The Top 50 Red Raiders of All-Time: No. 39 – 35

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No. 35 — B.J. Symons (QB 1999 – 2003):

Nov 17, 2012; Stillwater OK, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders helmet before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no player has ever stepped onto the Jones Stadium turf with more confidence and brash cockiness as B.J. Symons. His senior season — his only as a starter — remains one of the most remarkable seasons in not only Tech history but also college football history in general.

The product of Cyprus Creek H.S. in Houston, Symons was the backup to Kliff Kingsbury from 2000 – 2002. So when his moment in the spotlight came around, Symons made the most of it.

The emotional leader with the spiky bleached hair set eleven NCAA records in 2003 including most passing yards in a season  (5,883), most total yards in a season (5,976) most 400-yard games in a season (11) and most consecutive games with 400-yards of total offense (9) among others.

Adding to the lore of Symon’s 2003 season is the fact that he played half of the season with a torn knee ligament. On October 11, 2003, Symons tore his left ACL while celebrating a touchdown with his team in the end zone. Refusing to miss the remainder of his final season, Symons finished the year playing on one good leg.  His 57 touchdowns are a Red Raider single-season record as are his eight touchdown passes against Texas A&M.

On September 27, 2003, Symons turned in maybe the greatest single-game quarterback performance in school history. Facing off against the Ole Miss Rebels and their star quarterback, Eli Manning, the Tech signal-caller rallied his team from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game.

When the dust settled in Oxford, MS, Tech had a 49 – 45 win, in which B.J. Symons passed for 661-yards (only 55-yards shy of the single-game NCAA record held by Houston’s David Klingler) and six touchdowns on 44 – 64 passing.

With “Bombs-Away” B.J. (an unofficial nickname my roommates and I bestowed upon him) in the shotgun, no game was ever out of reach. Tech finished the year with a victory over Navy in the Houston Bowl and Symons finished his career as one of the most exciting players in school history.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the “50 Greatest Red Raiders: 34-30” coming soon.