Previewing the Kansas Game...
Date: Saturday, October 12, 1996 Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. (CST) Site: Memorial Stadium (50,250), Lawrence, Kan. Series: Tech leads 4-0
Raiders Make 3rd Trip To Kansas - Texas Tech (3-2, 2-1) travels to Lawrence, Kan. for the third time in school history to face the University of Kansas Jayhawks (3-1, 1-0) in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium (capacity 50,250). The Red Raiders are coming off a 45-24 win over Baylor in front of a series record crowd of 50,594 at Jones Stadium. Kansas kept the scoreboard operators busy also with a 52-24 win over conference rival Oklahoma in Norman. Texas Tech is averaging 465.6 yards per game in its first five games this season and is led by junior Heisman Trophy candidate Byron Hanspard's 222.4 yards per game rushing. The Tech rushing offense is third in the nation with a 336.2 yards-per-game average. The Red Raider defense is limiting opponents to just 83.6 yards-per-game rushing, good for 14th in the nation. Kansas is 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Big 12 after an impressive 52-24 win over Oklahoma in Norman. Senior running back June Henley is the nation's third-leading runner with a 166.75 average per game. The Jayhawks are second in the nation in turnover margin with a +2.75 per game mark.
Last Week - Junior tailback Byron Hanspard broke three school records, while the Red Raider offense gained 624 total yards in a 45-24 win over Big 12 Conference rival Baylor at Jones Stadium in Lubbock. A series-record crowd of 50,594 witnessed the third-best offense effort in school history as Texas Tech won its fifth-straight homecoming contest. Tech scored on its opening possession for the fourth-straight game and won for the 11th-straight time in Jones Stadium dating back to a 1994 loss to top-ranked Nebraska on a national ESPN Thursday night telecast. On the opening drive, Hanspard rushed for a 51-yard TD and accounted for all 94 yards to start the game. Redshirt freshman Sammy Morris, who rushed for a career-high 98 yards on only seven carries, capped an 81-yard drive to give Tech a 14-0 lead to end the first quarter - the first time Baylor had trailed this season.
"When Byron steps on the field, there are no limits. We know there is no telling what he can do. I know he makes my job easier." - Tech junior quarterback Zebbie Lethridge following the Baylor contest. "(Texas Tech) has a good offensive line. That line just loves to block for him. They like to see him make big plays, and they were executing very well." - Baylor defensive end Sheldon Mallory.
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
Last Meeting - In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, history
was made according to the 1966 Tech media guide. The Sept. 18, 1965
contest in Lubbock, a 26-7 Tech win, was the first intercollegiate grid
contest in which instant video (Ampex) replay was ever used. Also, at
the time, it was believed to be the first college game to be called (in
the fourth quarter) because of weather, a tornado alert. The game was
called after 56 seconds in the 4th quarter after heavy rains, strong
winds and a tornado alert threatened the 35,300 fans in attendance. A
couple of series notes:
Kaufman Anchors Offensive Line - Senior offensive lineman Ben Kaufman has probably played more snaps at Texas Tech than any player to wear a Red Raider uniform. And, with that experience, he has become, perhaps, the top offensive lineman in the Big 12 Conference. With the uncertainty regarding the eligibility of senior Casey Jones, Kaufman's abilities have been overshadowed by a rapidly improving offensive line. Offensive line coach Ted Unbehagen has stated that Kaufman is "easily one of the best offensive lineman in the Big 12. If there is an all-Big 12 team that doesn't include Ben Kaufman, they shouldn't choose one." Kaufman, a senior from Edinburg, is one of only three true freshmen to ever make a travel squad in Unbehagen's nine years and was a second-team all-SWC selection last season. The Texas Tech offensive line has gone through a few changes over the past few weeks. Only Kaufman at left tackle and Jay Pugh at center have started all five games at the same position. Lynn Scherler has moved into the starting right tackle position for the last four games; Shane Dunn has started three games at right guard, two others at left guard. Chris Whitney has started three different positions - one game at right tackle, two games at right guard and the last two at left guard; 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. Including OSU, the lineup has led the way for Hanspard to rush for over 200 yards in four straight games.
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. Tech's leading tackler, 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 leading tackler with 52 in the first five games this season. He has 27 solo tackles, four tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. He registered 13 tackles against Baylor last weekend.
Daniels Making Up For Lost Time - An often-overlooked All-America candidate, junior defensive end Tony Daniels is making a strong bid to be included as one of the top defensive linemen in the nation. In the first five games, the Odessa native has recorded an outstanding eight tackles for loss. Against Georgia he had a key stuff of quarterback Mike Bobo on an option play that caused a key fumble at the Tech eight-yard-line that ended a potential go-ahead Bulldog score early in the game. Against Oklahoma State, Daniels had three tackles for loss. He has 27 tackles on the season. 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.
Hanspard Makes Fastest Rise to 1,000 - With his impressive 287-yard effort against Baylor, Byron Hanspard has become the first back in the nation to surpass the 1,000-yard mark this season. He has also gone over the 1,000 yards in fewer games than any back in school history. Hanspard surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in the first five games, while Byron Morris in 1993 and James Hadnot in 1978 and 1979 achieved the mark during the eighth game of the season. He is currently second in the nation in rushing with an average of 222.4 yards per game after his 287-yard effort against Baylor last weekend. The Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award candidate is averaging a whopping 7.7 yards per carry and has surpassed the 200-yard barrier in four straight games and six of his last seven games. He has rushed for over 100 yards in 11 straight games. Hanspard recorded a 287-yard school-record outing against Baylor. (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.
Hanspard's Career Stats Rush Yds Avg TDs Rec Yds Avg TDs 1994 173 761 4.4 5 11 230 20.9 1 1995 248 1374 5.5 11 35 474 13.5 7 1996 144 1112 7.7 9 10 114 11.4 0 Total 565 3247 5.7 25 56 818 14.6 8
Lethridge A Double QB Threat - Junior quarterback Zebbie Lethridge is 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 total offense.
Lethridge's Career Stats Att Comp Pct Yds Int TD Eff Rush Yds Avg. TD 1994 261 132 .506 1596 6 12 112.0 110 289 2.6 6 1995 281 136 .484 1885 6 13 115.7 122 137 1.1 9 1996 129 54 .419 641 3 5 57 178 3.1 0 Total 671 322 .480 4122 15 30 289 604 2.1 15
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 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 7-for-10 this season. Junior Tony Rogers and Greaser both 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.
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 for, rushed for and caught a touchdown and, with a TD return of an interception would achieve a rare quadruple. He caught his second interception of the year against Utah State. 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.
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 14th 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-plus seasons, Tech's defense has converted 11 turnovers into touchdowns. Last season the Tech defense averaged almost 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage per game.
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 has caught a TD pass in each of the last two games and is averaging 15.7 yards per catch. He also completed his first career pass on a successful fake field goal toss to Sammy Morris against KSU.
Streaks - Tech currently holds a 11-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 11th-straight rushing game over 100 yards against Baylor. He has also rushed for over 200-yards in four straight games and six of his last seven outings.
Butkus Candidate Armour Misses Baylor Contest - 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, missed the Baylor contest due to a knee sprain suffered against Utah State. He has 236 total tackles in his career, including 17 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 has 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.