Texas Tech football: The most painful plays in Red Raider history

24 Dec 1993: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport
24 Dec 1993: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport /
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SMU kickoff return TD 1982

As we’ve already discussed with the 2015 loss to TCU, missed opportunities to knock off highly-ranked rivals are especially painful.  That’s something fans in the early 80s learned when No. 2 SMU scored a last-minute win over the Red Raiders in Lubbock thanks to an improbable kickoff return TD.

In fairness, Tech wasn’t in line to win this game as the score was knotted at 27 with just 17 seconds to play.  Back then, there was no overtime in the college game but make no mistake, being tied by the 4-5 Red Raiders would have ruined SMU’s title hopes.  And that’s what should have happened.

But on the ensuing kickoff, the unthinkable transpired.  A squib kick caused two Mustangs to struggle to corral the bouncing ball, just as Tech had intended.

The problem was that the kickoff team did not maintain it’s proper coverage lanes and instead started to converge on the players struggling to gather the football.  When one of those Mustangs did pick up the ball, he lateraled it across the field to a teammate who took it to the house without having to avoid a single defender.  (Highlights of the game can be found at this link.)

SMU escaped 34-27 but would lose their championship dreams one week later thanks to a tie with No. 9 Arkansas 17-17.  But missing out on an opportunity to be the team that spoiled the Pony’s season was highly disappointing to Red Raider fans.