Saturday in Lubbock, kicker Jonathan Garibay played the role of hero as he booted the Texas Tech football team to a 24-23 victory over Baylor.
Heading into Saturday’s game with Baylor, most of the talk on the Red Raider side of the equation centered around the QB position. Instead, we should have been talking about the change at kicker.
Certainly, the fact that both Henry Colombi and Alan Bowman split time at QB against the Bears (as planned) was a huge part of Saturday’s story but the game was won on the right foot of kicker Jonathan Garribay. Getting his first opportunity to be his team’s placekicker after joining the program prior to last season as a JUCO transfer, the California native booted four field goals, including the game winniner as time expired, to lift his team to a 24-23 win at Jones Stadium.
The change at placekicker came a week after normal starter Trey Wolff sustained an injury against TCU thus forcing Garibay into action. What’s more, the unavailability of punter Austin McNamara meant that Garribay also had to handle the punting chores, a job he performed admirably as he averaged 49.4 yards on five punts including one that was downed inside the 20.
But for most of the game, it appeared as if the story was going to be the back-and-forth at the QB position. And for quite a while, it felt like the play at the QB spot was going to be what cost the Red Raiders a much-needed win.
Netiher Colombi nor Bowman was outstanding. In fact, both had their awful moments.
Bowman finished the game by leading the offense for the final five drives. He ended the game 14/23 for 181 yards and a TD.
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His best work came in the fourth quarter when he and the offense finally got into a rhythm as Tech scored on each of its final three possessions. And on the game-winning drive, Bowman completed five of seven passes for 48 yards including a key swing pass that went for 30 yards to SaRodorick Thompson when Tech was facing a 2nd-and-25.
However, he wasn’t without his flaws. In fact, on his third play of the game, which was his first pass attempt, he threw a pick-six that put Baylor ahead 7-3 after the extra point. At that point, it looked as if his game might be over as Tech went back to Colombi for the rest of the first half.
But leading Tech to only six points in the first two quarters, Colombi wasn’t good enough to keep his grip on his job. He ended the game just 9/17 for 76 yards and a QB rating of only 22.8.
He also struggled with holding onto the ball too long as the Baylor pass rush was far more impactful when Colombi was at the helm of the Red Raider offense given his lack of feel for when pressure was closing in. In fact, his final play of the game was a third-down sack in the third quarter on which he should have gotten rid of the football. It was one of two sacks on the night for the Bears.
Interestingly, Tech made the switch from Bowman to Colombi just over five weeks ago as the team had a bye week between the Iowa State and West Virginia games. Now, headed into the season’s third and final bye week, Tech has to once again sort out its QB situation, this time before heading to Oklahoma State on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
But it is nice for this program to head into that situation coming off of a win, even it it is a one-point win over a 1-5 team. And while we will have to wait to find out what Wells and Co. will do at the game’s most important position, at least there’s no question who the kicker will be in Stillwater.