Previewing the Baylor Game...
Date: Saturday, October 5, 1996
Raiders Face Baylor In Homecoming Contest... Texas Tech (2-2, 1-1) hosts its first-ever Big 12 contest Saturday against a familiar opponent in Baylor's (3-0, 0-0) first-ever Big 12 contest at 6:30 p.m. at Jones Stadium. Tech is coming off of an impressive 58-20 win over Utah State, while Baylor was off last weekend. The Baylor contest will mark only the second game of the season in Jones Stadium for the Red Raiders. Baylor is 3-0 on the season after having a week off following its 42-10 win over Oregon State. The Bears defeated Louisiana Tech 24-16 in its season opener in Ruston, La., and won at Louisville by a 14-13 margin. Senior Kalief Muhammed is third on the Bears' career list for most all-purpose yards and could become the first player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards in rushing, receiving and kick returns. Texas Tech is 2-2 on the season, but has outscored its opponents by a 115-59 margin this season. The Red Raiders lost its two games at then-18th-ranked Kansas State and at Georgia by a combined 10 points.
Last Week... For the fifth time in his last five games, junior Heisman Trophy candidate tailback Byron Hanspard rushed for more than 200 yards as he rolled to 224 steps in a 58-20 win over Utah State in the Red Raiders' home opener. Texas Tech linebacker Robert Johnson gathered two of the Red Raiders' near-record five interceptions in the game, while quarterback Zebbie Lethridge tossed three TD passes as Tech gained 530 yards of total offense in the game. Utah State coach John L. Smith called Hanspard "bye-bye Byron" after the DeSoto native surpassed the 100-yard mark for the 10th consecutive game. Hanspard moved into third on the Tech career rushing list with 2,960 yards in just two-plus seasons. "What did he get, 400 yards?" said Smith. "Bye-bye Byron, that's what he is. Maybe he'll be gone by the time we have to face them again." Tech is schedule to travel to Logan, Utah to face the Aggies in 1999.
"Robert Johnson continues to amaze me. Robert is a quiet, great football player. He gets very little exposure. But, he continues to make play after play." - Spike Dykes on 5-11, 194-pound senior linebacker Robert Johnson, who intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble against Utah State.
Spike Dykes - Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes is 58-49-1
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 former 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.
Television/Radio... 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
Two breakdowns in the kicking game and only 258 yards in
total offense contributed to a 9-7 Baylor win over the 24th-ranked Red
Raiders in the SWC opener in Waco. Baylor converted field goals after
two big special teams plays: A 76-yard game-opening kickoff return and
a recovered fumble on a short punt after the ball bounced off a Tech
blocker. The loss was the first by a Spike Dykes-coached team when it
did not give up a touchdown. Tech held Baylor to only 44 yards passing
and scored a TD with five seconds left in the game and narrowly missing
recovering the on-sides kick. "It was an old-fashioned alley fight,"
said Dykes. "It was a great defensive knock-down, drag-out affair." A
couple of series notes:
Robert Johnson Defies Critics... Senior strongside linebacker Robert Johnson continues to toss his 194-pound frame into play-after-play this season on the Red Raider defense. The leading returning tackler for Tech, Johnson had perhaps his best game as a Red Raider against Utah State. The Lubbock native intercepted two Aggie passes and recovered a fumble and led the Red Raiders to a 58-20 win in their home opener in Jones Stadium. Two of his caused turnovers were converted into third-quarter TD's extending Tech's lead from 28-20 to 42-20. "I don't know if we have ever had anyone play as well as Robert Johnson played here against Utah State. It was unbelievable what he did. He is quite a football player and he really played his best game since he's been at Texas Tech. He was all over the field," said Dykes. Johnson is the team's second-leading tackler with 39 in the first four games this season. He has 20 solo tackles, three tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
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 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 game-tying field goal with just :07 on the clock at Georgia on the wet Sanford Stadium grass. He is 6-for-8 this season.
Darden Completes Hat Trick, Grabs First Int. vs Cowboys... Junior Tony Darden intercepted the first pass of his career as a defensive back against OSU 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. He caught his second interception of the year against Utah State. 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 four games. Running back Clint Robertson has been impressive in the kickoff return department, ranking 10th 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 against Oklahoma State after missing the entire two-a-day session and linebacker Kevin McCullar from Irving Nimitz has seen special teams and spot linebacker duty. Defensive tackle Jason Jones of Dallas Kimball played extensively at Georgia and against Utah State following an ankle injury to starter Corey Chandler.
Defense... A pleasant surprise to the Tech coaching staff has been the outstanding play of the Red Raider defense that lost five starters from last season. Coordinator John Goodner's squad is ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense. Prior to the 4th quarter of the Georgia contest, the Tech defense had not allowed an offensive 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. 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 three teams ranked in the current Associated Press Top-25 college football poll. In addition to No. 16 Kansas State, the list includes 7th-ranked Nebraska (Oct. 19), No. 23 Texas (Nov. (9) Three other teams -- Texas A&M (Oct. 26), Kansas (Oct. 12) and Baylor (Oct. 5) -- also received votes.
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). He caught his first TD pas of the year against Utah State and the sure-handed Scovell caught two passes for 26 yards in the seasons opener at 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.
Streaks... Tech currently holds a 10-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 10-straight rushing game over 100 yards against Utah State in just over three quarters of play. He has also rushed for over 200-yards in five of his last six outings..
Offensive Line Undergoes Changes... The Texas Tech offensive line has gone through a few changes over the past two games 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 first played as a unit against Oklahoma State and led the way for Byron Hanspard's school-record 272 yards rushing. The line also voted to award Unbehagen the game ball following the victory.