Texas Tech vs. Fresno State|
September 13, 1998
Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0) vs. Fresno State (0-1, 0-0) Saturday, Sept. 19, 1998 Jones Stadium Lubbock, Texas 6 p.m.
Texas Tech Pushing for First 3-0 Start Since 1989
Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0 in the Big 12) will play the final game of its non-conference schedule Saturday when it hosts Fresno State (0-1, 0-0 in the WAC) at 6 p.m. in Jones Stadium. The Red Raiders will be looking to win its first three games of the season for the first time since the 1989 campaign when Texas Tech began the season with a 3-0 mark. That season, the Red Raiders finished 9-3 with a convincing 49-21 win over Duke in the All-American Bowl. Promotions for the game include the Stars of the Cactus Theatre at Raider Alley, which begins at 3 p.m.; Tailgate West, located at 18th & Indiana; The national "Take A Kid" promotion, which matches approximately 2,000 local and area youth with college students to tour the campus and attend the game; and Alumni Band Day.
Last Week for the Red Raiders
The Red Raider defense limited North Texas to just 125 total yards of offense, the lowest total for a Texas Tech opponent since TCU managed just 117 in 1977, in Texas Tech's 30-0 shutout at Texas Stadium last weekend. The shutout marked the first for a Texas Tech team since a 34-0 blanking of Houston in 1994. Sophomore Doak Walker Award candidate Ricky Williams rushed for 170 yards and two TDs in the game, while senior Matt Tittle made his first career start at quarterback in place of injured junior Rob Peters. Tittle completed a 44-yard strike to Donnie Hart on the Red Raiders's first play from scrimmage. He ended the day with 257 yards passing in the game. Senior kicker Jaret Greaser suffered a strained right groin in the first half. Sophomore walk-on Chris Birkholz came-on in relief and connected on field goals of 43 and 45 yards.
Spike Dykes entered a record-setting season in 1998 as the "dean" of Big 12 coaches. In his 12th season as the head football at Texas Tech, Dykes has surpassed Pete Cawthon for the longest tenure at that position. With a record of 71-57-1, Dykes signed a contract extension following the 1997 season that ensures that he will remain the coach of the Red Raiders through the year 2000. Recognized as the first-ever Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1996, he has led the Red Raiders to seven-straight seasons of no lower than second-place conference or division finishes. A 1959 graduate of Stephen F. Austin, Dykes has coached 10 All-Americas and 69 all-conference selections and his offensive squads have set over 77 individual or team school records. His philosophy of coaching... "I think you coach because you love kids. If you do that, every day is rewarding."
Radio / Television Coverage
The Fresno State contest will be broadcast live on Texas Tech's network of radio stations throughout the state of Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Veteran play-by-play announcer Jack Dale returns for his 47th-straight year as the voice of the Red Raiders. John Harris will handle the color commentary and Mark Finkner will provide sideline reports. The game will also be available on the Internet through Broadast.com. A link to the site is provided on the Texas Tech athletic website at www.texastech.com. In addition, for the first time ever, all Texas Tech football games will be broadcast in Spanish on KXTQ-FM/AM in Lubbock. Longtime Dallas Cowboys announcer Mario Montez will handle the play-by-play duties. The game will be televised through Fresno State's local agreement with KMPH-TV. Due to Big 12 Conference television agreements with Fox Sports Net and ABC Sports, the game will only be broadcast in the Fresno market.
Fresno State enters the game with a deceiving 0-1 record following a narrow 29-21 season-opening loss at then-16th-ranked Colorado last weekend. The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game after blocking a CU punt late in the fourth quarter. However, quarterback Billy Volek had the ball knocked loose at the one-foot line with just :22 left in the game to seal CU's win. Volek ended the game with 177 passing yards. Senior tailback Jaime Kimbrough rushed for 107 yards in the game to lead the Bulldog ground attack. Kimbrough moved from fullback to tailback last spring and is the team's leading returning rusher. He also led the team in receiving with six catches vs. CU. Fresno State has an 0-7 all-time record against teams from the Big 12 Conference.
Texas Tech vs. Fresno State: The Series Texas Tech and Fresno State have never met on the gridiron. However the two teams are deadlocked in an all-time 4-4 record in the sports of men's and women's basketball and baseball. In Dec. 1996, the Red Raider men's basketball team increased its series record against Fresno State to 3-1 with a 111-101 win over the 17th-ranked Bulldogs in Las Vegas, Nev. The two schools split two games in the 1996 NCAA Central Regional for baseball, hosted by Texas Tech at Dan Law Field. Fresno State has a 1-2 overall record vs the Red Raiders in baseball and owns a 1-0 mark vs Texas Tech in women's basketball. Texas Tech is scheduled to return the football game on Sept. 14, 2002 in Fresno.
Texas Tech's Ricky Williams is Doak Walker Nominee Texas Tech tailback Ricky Williams (Duncanville, Texas) is one of only two players (Missouri's Devin West is the other) to average more than 200 yards per game through the opening weeks of the season. Currently second in the nation with a 210.5 average, he is averaging 6.1 yards per carry following last weekend's 170-yard performance against North Texas. He rushed for the fifth-highest regular-season total ever for a Red Raider with 251 yards against Texas-El Paso in the season opener. His total yardage in that game was the highest in the nation for that week and his 41 carries was a career-high. Last season Williams set a Red Raider freshman rushing record with 894 yards on 201 carries for a 4.4 average per rush. A preseason candidate for the Dr Pepper Doak Walker Award, Williams ended the season with 133 yards more than 1996 Doak Walker Award winner Byron Hanspard compiled during his rookie season in 1994. He also recorded 380 more yards than 1993 Doak Walker Award winner Byron Morris amassed during his freshman season in 1991. Williams was named a second-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News. Williams should not be confused with talented University of Texas senior running back Ricky Williams. In the only head-to-head matchup between the two players, Texas Tech's Ricky outrushed his Longhorn counterpart 131-80 last season in Austin. Both Rickys will be harder to recognize than in 1997 after changing jersey numbers. Texas Tech's Ricky now wears No. 2 (prep jersey #) after wearing No. 35 last season. UT's Ricky switched from No. 11 to No. 34 this season.
T-I-T-T-L-E Spells Relief
Senior Matt Tittle (Flower Mound, Texas) started his first career game against North Texas and set a career-high with 257 yards in the air. He saw the first significant action since his high school days in the Texas-El Paso game following starter Rob Peters' departure due to a shoulder injury. Tittle had only attempted one pass as a Red Raider but finished the UTEP game completing 10-of-18 pass attempts for 172 yards and one TD. He connected on passes of 60-yards and 45-yards (for a TD) to Donnie Hart in the game. The last TD pass he threw prior to the UTEP game was in the playoffs at Texas Stadium as a senior in high school.
Reagor One of Nation's Best
Senior Montae Reagor (Waxahachie, Texas) needs just one sack to become the school's most prolific quarterback pass rusher. He is also needs just four tackles for losses to surpass All-America Gabe Rivera as the school leader in that category. Against North Texas, Reagor recorded two tackles behind the line of scrimmage to surpass Zach Thomas on the career list with 30. After earning second-team All-America honors by The Sporting News last season. This year, Reagor has been named a first-team All-America by virtually every preseason magazine and was named the top pass rusher in the nation by TSN. Several publications have listed Reagor as a preseason defensive player of the year in the Big 12. He is a preseason candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award.
Hart Candidate for Biletnikoff Award
This season senior receiver Donnie Hart (Wolfforth, Texas) has moved into fourth on the Texas Tech list for career receiving yards and is tied for fourth with Donny Anderson for career receiving TDs following the North Texas game. He tied Anderson on Texas Tech's first offensive play from scrimmage, a 44-yard TD strike from Matt TIttle. A first-team all-Big 12 selection in 1997 despite playing in only seven games, Hart entered the season seventh on the Texas Tech list for career receiving yard just 667 yards from second-place Wayne Walker (2,007). Hart was named as one of the top five receivers in the nation by The Sporting News and the best receiver in the Big 12 by several publications.
Red Raiders Possess Several Honors Candidates
Besides Reagor, Hart and WIlliams, a quick look at the Red Raider depth chart reveals several potential candidates for post-season honors this season, including: senior cornerback Darwin Brown (Tyler, Texas), who Texas Football named as the best cornerback in the Big 12 South after he led the league in pass breakups in 1997; sophomore offensive tackle Jonathan Gray (Lubbock, Texas), who was the Big 12's largest player in 1997; junior tight end Kyle Allamon (Lubbock, Texas), who missed the 1997 season to work on academics; junior defensive end Taurus Rucker, who is the team's second-leading returning tackler; senior kicker Jaret Greaser (Amarillo, Texas), who was one of the nation's top kickers before suffering a broken leg at Nebraska last season; and senior linebacker Kevin McCullar (Irving, Texas), who has been bitten by the injury bug throughout his career.
It's All Academic
The Red Raiders have several players worthy of consideration for Academic All-America honors this season. Junior quarterback Rob Peters (Katy, Texas) enters the season with a cumulative grade point average of over a 3.9 in his accounting major. Junior raider Keith Cockrum (Goldthwaite, Texas) has a perfect 4.0 g.p.a in his finance major. Junior raider Reagan Bownds (Eldorado, Texas) has over a 3.6 g.p.a. in his agribusiness major. Eight Red Raiders earned a perfect 4.0 in at least one semester during 1997-98. Texas Tech was second in the Big 12 in academic all-Big 12 selections in 1997 with 15.
SWARM Enjoys Banner Day vs. North Texas
Texas Tech's SWARM defense is living up to its preseason billing with two strong performances to begin the season. Ranked tied for first in the nation in scoring defense, the Red Raiders have allowed just three points in the first two games against UTEP and North Texas. Texas Tech also limited North Texas to just 125 yards of total offense, which was the lowest total allowed since holding TCU to 177yards in a 49-17 win in 1977.
Tech Among National Turnover Margin Leaders
According to research conducted by Pete Tredwell of ESPN, Texas Tech entered 1998 as the top team in the nation in turnover margin over the last five seasons. The Red Raiders have a plus-52 margin in turnovers, including a plus-12 last season. Penn State is the second with a plus-40 margin. In 1997, the Red Raiders finished 11th in the nation in turnover margin with plus-1.00 per game.
Red Raiders Third-Best in Big 12 Games
Since the formation of the Big 12 Conference prior to the 1996 season, Texas Tech is tied with Colorado and A&M for the third-best conference record of any team in the league. Nebraska leads the pack with a perfect 16-0 conference mark. Kansas State is second with an 13-3 mark while Texas Tech, Colorado and A&M are third with a 10-6 record. Tech is one of only three teams to post at least five conference wins in each of its first two seasons in the Big 12.
Red Raider Road Warriors
Texas Tech ended its second season of the Big 12 Conference having fashioned an impressive 6-2 conference road record since the league began in 1996. The only two teams the Red Raiders have not beaten on the road are nationally-ranked Nebraska and Kansas State over the past two seasons. Texas Tech will trade Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State for Colorado, Iowa State and Missouri for the next two seasons. Colorado and Iowa State are scheduled for on the road in 1998.
Red Raider Ground Defense Under defensive coordinator John Goodner, the Red Raider defense enjoyed ground success against Big 12 opponents last season, limiting seven of eight opponents to less than their final rushing average. Ranked 22nd in the nation in total defense, Texas Tech limited its opponents to an average of almost 80 fewer yards per game on the ground than their final averages.
One of the Nation's Heaviest Last season Texas Tech owned the third-largest starting offensive line in the nation, averaging 320.6 across the line. This season, the projected starting lineup for the five offensive line positions totals 1,614-pounds, which averages a whopping 322.8 pounds per man. The heavest player on the line is sophomore tackles Jonathan Gray (Lubbock, Texas). Nicknamed "The House," Gray was the Big 12's largest player in 1997. The other four: Steve McFadden (Houston, Texas), RT, 328; Curtis Lowery (Stephenville, Texas), LG, 327; Erik Carruth (Rockport, Texas), RG, 311; Robert Haddon (Euless, Texas), C, 291.
Youth Brigade This season's Red Raider football team has only 18 seniors on the 105-man preseason roster and just 14 of those are listed on the preseason depth chart. The class breakdown for the current roster is: 39 freshmen (21 redshirt, 18 true), 30 sophomores, 18 juniors and 18 seniors. With only 15 seniors on the squad last season, Texas Tech had one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 Conference. The 18 seniors this season includes Darwin Brown, who lost a medical redshirt application to the NCAA, Dan Martin, who will apply for a sixth year of eligibility and Kevin McCullar, who lost his freshman year as a partial qualifier. Among the accomplishments of the Red Raiders seniors are: three-straight bowl appearances; never finishing lower than second in the conference or division; and advancing to the first Cotton Bowl since 1939. They have also defeated Texas A&M three-straight seasons and swept the in-state league rivals (Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M) in 1997.
Tech Among Tops in Big 12 History
One overlooked aspect of Texas Tech's football program is its long history of success. Despite being the youngest school in the Big 12 (74th year of football this season), Texas Tech has been to 22 bowl games, which is among the top 20 in the nation, and has the fourth-best average wins per season in the league. Entering 1997, Texas leads the list at 6.8 wins per season, while Nebraska and Oklahoma are second and third, respectively with a 6.7 and 6.6 average. Texas Tech is tied with Texas A&M for fourth with 5.7, while Colorado rounds out the top half of the league with an average of 5.6 and 5.5 wins per season, respectively. Five teams in the South Division of the Big 12 are among the top seven schools in wins per season in their histories.
Red Raiders Making the Grade
Last academic year Texas Tech athletes posted record-setting efforts in the classroom in both the fall and spring semesters. The overall grade-point average for Red Raiders student-athletes for the spring semester was a 2.801, which went up from the 2.784 during the fall semester. Both marks were the best since at least 1990. Over 87 percent of Texas Tech student-athletes during the spring '98 semester earned a 2.00 g.p.a. or above. Over 85 percent of the football players recorded a 2.00 g.p.a. or better. The average g.p.a. for the football team was a 2.62 during the spring and 30 players earned either president's or dean's list honors for either semester.
Notes of Interest
Junior Reagan Bownds (Eldorado, Texas) was named to Successful Farming Magazine's All-America Farm Team. He was one of five Big 12 players on the team, which recognizes outstanding college football players who hail from farming backgrounds. Bownds was a world-champion goat roaper in 1996. He recorded his first career interception against UTEP this season..
Position changes for 1998 include Jamaal Crisp (Dallas, Texas) moving from quarterback to raider; Michael Wilborn (Olton, Texas) who signed-on as a linebacker and entered fall drills as a fullback; Shannon Bennett (Grand Prairie, Texas) experimented at quarterback when he reported August 10 but moved to defensive back; Anthony Malbrough, who served as a backup tailback in 1997 but moved to cornerback last spring; Detwill Williams moved from defensive end to defensive tackle; Mark Washington moved from receiver to free safety last spring; Ric Fielder moved from offensive to defensive line last spring...
Backup receiver King Scovell (Dallas, Texas) is the brother of former Red Raider receiver Field Scovell and the son of former Texas Tech quarterback John Scovell. He is also the grandson of Field Scovell, "Mr. Cotton Bowl."... Three brothers from Sterling City, Texas are members of the Red Raider squad. Brad, Bryan and Brandon McDaniel are all walk-ons to the Red Raider football team. Brad served as one of the 105 players invited to participate in fall two-a-day drills... Despite the proximity to the state, Matt Heider (Roswell, N.M.) is the only Red Raider to hail from New Mexico... Freshman Zeno McCoy (Plainview, Texas) spent the last three years as an E-4 communications specialist in the U.S. Army. He signed with Texas A&M originally before joining the Army in 1995...
Senior offensive guard Erik Carruth (Rockport, Texas) spent the summer repossessing furniture for a local company... Senior defensive tackle Cody Patton(Electra, Texas) lost 23 pounds since last season. He has suffered from various leg and ankle ailments during his career and the shedded weight should help alleviate some of those problems. His primary method of losing the weight was a daily four-mile run during the summer... Senior punter Jeremy Hernandez (Midland, Texas) missed a day of practice during two-a-day drills to gake the MCAT exam as part of his application to medical school. He was excused by coach Dykes for missing practice... Redshirt freshman receiver David Simmonds (New Braunfels, Texas) suffered a spinal cord contusion during two-a-day drills and spent two days in the hospital. He will miss at least six weeks and his long-term status remains unclear. Simmonds was in a scrimmage drill near the end of practice when he made limited contact with a defensive player and went to the ground. He had no feeling in his lower body for several hours...
Junior offensive guard Curtis Lowery (Stephenville, Texas) is finally receiving a chance to enter a season at 100 percent. A highly-sought recruit, Lowery suffered severe burns in a cooking grease fire in 1996 and missed all that season. He returned to the field in 1997 and earned a starting spot last spring at left guard... While Jonathan Gray is known as "The House," sophomore left tackle Steve McFadden (Houston, Texas) is known as "The Shack." Other interesting nicknames on the team include T-Ruck (Taurus Rucker, Denison, Texas), Mad Dog (Robert Wyatt, Duncanville, Texas) and Lemon Drop (Devin Lemons, Pampa, Texas). Perhaps the most interesting given name is Zeno McCoy (Plainview, Texas). The most interesting unit nickname is the moniker for the Red Raider defense: "SWARM." ...
Stoney Garland (Plains, Texas) will serve as an honorary team captain this season. He suffered critical neck and back injuries last November in an automobile accident and is paralyzed from the chest down. Team captains for the 1998 season are Rob Peters (Katy, Texas) and Donnie Hart (Wollforth, Texas) from the offense and Montae Reagor (Waxahachie, Texas), Taurus Rucker (Denison, Texas) and Kyle Shipley (Arlington, Texas) from the defense.
Texas Tech's receiving corps have received a great deal of attention, despite a lack of experience with seven freshmen or sophomores among the top nine players. The Sporting News magazine named the unit as the best in the Big 12 Conference. Former Texas Tech and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Dick Winder returned to the Red Raider program last spring and is serving as the receivers coach.
Among the walk-ons on this year's squad are no less than 11 players that were listed on the preseason depth chart...A few names from the former walk-on listings: Reagan Bownds, Toby Cantu, Keith Cockrum, Will Culpepper, John DePasquale, Kenny Kacal, David Nichol, Justin Reed, King Scovell, Rudy Renda, Kyle Sanders, Reggie Savage, Oscar Solis and Tim Winn.
OFFENSE TE - 94 Kyle Allamon (6-3, 256, jr-1L, Lubbock, Texas) 84 Cole Roberts (6-6, 258, So-1L, Shallowater, Texas) 91 Tim Winn (6-4, 249, jr-2L, Longview, Texas) 95 J.P Jansen (6-3, 240, fr-Rs, Buda, Texas) LT - 79 Jonathan Gray (6-5, 357, so-1L, Lubbock, Texas) 57 Matt Heider (6-5, 306, fr-Rs, Roswell, N.M.) 72 Nick Lee (6-7, 309, sr-2L, DeSoto, Texas) LG - 61 Curtis Lowery (6-5, 327, jr-1L, Stephenville, Texas) 67 Lance Williams (6-2, 316, fr-Rs, Arlington, Texas) 73 John DePasquale (6-4, 299, so-Sq, Houston, Texas) 68 Shane Roberts (6-4, 302, jr-Sq, Scottsdale, Ariz.)