Texas Tech Defeats USL, 56-21
LUBBOCK, Texas - History was made in Texas Tech's final home game of the 1996 season against the University of Southwestern Louisiana Ragin Cajuns.
Junior I-back and Heisman Trophy candidate joined an elite group of collegiate running backs when he became only the sixth player in college football's long and storied history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
Oh yeah, the Red Raiders (6-4, 4-3) won the game, 56-21, sending the Cajuns (5-6) to their first losing season in four years.
Hanspard rushed 37 times for 257 yards, giving him exactly 2,000 for the season. The rushing performance also gave him the Tech records for single-season yards and most yards in a career. Hanspard now has 4,135 rushing yards in his three-year career at Tech.
The first quarter was anything but record-breaking for the Raiders. A decidedly brisk south wind limited both offenses, forcing seven punts in the first stanza.
An interception by Raider free safety Dane Johnson set the Raiders up at the USL 27-yard line late in the first quarter. On the first play of the second period, Hanspard sprinted six yards to the end zone, giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead.
The Cajuns responded two drives later on a five yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Brandon Stokley. The TD was set up by a 40-yard rush by Cajun tailback Darren Brister, the longest run of the season by the Cajuns.
After that, though, it was all Red Raiders.
Tech scored 21 more points in the second quarter alone. The first touchdown came right after USL had tied the score. On the first play from scrimmage, Hanspard went around left end for 65 yards and a touchdown, one of four he would score on the day.
On Tech's next drive, quarterback Zebbie Lethridge capped a 59-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown rush and a 21-7 lead. After the Cajuns were forced to punt, the Raiders scored again on a 32-yard pass from Lethridge to wide receiver Donnie Hart and a 28-7 half time lead.
The second half was much like the first one. The Cajuns drove to the Tech 21-yard line where, on fourth-down and nine yards to go, Delhomme was sacked by defensive end Taurus Ruecker.
The Raiders immediately capitalized. Hanspard rushed for 51 yards on a 70-yard drive and capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown run.
The Cajuns came back with their best drive of the game, albeit too little, too late. USL went 88 plays in 10 yards and scored when fullback Kenyon Cotton bulled into the end zone from 11 yards out.
On the Raiders' next drive, Hanspard crossed the 200-yard mark for the fifth time this year. The Raiders were forced to punt, but the junior from DeSoto was less than 50 yards away from the 2,000 yard mark.
He almost crossed the mark on Tech's first drive of the fourth quarter. A Raider drive that started at the USL 46-yard line had stalled. Forced to punt, the Raiders got new life when the Cajuns were flagged for a personal foul. Shortly thereafter, Hanspard went up the middle for 32 yards and his final touchdown of the day.
After Tech line backer Kevin McCullar intercepted a Delhomme pass, the Raiders had the ball at mid field. Needing five yards to reach the 2,000-yard plateau, the crowd of approximately 30,000 fans at Jones Stadium only wondered how many carries it would take Hanspard.
They didn't have to wonder long. On his first play, Hanspard ran off-tackle for five yards, his yard number 2,000 on the season.
Hanspard headed for the bench. The Raiders didn't seem to miss him. Two plays later, reserve I-back Adrian Ervin ran 42 yards for a touchdown, giving the Raiders a 49-14 lead.
The Cajuns scored again on Cotton's 39-yard touchdown run, narrowing the gap to 49-21. Any thoughts of a comeback were quelled, though. After forcing the Raiders to punt, the Cajuns fumbled a punt return that Duane Price recovered at the USL three-yard line.
Two plays later, senior offensive guard Casey Jones, playing his final game in Jones Stadium, lined up at fullback, took the hand off and rolled into the end zone to give the Raiders another touchdown with 3:46 left in the game. It was the first carry of Jones' career.
On a day when seemingly everything went right for the Raiders, the Tech offense rolled up 466 yards against the Cajuns. On the ground, the Raiders carried 56 times for 389 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Lethridge completed seven of 16 passes for 77 yards and one touchdown. Lethridge stepped aside midway through the third quarter to allow second-string quarterback Sone Cavazos, a senior, to run the offense.
The Raiders committed no turnovers and forced four from the Cajuns.
Defensively, the Raiders gave up 429 yards of offense, most of it well after the game had been decided. USL had only 87 yards of offense in the first half and 235 by the end of the third quarter.
The Cajuns rushed 27 times for 123 yards and threw for 306 yards. Delhomme, playing in the final game of a career that saw him set numerous school records, completed 19 of 42 passed for 254 yards and one touchdown. He was picked off twice.
Hanspard, who regained the lead in the nation's rushing race from Iowa State's Troy Davis, made a solid case for the Heisman Trophy award, running for more than 20 yards on five occasions.
Final Scoring Summary
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- SW LOUISIANA 0 7 7 7 21 TEXAS TECH 0 28 7 21 56 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QTR: NONE 2ND QTR: TXTC - TD, BYRON HANSPARD 6 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 0:04 SWLA - TD, BRANDON STOKLEY 5 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME (JEREMY DEACH KICK), 4:10 TXTC - TD, BYRON HANSPARD 65 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 4:22 TXTC - TD, ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE 12 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 10:30 TXTC - TD, DONNIE HART 32 YD PASS FROM ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE (JARET GREASER KICK), 12:39 3RD QTR: TXTC - TD, BYRON HANSPARD 20 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 7:40 SWLA - TD, KENYON COTTON 11 YD RUN (JEREMY DEACH KICK), 10:22 4TH QTR: TXTC - TD, BYRON HANSPARD 32 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 1:01 TXTC - TD, ADRIAN ERVIN 42 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 5:00 SWLA - TD, KENYON COTTON 39 YD RUN (JEREMY DEACH KICK), 6:44 TXTC - TD, CASEY JONES 1 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 11:14 Sw Louisiana Texas Tech First downs 23 25 Rushed-yards 27-123 56-389 Passing yards 306 77 Sacked-yards lost 1-1 2-12 Return yards 11 55 Passes 21-46-2 7-18-0 Punts 7-49.1 8-35.5 Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0 Penalties-yards 11-122 11-116 Time of possession 26:12 33:48 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Sw Louisiana-Cotton 12-77, Brister 8-55, Soignier 3-19, Richard 1-0, Delhomme 2-minus 12, Team 1-minus 16. Texas Tech-Hanspard 37-257, Ervin 6-73, Renda 1-13, Lethridge 2-11, R Jones 3-10, Mitchell 1-10, Cavazos 3-7, Roberson 2-7, C Jones 1-1. PASSING: Sw Louisiana-Delhomme 19-42-2-254, Soignier 2-4-0-52. Texas Tech-Lethridge 7-16-0-77, Cavazos 0-2-0-0. RECEIVING: Sw Louisiana-Stokley 8-87, Mayweather 3-66, Richard 3-40, Buford 2-54, Romero 2-21, Gasaway 1-19, Strother 1-17, Cotton 1-2. Texas Tech-Hart 2-46, Mckenzie 2-16, Bass 1-10, Scovell 1-7, R Jones 1-minus 2. Att: 34,261