Texas Tech football: The defining victories of the 2010s

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 22: Texas Tech players celebrate after the game against the Oklahoma Sooners October 22, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Texas Tech upset Oklahoma 41-38. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 22: Texas Tech players celebrate after the game against the Oklahoma Sooners October 22, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Texas Tech upset Oklahoma 41-38. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /
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Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) /

2014: Texas Tech 37, Arizona State 23

It’s been quite a long time since this program scored a bowl win.  The last one came in 2013 when the Red Raiders upset No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

Coming off a regular season that ended with 5-straight losses after a 7-0 start, Tech had just declared Davis Webb the starting QB while seeing Baker Mayfield leave the program.  But the Sun Devils were disappointed to not be in the Rose Bowl after losing their conference title game and their lack of motivation showed.

Webb’s two first-quarter TDs put Tech up 13-0 before a pair of ASU field goals cut the lead to seven points.  In the second quarter, Webb had two more TD strikes and Tech led at the break 27-13.

The game’s defining play came in the third quarter.  After an ASU TD on the first drive of the half cut the Tech lead to seven points, Red Raider wide receiver Reginald Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to restore Tech’s 14-point lead.  The Sun Devils would never threaten again.

For the game, Webb was 28-41 for 403 yards and four touchdowns.  In his final game as a Red Raider, TE Jace Amaro led the team with 8 catches and 112 yards while inside receiver Jakeem Grant had two TD receptions.

After this game concluded the final year of the Kliff Kingsbury era, fan enthusiasm was as high as it would ever be in the last decade and at its most feverish since 2008.  In fact, we all believed that Kingsbury was set to become the next great college head coach after an 8-win debut.  That included Kirby Hocutt, who locked his head coach up with a six-year contract extension which proved to be problematic in upcoming seasons as Kingsbury struggled.

Perhaps it would have been better for Tech to lose this game.  Had that happened, Kingsbury would not have been the recipient of that lucrative extension and his tenure would have been shorter than it ultimately proved to be.  But for one offseason, Tech football was back to being the talk of the Big 12 as Tech looked like it was on the verge of another run like we saw in the 2000s.