Previewing the Oklahoma Game...
Date: Saturday, November 23, 1996
Raiders vs. Sooners -- Final Regular Season Contest: Texas Tech (5-4, 4-3) returns to Big 12 Conference action for its final regular-season contest of the season against the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma (3-7, 3-4) at 2:30 p.m.at Memorial Stadium (70,004) in Norman, Okla. The contest will mark the final regular-season game for both teams and, surprisingly, is only the fourth-ever meeting between the two schools.
Texas Tech clinched a bowl apperance with a convincing 56-21 victory over Southwestern Louisiana last weekend. Tech running back Byron Hanspard became only the sixth player in history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark in a single season. He also became the 37th player in NCAA history to surpass 4,000 yards in a career. This season, Texas Tech has set 14 team and individual school records and set the second-best attendance average in school history.
Oklahoma is 3-7 overall under first-year coach John Blake and former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Dick Winder, but is 3-3 in their last six games with wins over Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. The Sooners are averaging 385.7 total yards per game and 200.4 yards rushing. Redshirt freshman De'Mond Parker leads Oklahoma in rushing with 1,129 total yards and a 112.9 per game average. Senior James Allen is rushing at a 73.7 per game clip.
Last Week: After the first scoreless first quarter of the season, Texas Tech exploded for 28 second-quarter points en route to a 56-21 win over Southwestern Louisiana in front of 34,261 fans at Jones Stadium. Junior tailback Byron Hanspard rushed for 257 yards and four TDs and set Texas Tech records for single season rushing, career rushing, single-season tandem yards and single-season all-purpose yards in the game. Tech rolled to 466 yards to total offense but gave up 306 yards passing and 123 yards rushing.
Senior tailback Adrian Ervin rushed for a career-high 75 yards on 6 carries and had a long rush of 42 yards on a fourth-quarter TD. Donnie Hart led the Raiders in receiving with two catches for 46 yards. Malcolm McKenzie also had two catches for 16 yards, while quarterback Zebbie Lethridge passed for 77 total yards on 7-for-16 passing with one TD. Lethridge also rushed for a TD in the game.
Television/Radio: The Texas Tech at Oklahoma game will serve as the ninth television appearance for the Red Raiders this season and the third on the ABC television network. Texas Tech appeared on ABC at Kansas State and against Nebraska. The Red Raiders have appeared on ABC, Fox and ESPN2 this season, in addition to two Pay-Per-View games televised by Fox Sports Southwest.
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.asrn.com.
Series Records: Oklahoma holds a 3-0 series edge over the Red Raiders with all three games taking place in the last five years. The first meeting between the two teams was a 34-9 Sooner win in Texas Tech's 1992 season-opener at Jones Stadium. OU quarterback Cale Gundy threw for 341 yards on 22-for-28 passing in front of 48,691 fans and a national ESPN audience. The 15th-ranked Sooners scored 20 first half points and held the Raiders scoreless in the final three quarters to seal the win. Byron Morris led all rushers with 103 yards, while Robert Hall threw for 150 yards for Tech.
In 1993, Oklahoma's big-play offense broke the Red Raiders' back with a pair of TDs just before halftime on the way to a 41-10 win in the John Hancock Bowl. Tech, who was riding a five-game winning streak, had a chance to get back in the game in the third-quarter with a Byron Morris TD, but missed-out on drives to OU's 17 and 33 yard lines and a missed field goal from 51 yards. Punter Robert King set a Tech bowl record with a 42.6-yard average on seven averages.
In 1994, the 21st-ranked Sooners won a hard-fought 17-11 decision in Norman after rolling to 390 yards of offense, while holding the Raiders to just 29-yards rushing. After giving-up two second-quarter scores, Tech brought the game to within 14-11 after a Zebbie Lethridge to Jeff Knowles two-point conversion following a fumble recovery for a TD. Byron Hanspard, in his only game against OU, rushed the ball five times for five yards in only his third collegiate game. Tony Darden threw for 87 yards to lead Tech in passing.
Mr. October: Head coach Spike Dykes has compiled an impressive 42-17-1 record after October 10 while at Texas Tech. Since 1993, Dykes' teams have recorded a 19-5-0 record after Oct. 10. This season, Tech is 3-2 and has just one game left to play in the regular season.
During its past 14 home games, Texas Tech owns an 12-2 record, and is 2-1 against ranked teams, including a 33-9 win over No. 19 Texas in '94 and a 14-7 win over No. 8 Texas A&M in 1995.
Tech has also averaged a 27-point margin of victory during its last 12wins in Jones Stadium and has averaged 40 points per game.
Tech on Pace to Set Attendance Record: With three-straight sellouts against Baylor, Nebraska and Texas and three of the top 10 crowds since 1983, fans have been attending Texas Tech football games in record numbers this season. The inaugural season of the Big 12 Conference, a Heisman Trophy candidate running back and and exciting football team have all contributed to the rise in interest in Texas Tech football. The expansion of Raider Alley and a number of interesting promotions have been factors as well.
This year, Tech has enjoyed a 15.5 percent increase in attendance over last season and its average of 45,317 for the five games this season is just short of the school record average of 46,083 set in 1979. That season, the Raiders played six home games and recorded two crowds in excess of 52,000. Last season, Tech recorded a 27 percent increase in football attendance, good for 7th in the nation and marked an average increase of 8,200 fans from the previous season.
Texas Tech has enjoyed an astounding 41.4 percent attendance increase over the past two seasons!
Possession -- Texas Tech: This season Texas Tech has maintained a substantial edge in time of possession in seven of the 10 games it has played. The only three games in which Tech did not enjoy an edge in possession time was Oklahoma State (31-3 win), Utah State (58-20 win) and Texas (38-32 loss). Tech has held the ball for over 52 total minutes more than the opposition this season. The Red Raiders have averaged over a five minute edge in time of possession this season.
Veterans Anchors Offensive Line: As a three-year starter, senior offensive lineman Ben Kaufman has probably played more snaps at Texas Tech than any player to wear a Red Raider uniform. And he has become, perhaps, the top offensive lineman in the Big 12 Conference. 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."
The Texas Tech offensive line has gone through a few changes this season. Only Kaufman at left tackle and Jay Pugh at center have started all 10 games at the same position. Lynn Scherler has moved into the starting right tackle position for the last nine games; Shane Dunn has started five games at right guard, five others at left guard. Chris Whitney has started three different positions -- one game at right tackle, two games at right guard and six of the last seven at left guard; Justin Collingsworth moved from backup at left tackle to right tackle.
Senior captain Casey Jones returned to action for the first time this season against Nebraska after missing the first six games of the season in attempt to regain his eligibility. After exhausting all appeals through the school and the NCAA, Jones went to the court system. A Lubbock judge awarded a temporary injuction clearing the way for Jones to play. Jones scored his first career TD with a one-yard plunge against USL.
Red Zone Kind To Red Raiders: Texas Tech has enjoyed a success rate inside the 20-yard line this season on both sides of the ball. The Red Raider offense has scored on 75 percent of its possessions in the "red zone", while limiting opponents to just a 66 percent success rate inside the 20-yard-line.
Robert Johnson Provides Leadership: "Pound-for-pound, Robert Johnson may be the best football player in the country" -- Liberty Sports analyst Ron Thulin during the Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech telecast
Senior strongside linebacker Johnson continues to toss his 194-pound frame into play-after-play this season. For his stellar performance against Nebraska, which included an interception for a TD, Johnson was awarded the ABC-TV Chevrolet Player of the Game.
Tech's leading tackler with 89 total stops in nine games, 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. He was named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
"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 89 in the first nine games this season. He has 50 solo tackles, three interceptions and five tackles for loss.
Dane Johnson Enters 1,000-Yard Club: Junior safety Dane Johnson has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for returns in his career. The Southlake native has 1,074 total yards in punt, kick and interception returns in his career. He was a preseason all-Big 12 selection at punt returner this season and has quietly been one of the leaders for the Red Raider defense.
Daniels Named Semifinalist for Nagurski Trophy: One of the few defensive players in the Big 12 that can alter an offensive gameplan, junior All-America candidate Tony Daniels is making a strong bid to be included as one of the top defensive performers in the nation. Daniels was recently named one of 23 semifinalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the nation's top defensive player.
In the first nine games, the Odessa native has recorded an outstanding 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, four fumbles caused and four fumble recoveries. In Tech's 13-10 win at Texas A&M, Daniels recorded two crucial sacks to end the Aggies' final two potential game-winning drives.
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. Against Texas A&M, Daniels recorded key sacks in the Aggies final two drives to key the 13-10 victory in College Station.
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 '95 season to focus on his comeback.
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.
Hanspard Receives All-America Award: For the sixth-straight season, a Texas Tech football player has earned All-America honors by Football News. Junior Red Raider tailback Byron Hanspard was named to the publication's first-team.
Hanspard, a 6'-0", 193-pound marketing major from DeSoto, was one of seven Big 12 Conference players on the offensive and defensive first teams and joined Iowa State running back Troy Davis in the first-team backfield. Overall, 10 players from the Big 12 were named to either the first or second teams, which were selected by the editorial staff of Football News.
Last season linebacker Zach Thomas was named to the first team after earning second-team honors in 1994. Running back Byron Morris was named to the first team in 1993, wide receiver Lloyd Hill was a first-team selection in 1992, while punter Mark Bounds earned first-team honors in 1991.
Football News First-Team All-America OFFENSE DEFENSE QB Danny Wuerffel, Florida DL Grant Wistrom, Nebraska RB Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech DL Peter Boulware, Florida State RB Troy Davis, Iowa State DL Tarek Saleh, Wisconsin WR Marcus Harris, Wyoming LB Canute Curtis, West Virginia WR Ike Hilliard, Florida LB Keith Mitchell, Texas A&M TE Tony Gonzalez, California LB Jason Chorak, Washington OL Aaron Taylor, Nebraska LB Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern OL Juan Roque, Arizona State DB Kevin Jackson, Alabama OL Orlando Pace, Ohio State DB Shawn Springs, Ohio State OL Chris Naeole, Colorado CB Sam Madison, Louisville OL Benji Olson, Washington DB Chris Canty, Kansas State PK Mark Primanti, North Carolina St. P Brad Maynard, Ball State
Hanspard Maintains Record-Setting Pace: With his streak-extending 257-yard effort against Southwestern Louisiana, junior Heisman Trophy candidate Byron Hanspard set several school records last week. His average of 200.0 yards per game leads the nation. His 2,000 total yards this season is the sixth-highest total in NCAA history.
Against Baylor, Hanspard had become the first back in the nation to pass the 1,000-yard mark this season. He has also gone over 1,000 yards in fewer games than any back in Tech history. Hanspard passed 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.
The Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award candidate is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has surpassed the 200-yard barrier in five games this season. He has rushed for over 100 yards in 16 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 311 2000 6.4 13 16 176 11.0 1 Total 732 4135 5.6 29 62 880 14.2 9
Lethridge Continues to Move Up Tech Charts: Junior quarterback Zebbie Lethridge has quietly been moving up the school charts in several categories. He passed Ron Reeves on the career passing yards list (3rd, 4,987), career pass completions (3rd, 373), Career pass attempts (3rd, 783), career TD passes (3rd, 35) and career total offense (3rd, 5,699). He also moved past James gray for second on the school list for TDs responsible for with 55.
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 241 105 .436 1506 5 10 105.6 114 286 2.5 5 Total 783 373 .477 4987 17 35 346 712 1.9 20
Greaser Goes Long: Sophomore kicker Jaret Greaser has connected on two of the nine longest field goals in school history this season. He made a 55-yarder against Texas, which cleared the upright with plenty of room to spare and landed in the grassy area of Jones Stadium. He laos made a 53-yarder at Kansas State. His prep career-high was a 59-yarder while competing at Amarillo H.S.
He 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 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 8-for-12 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.
Hernandez Wins AT&T Long Distance Award: Junior punter Jeremy Hernandez, with is 53.3-yard punting average against Baylor, was the recipient of the weekly AT&T Long Distance Award given to the nation's best punting average in a single game. Hernandez is currently averaging 42.4 yards per punt and has been among the national leaders all season. Hernandez was awarded the starting job during the pregame warm-ups for the first game of the season at Kansas State. At that point, Dykes had not named a permanent starter.
Darden Looking For... Quadfecta?: 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. With an interception return for a TD, he would achieve a rare quadruple: A TD rushing, passing, receiving and by interception. 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. He caught his second interception of the year against Utah State and third at Kansas.
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). He caught TD passes against Baylor and Utah State 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. He was named a Burger National Scholar-Athlete of the Week this season.