Good way to go out
Texas Tech running back Eric Stephens saved his best for last during the final home game of his career Saturday.
Stephens ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the first overtime session, then threw a 3-yard pass to fellow senior Darrin Moore in the second, leading Tech to a nail-biting 41-34 win against Kansas.
Both plays came with Stephens taking the snap in the wildcat formation.
“I trust that guy a lot,” offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “I have a lot of appreciation for what he’s been through.”
Stephens missed most of last season with a major knee injury. His rehab put him in position to return for his senior season. He’s taken a backseat to Kenny Williams in the Tech backfield, but his late-game success Saturday, Brown said, shows his value to the Tech offense.
The pass play from Stephens was a run-pass option. Had a cornerback stayed with Moore, Stephens would have been left to run the ball. The cornerback came up, and Moore leaped to grab Stephens’ jump pass for the winning score.
“We tend to know how to score from trick plays in overtime,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “That’s the second time, I guess, this year in overtime.”
Tech scored during its second overtime against TCU three weeks ago on a reverse pass. Moore took a handoff from Stephens out of the wildcat formation, then pitched to quarterback Seth Doege, who had lined up as a receiver. Doege hit a wide open Jakeem Grant for a score.
Grant steps up
Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant made the most of added opportunities, catching six passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Grant caught a 9-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a 21-yard pass in the third quarter that helped set up a Tech field goal. The redshirt freshman has been used sparingly this season, but he expected that to change against the Jayhawks.
“I knew going into the game that I was going to get the ball a lot,” Grant said, “so I had to make the best of it.”
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said Grant earned a roughly 50-50 split of playing time with Austin Zouzalik by performing better in practice lately.
“The trust level between me and Sonny (Cumbie, the inside receivers coach) and Seth (Doege) is increasing,” Brown said. “At the start of the year we were using him as a bit player. He was either a decoy or getting the ball. Now he’s in on everything we’re running.”
Doege with the hands
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege completed 45 of 59 passes for 476 yards and three touchdowns, but he also made his mark as a receiver.
Doege caught a pass from Austin Zouzalik on a trick play in the third quarter and turned the short pass into a 29-yard gain down to the Kansas 8-yard line.
Tech was forced to settle for a field goal on that drive, and Doege playfully chided himself for not turning the catch into a touchdown reception.
“I was trying to set up Eric (Ward’s) block,” Doege said. “I’m not an athlete. I’m an average runner. Maybe a better athlete would have scored, but I tried my best.”
The wind made its presence felt, though just how much it affected the game depended on who you asked.
Tech quarterback Seth Doege didn’t seem too limited, as he threw 59 times and totaled 476 yards through the air.
“I’m a West Texas kid,” Doege said, “so the wind is not really a factor to me. I’ve been throwing in the wind since I was little. It’s not too big of a deal. Nothing game plan-wise, nothing routes or throwing-wise did we ever say, ‘We can’t do this because of the wind.’”
Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said Doege’s assessment was mostly true, but he did steer clear of a couple of the calls on his play sheet.
“We stayed away from some things where the ball gets high up in the air,” Brown said, “like the deep post and the go routes. They were playing off, so we didn’t have the go routes anyway. But for (Doege), the wind doesn’t really affect him much, just because he spins it pretty tight.”
The south wind was sustained from 21 to 30 mph, with gusts to 45.
Compiled by Nick Kosmider