Previewing The Utah State Game...
Texas Tech to Finally Open at Jones Stadium
In one of the latest home openers in school history, Texas Tech (1-2, 1-1) hosts Utah State (2-2, 0-0 in the Big West) in its second-straight non-conference encounter. The Red Raiders are coming off of a heartbreaking last-minute loss at Georgia, while Utah State fell to Tech's Big 12 brothers Oklahoma State 31-17 in Stillwater. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff in Texas Tech's Jones Stadium (50,500). The last time Tech began its home schedule as late as the fourth game was the 1931 season.
The Utah State game marks the first meeting ever between the two schools. Texas Tech is 11-4 against schools in the current Big West Conference. Tech is 4-0 against New Mexico State, 4-2 against Pacific, 1-2 against North Texas, 1-0 against Cal State, Fullerton and 1-0 against UC-Santa Barbara. The Aggies and Red Raiders have one common opponent this season: Oklahoma State. Texas Tech defeated OSU 31-3 in Texas Stadium, while Utah State fell to the Cowboys 31-17 last weekend in Stillwater.
For the fourth time in the last five games, junior tailback Byron Hanspard surpassed the 200-yard mark in rushing but the Red Raiders could not overcome a 97-yard game-winning Georgia drive in the final three minutes to drop a 15-12 decision to the Bulldogs at a rainy Sanford Stadium in Athens. For the second time this season, Tech outgained its opponent in total offense, recorded more first downs, had significantly more time of possession and ran more offensive plays but lost the game.
Tech rolled to 372 yards of total offense with 301 yards coming on the ground, while holding the Bulldogs to just 66 yards rushing. The Red Raiders held the ball 37:39 compared to Georgia's 22:21. Jaret Greaser attempted a 54-yard field goal with just :07 left on the clock.
"We were so close, yet so far away. Overall, the defensive performance, with the exception of a play or two, was outstanding. I don't think that Byron has ever run any better than he did against Georgia." -- Spike Dykes on the Georgia game.
Spike Dykes -- Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes is 57-49-1 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.
John L. Smith -- Second-year head coach John L Smith took over last season as the 22nd head coach in Utah State history. He led the Aggies to a 4-7 record and narrowly missed posting a winning season, losing four games by a combined total of 14 points. Previously, Smith was the head coach at Idaho, where his teams compiled a 53-21 mark in six years, including three-straight trips to the Division I-AA playoffs. He also served as asst. head coach and defensive coord. at Washington St. and Wyoming.
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
The Texas Tech athletic department, through an agreement with University Netcasting, has launched an Internet web site that will contain up-to-date information on each of the 17 Red Raider sports. All football statistics and releases, as well as all media guide information can be found at: http://www.texastech.fansonly.com. National stats are available on the NCAA's web site at http://www.ncaa.org each Sunday.
The Big 12 will conduct a weekly satellite feed featuring highlights from all 12 conference schools beginning Aug. 27. The feed will take place each Tuesday from 3-4 p.m. central with a 2:45 test. The package will run through December 10. Coordinates for the feed are Telstar 401-C, Transponder 19, Audio 6.2 & 6.8. The feed will consist of highlights, interviews with players and coaches and features provided by the 12 Conference sports information offices.
Each Sunday at 2 p.m. (central) throughout the football season, Spike Dykes will conduct a weekly media teleconference. Media is encouraged to use this teleconference to talk with Coach Dykes on a weekly basis. The call is typically scheduled for about 30 minutes. Call the SID office for the access number.
Each Monday at 11:30 a.m., Spike Dykes will conduct a weekly press luncheon in the Lettermen's Lounge at the North End of Jones Stadium. Coach Dykes, two players and coaches and players from various Red Raider Olympic sports will be available. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and the press conferences begin at noon. Members of the media wishing to attend should contact the sports information office in advance.
Spike Dykes Shows
The Spike Dykes Show will air at 10:30 p.m. each Sunday night in Lubbock on KAMC-TV. Hosted by John Harris, the show will also air at 7:30 p.m. each Monday on Fox Sports (Prime Sports Southwest).
Coach Dykes also has a live one-hour radio show broadcast on KKAM-AM in Lubbock from 7-8 p.m. each Wednesday.
1996 Texas Tech Schedule & Results
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. Greaser narrowly missed a 54-yard gamy-tying field goal with just :07 on the clock at Georgia on the wet Sanford Stadium grass.
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 Completes Hat Trick, Grabs First Int. vs Cowboys
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, who registered his first career interception at Georgia, 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.
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 12th in the nation with a 26.5-yard average on six returns. At Georgia, the Dallas Hillcrest grad scampered a career-long 41-yards on one return and against Oklahoma State he returned a kick 32-yards.
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. Defensive tackle Jason Jones of Dallas Kimball played extensively following an injury to starter Corey Chandler.
A pleasant surprise to the Tech coaching staff has been the outstanding play of the Red Raider defense. Ranked 12th nationally in rushing defense and 19th overall, coordinator John Goodner's squad has not allowed opponents many long yardage drives. Prior to the 4th quarter of the Georgia contest, the Tech defense had not allowed an offense TD in nine-straight quarters of play, dating back to the Kansas State 2nd quarter. In addition, Tech had not allowed an opponent to convert a fourth-down this season until late in the Georgia game.
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.
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. 13 Kansas State, the list includes 7th-ranked Nebraska (Oct. 19), No. 14 Texas (Nov. (9) and No. 20 Kansas (Oct. 12). Two other teams -- Texas A&M; (Oct. 26) and Baylor (Oct. 5) -- also received votes in the poll.
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 against KSU.
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.
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.
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 ninth-straight rushing game over 100 yards against Oklahoma in just over three quarters of play. He has also rushed for over 200-yards in four of his last five outings ... 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 11-4 when junior tailback Byron Hanspard rushes for more than 100-yards and is 3-1 when he goes over 200 yards... Quarterback Zebbie Lethridge has accounted for 45 TDs (27 passing, 18 rushing) and only 17 interceptions in his two-plus years as a starter. He has led the Red Raiders to a 14-7 record over the last 21 games... The Sept. 28 opener marks the first time since 1931 that Tech has opened as late as the fourth game of the season at home... Last season, Tech began the season with a 1-2 mark and ended-up with a 9-3 record and win over Air Force in the Weiser lock Copper Bowl.
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 Athens...
* Byron Hanspard's 214 yards rushing against Georgia was the 11th-best single game total in school history and Hanspard's fourth-best effort, including the Copper Bowl game... His 37 carries was the sixth-most on the Tech list for a single game and a career-high for Hanspard... Hanspard has rushed for over 100 yards in nine-straight games and over 200 in four of his last five... Hanspard passed Larry Isaac for fourth on the career rushing list with 2,736 yards.
* Georgia's first TD was the first offensive touchdown allowed by Tech in nine-straight quarters dating back to the 2nd quarter against Kansas State... Tech had also not allowed a fourth-down conversion prior to the final drive of the Georgia game.
* Texas Tech has scored on its opening possession in two straight games after missing a FG in the opener at Kansas State...
* Corey Turner recorded his first career interception and Duane
Price registered his first career sack against Georgia. Tony Daniels
has had a tackle-for-loss in three straight games.