Previewing the Georgia Game...
Game 3: Texas Tech (1-1, 1-1) at Georgia (0-2, 0-1)
Date: Saturday, September 21, 1996
Texas Tech to Travel To Athens to Face Bulldogs
After a week off following a 31-3 win over Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, Texas Tech (1-1, 1-1) travels to Athens, Ga. for a meeting against the University of Georgia (0-2, 0-1) of the Southeastern Conference. With the famed hedges having been replaced after hosting the 1996 Olympic soccer competition, a renovated Sanford Stadium will host the Red Raiders for only the second time ever. The first meeting between the two schools was in the 1964 Sun Bowl. Georgia is coming off of a 23-14 loss at SEC rival South Carolina on ESPN. The Bulldogs began the season with an 11-7 home loss to Conference USA foe Southern Mississippi.
Junior tailback Byron Hanspard rushed for a school-record 272 yards and two TDs and Texas Tech rolled to 413 yards of total offense in a 31-3 Big 12 Conference win over Oklahoma State at Texas Stadium in Irving. Sophomore kicker Jaret Greaser tied the school record with four field goals in the game and cornerback Tony Darden snagged his first interception after playing at three positions in three seasons.
Tech jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, highlighted by a career-long 72-yard TD run by Hanspard. Two second-quarter field goals of 40 and 42 yards by Greaser and a fumble recovery in the end zone by tight end Brad Spinks gave Tech a 22-0 lead going into halftime. At that time, the Red Raiders held a 289-94 lead in total offense after two quarters of play.
"It should be a knockdown, drag out affair. It is always hard to play in Georgia, one of the hardest places to play. We've got a lot of big-time, major important games that are on the road. This is one we need to win." -- Spike Dykes on playing at Georgia.
Spike Dykes -- Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes is 57-48-1 in his 10th year at Texas Tech. He has led the Red Raiders to three-straight bowl appearances and five-straight seasons of no lower than second-place finishes in the Southwest Conference. A 1959 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, Dykes has coached eight All-Americas and 60 all-conference selections and his offensive squads have set 60 individual or team school records.
Jim Donnan -- First-year Bulldog head coach Jim Donnan became the 24th head coach in University of Georgia history after a highly-successful tenure at I-AA powerhouse Marshall University. While at Marshall, Donnan led the Thundering Herd to a 64-21 record in six seasons, the 1992 national championship and three national runner-up finishes. Donnan, a 1969 graduate of North Carolina State, also spent time at Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas State, North Carolina and Florida State as an assistant and has a 64-23 career record as a head coach.
The Red Raiders will be making their third-straight television appearance to open the season when the cameras of ESPN2 focus on Texas Tech vs. Georgia. Former Raycom Southwest Conference analyst Dave Barnett will call the play-by-play for ESPN2, while for NFL star Todd Christiansen will offer the color analysis. Pam Ward will provide sideline reports and Roy Hamilton will produce the telecast. The ESPN2 appearance will mark Texas Tech's first-ever appearance on the "deuce" and will culminate a three-game streak of television appearances for the Red Raiders to open the season.
All Sports Radio Network is in its second year of broadcasting Texas Tech football on a network of 25 stations. KKAM/KFMX in Lubbock serves as the flagship station and veteran Jack Dale will return at play-by-play and John Harris will offer color commentary. KKAM will begin its pregame show three hours before kickoff, while KFMX will begin 45 minutes prior to gametime. KKAM will also broadcast postgame shows with each game. Game broadcasts can also be accessed live via Teamline at 800/846-4700, ext. 1752 or via the Internet through the Texas Tech web site at http://www.ttu.edu.
Newcomers Likely to Make Impact
Several true freshmen have made the travel squad for the Red Raiders and have seen action in the first two games. Running back Clint Robertson has been impressive in the kickoff return department, ranking among the top 25 in the nation with a 23.7-yard average on three returns. Against Oklahoma State the Dallas Hillcrest grad scampered a career-long 32-yards on one return.
Houston freshman Steven McFadden saw a little action on the offensive line after missing the entire two-a-day session and linebacker Kevin McCullar has seen special teams duty.
Tech Schedule Strength
Texas Tech's schedule includes four teams ranked in the current USA Today/CNN Top-25 college football poll. In addition to No. 14 Kansas State, the list includes top-ranked Nebraska (Oct. 19), No. 8 Texas (Nov. (9) and No. 20 Kansas (Oct. 12). Two other teams &emdash;Texas A&M (Oct. 26) and Baylor (Oct. 5) -- received votes in the poll.
Texas Tech's defense returns six starters in 1996 as well as junior Tony Daniels, who was projected as All-Southwest Conference prior to 1995 before suffering a major knee injury prior to the season. Last year the Red Raider defense finished third nationally in pass efficiency, 19th in turnover margin and 24th in scoring defense. Over the last two seasons, Tech's defense has converted nine turnovers into touchdowns. Last season the Tech defense averaged almost 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage per game.
Kickers Set Marks
Junior Tony Rogers and sophomore Jaret Greaser are not for lack of leg strength at the kicker position for the Red Raiders. Both kickers nailed 53-yard field goals at Kansas State, tying the sixth-longest effort in Texas Tech history. Both kicks also were the longest for a Texas Tech kicker since Ricky Gann hit a 55-yarder against Houston in 1984.
Tech currently holds a nine-game home winning streak dating back to a 42-16 loss to top-ranked Nebraska on Sept. 8, 1994 on a nationally-televised Thursday night ESPN contest... Byron Hanspard recorded his eighth-straight rushing game over 100 yards against Oklahoma in just over three quarters of play... The Red Raiders have a five-game winning streak on regionally syndicated television broadcasts dating back to 1994. Prior to the 1996 season, Tech was part of the SWC's Raycom package of games broadcast throughout the Southwest...
Offensive Line Undergoes Changes
The Texas Tech offensive line has gone through a few changes over the past two weeks. With the uncertainty regarding the eligibility of senior Casey Jones, coach Ted Unbehagen has made a few changes. Lynn Scherler has moved into the starting right tackle position; Shane Dunn moved from starting right guard to starting left guard; Chris Whitney has moved from right tackle to left guard in place of Dunn; Justin Collingsworth moved from backup at left tackle to backup right tackle.
The revamped lineup played as a unit against Oklahoma State and led the way for Byron Hanspard's school-record 272 yards rushing. They line also voted to award Unbehagen the game ball following the victory.
Best Rushing Mark in SWC History
The Red Raiders not only broke the Southwest Conference record for best rushing yard average in a bowl game -- they shattered it. Byron Hanspard and Zebbie Lethridge led a parade of runners who average 9.1 yards per carry in last year's 55-41 victory over Air Force in the Weiser Lock Copper Bowl. The previous SWC record was 7.0 yards per carry. It was set in the 1954 Cotton Bowl when Rice beat Alabama. The Red Raiders gained 361 yards on the ground on just 39 carries.
This N' That....
Texas Tech is 11-3 when junior tailback Byron Hanspard rushes for more than 100-yards and is 3-0 when he goes over 200 yards... Quarterback Zebbie Lethridge has accounted for 45 TDs (27 passing, 18 rushing) and only 15 interceptions in his two-plus years as a starter. He has led the Red Raiders to a 14-6 record over the last 20 games...
The Last Time...
Tech returned a kickoff for a TD: Rodney Blackshear, 92 yards vs. Texas A&M, 10-6-90 in College Station.
Opponent returned a kickolff for a TD: Sanjay Beach, Colorado State, 99 yards, 9-12-87 in Lubbock.
Tech returned a punt for a TD: Dane Johnson 69 yards vs. SMU, 9-24-94 in Lubbock.
Opponent returned a punt for a TD: Chris McCranie, Georgia, 45 yards, 9-18-93 in Athens, GA.
Tech returned an interception for a TD: Dane Johnson, 23 yards vs. New Mexico, 10-18-95 in Albuquerque, NM.
Opponent returned an interception for a TD: John Herpin, Southern Cal, 26 yards, 1-2-95 in Dallas.
Tech returned a fumble for a TD: Marcus Coleman, 92 yards vs. New Mexico, 10-18-95 in Albuquerque, NM.
Opponent returned a fumble for a TD: Kevin Lockett, Kansas State, recovered in end zone, 8-31-96 in Manhattan, Kan.
Tech shut out an opponent: Houston (34-0), 10-19-94 in San Antonio.
Opponent shut out Tech: Arkansas (31-0), 10-10-87 in Lubbock.
Tech blocked a field goal for a TD: James Mosley, 60 yards vs. Rice, 10-18-86 in Houston.
Tech blocked a punt for a TD: Scottie Allen blocked, Steve Carr returned 9 yards vs. Wyoming, 9-21-91 in Laramie, WY.
Opponent blocked a punt for a TD: Alex Morris, Texas A&M, 10-1-88 in College Station.
Tech returned a blocked PAT for a two-point score: Ben Kirkpatrick, 84 yards vs. Oklahoma, 9-3-92 in Lubbock.
Tech scored a safety: Shawn Banks tackled Priest Holmes, Texas, in end zone, 10-20-94 in Lubbock.
Opponent scored a safety: Brad Cade stepped out of end zone vs. Rice, 10-21-95 in Lubbock.
Tech scored TD in the last minute to win: Zach Thomas, 23-yard pass int. vs. A&M, 0:30 left in 14-7 win, 10-7-95 in Lubbock.
Opponent scored TD in the last minute to win: Eddie Goines 11 pass from Terry Harvey, NCSU, 0:00 left in 36-34 win, 10-9-93 in Lubbock.
Tech kicked FG in the last minute to win: Lin Elliott 37-yard FG vs. New Mexico, 0:27 left in 34-32 win, 9-22-90 in Albuquerque, N.M..
Opponent kicked FG in the last minute to win: Brett Conway, Penn State, 39 FG , 0:04 left in 24-23 win, 9-9-95 in State College, Pa.
Tech won by going for two: Travis Price, pass from Billy Joe Tolliver vs. Texas, 2:36 left for 33-32 win, 10-29-88 in Lubbock.
Opponent won by going for two: William Gannon pass from Jerry Rhome, SMU, 2:12 left for 8-7 win, 10-18-61 in Dallas.
Did You Know???
Texas Tech has played in 21 bowl games since beginning football in 1925... In 1937, Texas Tech coach Pete Cawthon's team became the first major college football team to fly to a football game... Cawthon was also among the first to install lights for night football at a major Texas school... In 1938, Texas Tech and Centenary played to a rainsoaked tie in which there were an amazing 77 punts. Tech punter Charlie Calhoun punted 36 times for 1,318 yards, obviously an NCAA record that will likely never be broken... Texas Tech won 11 of a possible 17 championships in the Border Conference before competing in the SWC in 1960... Texas Tech Athletic Council Chairman J. William Davis, in 1957, authored the National Letter of Intent that is still in use today... In 1965, the Texas Tech vs. Kansas game was stopped 56 seconds into the fourth quarter due to a driving rainstorm and tornado warnings... Florida State adopted a tradition of a black horse with an Indian chief leading the team onto the field after watching Texas Tech's masked rider do the same for the Red Raiders.
Notes From Irving...
Byron Hanspard's 272 yards against OSU was a single game school record, breaking James Hadnot's 268 yards against New Mexico in 1978. It was the best rushing performance in a college or pro game in Texas Stadium history. Eric Dickerson ran for 241 yards against Houston in 1982 and Tony Dorsett ran for 206 yards against Philadelphia in 1977.
Hanspard's performance also marked the eighth-straight game in which he surpassed 100 yards and the third-time in four game he surpassed 200 yards in a game. His previous high was a 260-yard performance against Air Force in last season's Copper Bowl.
Kicker Jaret Greaser tied a school record with four field goals against OSU. He has made five-straight field goals, including a 53-yarder at Kansas State
Tony Darden's interception was the first of his career.
Eric Butler's sack in the third quarter marked the third of the season and the third of his career. He replaced the departed Zach Thomas at middle linebacker for the Raiders this season.
Armour Solid Butkus Candidate
Senior weakside linebacker Anthony Armour, who has been included among the list of preseason candidates for the Butkus Award given by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Fla. to the nation's outstanding collegiate linebacker, is second on the squad in tackles with 16, has two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback sack. He has 210 total tackles in his career, including 14 for loss and six sacks.
The list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on Oct. 17 and the three finalists will be announced on Nov. 14. Armour, a graduate of Dallas' Carter High School, is starting at his third position at Texas Tech during his career. Last season he led the defensive line with 55 tackles at the end position and caused three fumbles. He redshirted 1994 after undergoing knee surgery following a sophomore season in which he was 10th in the SWC in tackles with 91 at outside linebacker.
Hanspard Surpasses Donny Anderson on Tech Career List
Junior Byron Hanspard entered the 1996 season with an opportunity to become one of college football's most sensational runners and contend for the Doak Walker Award and the Heisman Trophy. He hasn't hurt his cause with an average of 193.5 yards in essentially just six quarters of play and a 272-yard school-record outing against OSU. He passed Donny Anderson on the career rushing charts with 2,522 yards. (see Hanspard Bio)
The junior from DeSoto is the third-leading returning scorer in
the nation this season, after averaging 9.82 points per game last
season. A preseason All-America selection, Hanspard averaged 223
yards per game in his final three games of last season, including 260
yards against Air Force in the Copper Bowl, where he was named the
game's MVP. He rushed for 1,374 yards last season, the second-best
sophomore performance in the Southwest Conference's 82-year history.
He also led the team with 35 catches for 474 yards.
Lethridge one of the Nation's Top QB Threats
Junior quarterback Zebbie Lethridge has quietly emerged as one of the top signal-callers in the nation, if not the most electrifying. He has passed for just 250 yards in Tech's balanced attack this season. Against Oklahoma State he suffered a hip flexor injury during the first quarter but played the entire game, leading Tech to 413 of total offense in the game and a 31-3 win.
The Lubbock native is already listed among the top-five on the
school charts for career passing yards, pass attempts, pass
completions, total offense and TD passes. Last year he set a final
Southwest Conference record with 211 consecutive passes without an
interception, which will stand as the all-time SWC mark. Last season
Lethridge recorded the most prolific sophomore season ever for a Red
Raider with 1,885 passing yards, 22 total TDs and 2,022 yards in
Daniels Making Up For Lost Time
Starting junior defensive end Tony Daniels sat out the entire 1995 season after a freak injury diving into a pool prior to preseason drills. After undergoing reconstructive surgery on his knee, the Odessa native used the 1995 season to focus on his comeback.
A legitimate Lombardi candidate, Daniels has quickly emerged as one of the top defensive linemen in the nation. In the first two games, he has recorded five tackles for loss and 14 total tackles. Against Oklahoma State, Daniels had three tackles for loss. In 1994 as a backup, he recorded 10 tackles for loss in 11 games.
Diminutive Mitchell One of Nation's Smallest
Starting junior flanker Stacy Mitchell, who stands 5-5, 150-pounds, is the third smallest player in Division I football this season. The DeSoto native is also a key kickoff returner for the Red Raiders and is a major threat on the ground after the catch. Mitchell overcame an early-season sprained ankle last season, starting the final five games and catching a 47-yard pass against Texas, and a 38-yard TD against Air Force in the Copper Bowl. He also had a 49-yard run on a reverse against Rice. Mitchell recorded three catches for 69 yards against Kansas State.
Greaser Ties School Record
Sophomore kicker Jaret Greaser tied a school record with four field goals against Oklahoma State and has converted five-straight attempts this season, including a 53-yarder at Kansas State. He made attempts of 40, 40, 42 and 37 yards against the Cowboys to tie the mark held by five players on seven occasions, the most recent by Lin Elliott against Cal State, Fullerton in 1991. Greaser, a native of Amarillo, connected on a 59-yarder as a high school senior in 1993. He made a 46-yarder against Missouri in his only field goal attempt of the season as a freshman.
Kickers Dial Long Distance
For the first time in the award's history, two kickers from the same team were honored with the AT&T Long Distance award when Texas Tech's Jaret Greaser and Tony Rogers both connected on 53-yard field goals at Kansas State. In honor of the accomplishment, AT&T has donated $400 to the NCAA's Degree-Completion Scholarship Program and each player will be awarded an engraved plaque in recognition of the achievement.
Six Red Raiders Named Team Captains for 1996
Three offensive and three defensive players were elected team captains by the squad for the 1996 season. On offense, juniors Byron Hanspard and Zebbie Lethridge were named for the second-straight season and are joined by senior Casey Jones. Defensively, senior linebackers Robert Johnson and Anthony Armour and junior Dane Johnson were elected to the honor.
Darden Playing Third Position, Grabs First Interception
Junior Tony Darden intercepted the first pass of his career as a defensive back and achieved the first of a unique hat trick in the process. During his career, Darden has thrown a pass, caught a pass and has now intercepted a pass. He has also thrown and caught a TD and, with a TD return of an interception would achieve a rare triple.
Darden and junior Corey Turner started their first games at each cornerback position at Kansas State. The duo played well against the Wildcats, limiting KSU's outstanding receiver Kevin Lockett to five catches. Turner recorded three pass breakups in the game. Against Oklahoma State, the duo helped limit Cowboys to only 115 yards passing.
Darden came to Texas Tech in 1993 as one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in the Texas high school record books. At San Antonio's Holmes High School, Darden became the state's third-leading TD passer with 45 as a senior in 1992. He threw for 3,235 yards and had at least two TD passes in every game.
After redshirting in 1993, Darden switched to the receiver position midway through his freshman season after competing at quarterback with current starter Zebbie Lethridge. Last season an ankle injury slowed his progress after he started the first five games. He caught seven passes for 47-yards in the Copper Bowl. Last spring, Darden moved to cornerback and is the starting left slot.
Scovell Pursuing Medical Career
Tech's second-leading receiver in 1995 with 16 catches for 303 yards, Field Scovell graduated last spring with a 3.699 grade point average in finance. The two-time GTE Academic All-District VI selection is taking undergraduate courses this fall in preparation for medical school. He missed Tech's first scrimmage during two-a-days to take the medical school entrance examination (MCAT). The sure-handed Scovell caught two passes for 26 yards against Kansas State. He also completed his first career pass on a successful fake field goal toss to Sammy Morris.