Texas Tech Football: Season Review
Jan. 21, 2014
by Britton Drown
The Texas Tech football team capped off a successful 2013 season with an upset victory over No. 16 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Red Raiders, led by Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP Davis Webb at quarterback, defeated the Sun Devils 37-23 while securing their second-straight eight-win season and fourth-straight bowl victory.
Webb, a true freshman, threw for 403 yards and tied a bowl record with four touchdown passes on the evening. Meanwhile linebacker Will Smith, a Riverside Calif. native, earned Defensive MVP honors in his final game as a Red Raider after tallying 14 tackles, 10 of which were solo efforts.
With the victory, Kliff Kingsbury became the second Red Raider head coach to win a bowl game in his first season.
Upon returning to the South Plains where he helped launch the high-flying air raid offense as one of the top quarterbacks in program history, Kingsbury and the Red Raiders ended the 2013 season with the No. 2 passing offense in the country averaging 392.8 yards per game through the air.
That high-powered offensive attack led by Webb, who finished the season with freshman school record marks of 2,718 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, helped guide Tech to its second-straight victory in the Holiday Bowl. Tech's receiving core was led by junior tight-end and unanimous All-America First Team selection Jace Amaro who ends his Red Raider career on the heels of a breakout 2013 campaign in which he caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 104 yards receiving per game in 2013.
Amaro's 1,352 receiving yards and average of 104 yards per game were both NCAA records for a tight end.
Texas Tech's 2013 campaign jumped out to a fast start as the Red Raiders took down SMU 41-23 in Dallas as Baker Mayfield became the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season-opener for a BCS school. The Austin, Texas native completed 43-of-60 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns against the Mustangs in an effort that would earn the young freshman ESPN's College Football Best Debut Award. His 43 completions broke the Texas Tech record for most by a Red Raider in a starting debut.
The win proved to be quite the spark as Tech went on to win seven-straight games and climb into the top-10 of the national rankings appearing at No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and debuting at No. 10 in the BCS Standings.
That run included a thrilling 20-10 victory over No. 24 TCU in the Red Raiders' Big 12 home opener at a raucous Jones AT&T Stadium. Another true freshman quarterback, this time Prosper, Texas native Davis Webb, provided the highlight of the game with a game-winning 19-yard pass to Bradley Marquez in the corner of the end zone.
With the victory over the Horned Frogs, Tech moved to 3-0 on the season after handling Stephen F. Austin 61-13 the week prior.
The Red Raiders carried that momentum forward to a 33-7 victory over Texas State - also at Jones AT&T Stadium - before facing its first Big 12 road test of the season against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks jumped out to a 10-0 lead in front of a homecoming crowd at Memorial Stadium, but the Red Raiders quickly responded and did so emphatically. Mayfield connected on 33-of-51 passes for 368 yards before leaving the game with an injury. Webb didn't miss a beat though throwing for two touchdown passes in backup duty, while the rushing attack of Kenny Williams and DeAdre Washington combined for 64 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The offensive attack totaled 54 unanswered points in the victory as Tech marched onward to its first 5-0 start and first 2-0 start to Big 12 play since the 2008 season.
The Red Raiders returned home with a No. 20 national ranking and Webb, in his first career start, threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns as Texas Tech outlasted the Cyclones 42-35 to move to a perfect 6-0 on the season, and become the first Big 12 team to secure bowl eligibility. In the win, Tech also had three players rush for at least 80 yards for the first time since 1973.
Furthermore, Kingsbury became the first Texas Tech coach in school history to win his first six games.
Kingsbury and the Red Raiders climbed into the top-15 of the USA Today Coaches Poll as they made their first-ever trip to the state of West Virginia for a Big 12 battle with the Mountaineers in Milan Puskar Stadium. Webb continued to impress becoming the first true freshman quarterback in Tech history to surpass 400 passing yards in back-to-back starts as he threw for 462 on the day guiding the Red Raiders to a 37-27 come-from-behind victory over the Mountaineers.
His passing total broke a school and Big 12 freshman record.
Tech trailed 27-16 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Kenny Williams rushed for two touchdowns and Webb connected with tight end Jace Amaro for a 10-yard touchdown to cap off the 21-point comeback effort.
With the seventh-straight victory, Tech moved to 7-0 for just the fourth time in school history.
Amaro, who later would be named a First Team All-American tight end, caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns becoming just the second Red Raider since 2000 with at least eight receptions in six straight-games.
After debuting at No. 10 in the first edition of the BCS rankings, the Red Raiders suffered their first loss of season in a tough battle at No. 17 Oklahoma, 38-30. The game marked the first in the stretch of three top-20 opponents in four weeks.
Tech returned home for a showdown with No. 12 Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys left Jones AT&T Stadium as the first team to defeat the Red Raiders on their home field in 2013 with a 52-34 victory. The slide would continue as the Red Raiders went on to drop games to Kansas State (49-26), No. 4 Baylor (63-34) and at Texas (41-16) with the final two coming away from home.
The Red Raiders' final regular season game snapped a streak of 26 consecutive games of scoring at least 20-points which dated back to 2011.
Mayfield returned to the starting quarterback role against No. 4 Baylor, while the two combined for 4,630 passing yards on the season. Each have thrown for exactly 2,315 yards.
Meanwhile Amaro, who was named a semifinalist for both the Biletnikoff and John Mackey awards, enters the postseason with 1,240 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He was a unanimous All-American while leading the Big 12 with 98 receptions.
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