30 Greatest Games in Texas Tech History

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No. 22 – 2004 Holiday Bowl upset of No. 4 California

The 2004 season started with one of the most humbling losses in school history when Texas Tech lost to New Mexico in the season’s second game but it ended on a high note as the Red Raiders upset the No. 4 team in America in what is ranked as the 22nd greatest game in Texas Tech history.

After the loss at New Mexico, Texas Tech would lose only three more games in 2004 (Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M). Following an 8-4 campaign in the fifth year of the Mike Leach era, Texas Tech was invited to the Holiday Bowl where the No. 4 California Golden Bears awaited.

The 2004 Cal team was chocked full of future NFL stars like quarterback Aaron Rogers, and running backs Marshawn Lynch and J.J. Arrington. But unlike Texas Tech, the Golden Bears were disappointed with a Holiday Bowl bid after losing out on a chance to play in a BCS game by losing the Pac 10 title game.

Cal ran out to a 14-7 lead after one quarter but Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie went nuts after that putting on the defining performance of his career. Going 40-60, Cumbie passed for 520 yards and three touchdowns on his way to earning game MVP honors.

In the middle two quarters of the game, Texas Tech outscored Cal 31-3 to complete the 45-31 victory. On that night in San Diego, California Texas Tech pulled off the biggest upset in the 2004 bowl season as a former walk-on quarterback from Snyder, Texas outplayed a future two-time NFL MVP.

Next: 2008 Gator Bowl