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Day Raiders: Tech shut out of after-dark edge

No Big 12 foe played night game in Lubbock this season

Posted: November 16, 2012 - 12:09am  |  Updated: November 16, 2012 - 1:23am
Kansas' James Sims is taken down by  Texas Tech's D.J. Johnson(12), Jackson Richards(43) and Delvon Simmons(8) during their NCAA college football game in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (Zach Long)  Zach Long
Zach Long
Kansas' James Sims is taken down by Texas Tech's D.J. Johnson(12), Jackson Richards(43) and Delvon Simmons(8) during their NCAA college football game in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (Zach Long)
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For several years, part of the appeal to playing football for Texas Tech has been the chance to take part in rowdy night games at Jones AT&T Stadium.

That was part of the attraction before and it will be again, but not this year.

Tech is an uncommon stretch in which the Red Raiders will finish the regular season with eight consecutive day games. The seventh such game is Saturday when No. 23 Tech (7-3, 4-3 in the Big 12) visits Oklahoma State (6-3, 4-2) at 2:30 p.m. Next week’s regular-season finale against Baylor is a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

Not a single Big 12 Conference opponent this season had to play under the lights at Jones AT&T Stadium, a setting that’s perceived, at least, to ratchet up the advantage for the Red Raiders.

“Personally, I miss the evening games,” senior safety D.J. Johnson said this week. “I enjoy coming out and seeing it a little dimmer, a little darker and the bright lights on. It lets me know it’s football time.”

Linebacker Blake Dees said, “It’s always fun being under them lights, for sure.”

For the last two months, though, football time for the Red Raiders meant sunshine. They haven’t played a night game since their Big 12 opener Sept. 29 at Iowa State.

Since then, the Big 12’s television partners have kept dealing them a steady diet of 2:30 p.m. starts, except for an 11 a.m. kickoff last week against Kansas.

“I think as players a 2:30 p.m. game is pretty cool, because you don’t have to wait in the hotel all day,” senior quarterback Seth Doege said. “You wake up. You eat and go through your walk-through and have an hour to focus in your room and watch a little bit of the games.

“Night games are fun to play in, but at the same time you sit in your room for three hours and it gets kind of old, and you’re ready to play.”

Senior receiver Alex Torres also found some pluses to playing nothing but day games for two months.

“Being able to spend time with your family after the games, it was nice to have some home day games,” he said.

Tech has sagged to 1-4 in night Big 12 home games in the Tommy Tuberville era. Still, Jones AT&T Stadium after dark has been regarded for several years as an intimidating environment for visiting teams.

Torres said he didn’t think the Red Raiders sacrificed much during this year’s day games in Lubbock.

“One thing that really made it not a big deal was the fan turnout that we had for our day games was awesome,” Torres said. “It was the same as it would have been for a 7 o’clock game. Sometimes those night games get a little more excitement and everything to them, but I think we had that same energy and excitement for the day games.”

Indeed, Tech drew record attendance of 60,800 and 60,879 for afternoon games against Oklahoma and Texas. The crowd of 57,328 that watched the Red Raiders throttle West Virginia 49-14 might have been the loudest all season in Lubbock.

Last week was a different story. A late-arriving crowd, eventually announced at 55,052, had little anticipation for Tech’s game against one-win Kansas. With the 11 a.m. kickoff, the Red Raiders’ wakeup call came at 6:45 a.m. with breakfast at 7:15.

“It’s eight in a row, so we’re getting used to it,” said Dees, who made a game-saving tackle in the 41-34 double-overtime victory. “Last year was all night games pretty much. The only difference last weekend was it was 11, and that was early. We all seemed a little tired.

“But 2:30, I don’t think that’s a problem for us, because we still get to sleep the same amount of time we do if it was 6 (p.m. kickoff) and we make the adjustment. We definitely can do it.”

Win or lose Saturday in Stillwater, Torres knows he’ll be climbing on the team charter at a reasonable hour. That’s not the case for a lot of night games on the road.

“It’s nice sometimes on the road to have a day game, because we get to fly out earlier,” Torres said. “We’re not getting back at 3 or 4 in the morning, where we’re zombies.”


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College football

Who: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.

Records: Texas Tech 7-3, 4-3 in the Big 12 Conference; Oklahoma State 6-3, 4-2

Rankings (BCS/AP/coaches): Oklahoma State 24/RV/24; Tech 23/23/25

Last game: Tech 41, Kansas 34 (2OT); Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34

Last meeting: Oklahoma State 66, Tech 6 last year in Lubbock

TV: FSN (Suddenlink Cable channel 20)

Line: Oklahoma State by 101/2

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ok give it back

Tech was content to play for the big bucks from their games on TV during the daytime. Schedule night games and expect fewer crowds and less revenue. Can't have it both ways. Under Tubs leadership, they better keep playing during the daylight anyway.


Prefer Night Games

I prefer to play after happy hour.

Some of my favorites:

1. Nebraska 70-10. End of the steroids era at Lincoln.

2. A&M 59-28. Started at 9:00 PM. Crowd was so juiced up the Patriots couldn't have beaten Tech.

3. Texas 39-33. Needs no explanation.

I can go way further back, but it might draw attention to the fact that I am the most hated person on the planet: An Old White Guy.


@ Red

Those games were insignificant, Red. Clearly we are currently in the glory days of Texas Tech football. If you listened to K-Hance radio fm 104.3, you would know these things.

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