Nov 28, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders punter Ryan Erxleben (26), long snapper David Brenner (57), and defensive back Keenon Ward (15) celebrate after scoring a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in the first quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech vs. Texas: Players of the Game

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The season is finished (with the exception of the bowl game), and Texas Tech finished their season pretty much the same as they finished last season. There was so much hope to finish out the last game with a win, but the Thanksgiving Day loss to Texas was not something to be thankful for. Let’s take a look at a few guys who I’m thankful played yesterday, because if they didn’t, it might have been uglier.

Offensive player of the game: Ryan Erxleben. That’s right, the punter. I guess the senior wanted to show off in front of his hometown, or maybe he just saw something no one else did, because Erxleben perfectly executed a play that Kingsbury did not call. And when I say perfectly, I mean Texas Tech’s punter now has the longest run (51 yards) of the season and a touchdown to add to his stats.

Defensive player of the game: Will Smith. It’s hard not to pick Smith for this award each game. Thursday night’s game against Texas was his second game in a row to set a record for career high tackles. Smith recorded 18 total tackles – 13 solo, assisted with five more – four tackles for a loss, a sack, and a QB hurry. He was undoubtedly the most productive player on defense.

Freshman of the game: I’m going with Tanner Jacobson for this one, although Reginald Davis is a close runner-up. Jacobson recorded 10 total tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. That’s not bad for a true freshman, much less a walk-on.

I know Thursday’s loss was a tough one to swallow for the fans and players alike. Even though Thursday’s game was far from most of the players’ best (Will Smith and Erxleben being the exception) the young team is still bowl eligible, and has tons of room to grow. I personally look forward to seeing the improvements by the time the bowl game comes around.

Tags: Texas Tech Football Texas Tech Red Raiders

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