & this will be the best 1. Tech wins 35-28.

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