Texas Tech football: Handing out game balls after dramatic win over ISU

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Nov 13, 2021; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders running back SaRodorick Thompson (4) scores a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t about Iowa State.  Beating the Cyclones to end a 5-game losing streak in the series was nice, but the size of the celebration (which included a field storming) after Jonathan Garibay’s 62-yard game-winning field goal as time expired was about more than just one game.  Rather, it was a cathartic moment for the Texas Tech football program as a whole.  This was about the last decade.

For the first time since at least the start of the 2014 season, there’s legitimate optimism surrounding what’s going on at the corner of Marsha Sharp and University.  And Saturday night was the exclamation point on that sentiment.

It’s been at least seven years (the start of year two of the Kliff Kingsbury era) since there was this much excitement about the man in charge of the Red Raiders as new head coach Joey McGuire has brought renewed hope and enthusiasm to a program that had lost much of its fan base after years of futility.  But it wasn’t just about the first game with McGuire in place.

For the first time since 2016, there’s now a reason to think that Texas Tech has an answer at the quarterback position.  Playing in his first start as a collegiate, redshirt freshman Donovan Smith was an absolute revelation as he picked apart Iowa State in a way that no opposing QB has in the Matt Campbell era in Ames.  But it wasn’t just about Donovan Smith.

When was the last time that Texas Tech actually won a game in which every controversial call and every 50/50 officiating decision went against the Red Raiders?  Usually, Tech has such a small margin for error (especially in Big 12 games), that blown calls prove to be its undoing, especially mentally and emotionally.

But on Saturday night, even as the officials took the unprecedented step of learning out two sections of the student seating area behind the Iowa State bench, and even as two would-be Texas Tech interceptions were overturned, and even as the officials refused to review a phantom INT that went against the Red Raiders, this team found a way to fight through all of that adversity and beat a quality opponent.  But it wasn’t just about the refs.

Saturday night was the first time in years that Jones Stadium felt like itself again.  Sure, the crowd was nowhere near capacity and that’s a shame given what transpired.  But those who were there were passionate and involved from the get-go and they gave the Red Raiders the type of home-field advantage that we used to see on a weekly basis from the scarlet and black faithful.  And when Garibay’s kick cleared the crossbar of the goalpost, for a moment, that old Jones Stadium magic had returned after over a decade away.

It was about all of that and more.  The celebration and the ensuing positive vibes have been born from an amalgamation of the above factors and that’s why this win carries so much pride with it around Raiderland.  It felt like a turning point in the program’s trajectory, that moment when the pitiful fortunes of Texas Tech football started to turn towards the positive.  In essence, it was the first time in a long time that it felt great to be a Red Raider football fan again.

So let’s continue to bask in the glory of what we witnessed on Saturday by handing out some fake game balls to those that led the way to this unforgettable win.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse