A tear streamed down Ondre Pipkins’ face as he sat on a black metal folding chair inside the lobby of Texas Tech’s practice facility.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Red Raider defensive tackle thought back to his childhood — sleeping in a dark blue Pontiac Grand Am or Extended Stay hotel and leaving his home in Saginaw, Michigan.
Dorance Armstrong Jr. played like a man possessed to start the game.
The sophomore defensive end gave the Texas Tech front all it could handle as he finished with two sacks and two tackles for loss Thursday night as the Red Raiders defeated Kansas 55-19.
In KU’s last game against Memphis, Armstrong finished with a pair of sacks and three tackles for loss.
As a whole, the Jayhawks three sacks and 10 tackles for loss. It marked the third straight game that Kansas finished with 10 tackles for loss this season.
The hole in the Kansas defense was enormous.
And Patrick Mahomes II took off running.
As the Texas Tech quarterback crossed the 50-yard line and headed into the Jayhawks’ secondary, he probably thought about sliding.
But, he never got the chance.
The momentum his 6-foot-3, 230-pound body provided sent him crashing into Kansas’ Fish Smithson and Isaiah Bean.
Mahomes fell to the ground, his right shoulder pressed hard into the turf.
Quite simply, the Texas Tech football team took care of business Thursday night in its Big 12 opener against Kansas.
That was clearly evident in the first two minutes as Patrick Mahomes II accumulated more touchdowns (two) than incompletions (one).
In addition, the junior quarterback threw for 120 yards and scored on its first two offensive possessions against a Jayhawks defense ranked No. 5 in the country coming into the contest.
Texas Tech wore a new uniform combination for Thursday’s home game against Kansas: red helmets with the Double-T logo, red jerseys, white pants, red socks and white shoes.
With the exception of a Wounded Warriors Project helmet Tech wore in the 2013 Kansas State game, it was the Red Raiders’ first time to wear red helmets since 1958-60, when they were the standard look, and 1961, when the team used both red and black helmets.
Kliff Kingsbury and his Texas Tech players are drawing on last year’s close game at Kansas for motivation for the rematch Thursday night.
In the 30-20 win, the Red Raiders (2-1) offense was “unenergetic” and “a joke,” the fourth-year coach said.
“They really brought it to us, they were way more physical and it showed on tape and on the field,” Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “It’s something that we really looked at and are going to go out there and hopefully we can bring the physicality to them here at home.”
While Kansas’ recent record might not reflect it, Jayhawks coach David Beaty can point to some numbers that show improvement.
After having one of the worst pass defenses in the FBS a year ago — Kansas ranked No. 124 out of 128 teams — the Jayhawks are currently fifth nationally with 135 passing yards allowed per game.
1. Nov. 1, 2008: Texas Tech 39, No. 1 Texas 33: Not only Texas Tech’s most memorable victory of the Big 12 era, but probably in 92 seasons of football. Michael Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown catch with one second left delivered the Red Raiders’ first upset of a No. 1 team.
Twenty years ago, the curtain rose on the Big 12 Conference with a Texas Tech-Kansas State football game. In the years since, Tech has grown in enrollment, budget, sports facilities and fan base. Though the first Big 12 game was played in 1996, the blending of the old Big 8 and four members of the Southwest Conference happened — and was announced publicly — in February 1994.
Kansas looks to snap a 39-game winless streak away from Memorial Stadium when it visits Texas Tech at Jones AT&T Stadium Thursday at 7:30 p.m. And the Red Raiders should come off with a win to start Big 12 play. Texas Tech has won nine straight games against the Jayhawks, which includes a 30-20 victory last year in Lawrence. Second-year coach David Beaty has one of the toughest jobs in college football, turning Kansas into a winner. After beating Rhode Island, Jayhawk fans were so happy they pulled down the goal posts.
How do you feel the defense is progressing?
“We are on a steady pace. We are really taking it one day at a time and trying to get better at the little things first.”
What is the biggest lesson you have learned this season?
“To always stay ready. You never know when your number is going to be called on. If someone goes down you have to be ready. They are going to throw you in the fire.”
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
How former Texas Tech football players fared in NFL games last week:
TE JACE AMARO
Ruled active for the first time this season, Amaro was the Titans leading receiver, as he caught three passes for 59 yards in Tennessee’s 17-10 lost to Oakland on Sunday. The Titans fell to 1-2.
WR DANNY AMENDOLA
The New England wideout caught two passes for 23 yards and had one punt return for 10 yards in New England’s 27-0 win over Houston on Sunday. The Patriots improved to 3-0.