One of the things that make sports, and specifically college sports, so great is the pettiness of the fan bases. That only increases when players who have left your program show back up on the opposing sidelines as was the case with three former members of the Texas Tech football program who played for Houston on Saturday.
What’s great for Red Raider fans is that, in the 33-30 double-OT victory by the good guys, neither KeSean Carter, Ta’Zhawn Henry, nor Alex Hogan made any impact for the Cougars. That made the afternoon all the more enjoyable for Tech fans who didn’t want to see players that had recently jumped ship come back to haunt their former team.
The only player of that trio who was even noticeable on Saturday was Hogan. The 5-foot-11 junior was credited with four tackles and a pass breakup. But he was also part of a secondary that gave up 351 passing yards and a number of times, he failed to make plays in one-on-one situations.
Meanwhile, Carter, who also ran track for the Red Raiders, was a virtual ghost until late in the game. In fact, until he caught a pass late in the fourth quarter, it was easy to forget that he was even part of the Cougars’ roster. Ultimately, he would end up with just two receptions for 13 yards.
Then, there was the dormant afternoon of Ta’Zhawn Henry. Starting at running back, the Houston native was still obviously affected by the ankle injury that cost him most of the week one win over UTSA.
Carrying the ball only three times for two yards and catching just three passes for 32 yards, he was more noticeable by what he didn’t bring to the field than by what he did. In the end, it was satisfying to see these three former Red Raiders make no impact in their returns to Jones Stadium.
All three were key contributors for Tech when they were calling the South Plains home. But all three decided that returning to their homeland of the greater Houston area, was what was best for them and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially in the era of the transfer portal. Yet, that doesn’t mean Tech fans can’t revel in the fact that the Red Raiders kept them from helping pull off a win in what was a huge early-season game for both teams.
On the other hand, many Red Raider fans were happy to see the success of another former Red Raider on Saturday because it didn’t come at Tech’s expense. Last season, quarterback Hanry Colombi started a handful of games for Tech when Tyler Shough was lost with a broken collarbone against Texas.
But he would not be able to secure the job full-time as he would eventually give way to Donovan Smith for the final four games of the season. That led him to transfer to Marshall where he won the starting job this offseason.
On Saturday, Colombi and his teammates pulled off one of the most shocking wins of the week. Completing 16-21 passes for 145 yards and a TD, Colombi helped the Thundering Herd stun No. 8 Notre Dame 26-21 in South Bend, Indiana.
Colombi’s lone TD pass of the night came late in the fourth quarter after the Irish had clawed their way to a 15-12 lead. With 5:16 to play, the lefty hit Devin Miller from three yards out to cap an 11-play, 94-yard game-changing drive.
Colombi is easy for Texas Tech football fans to pull for, in part because he won’t show up on Tech’s schedule this year and also because he didn’t transfer to an in-state program that’s soon to be a Big 12 rival. However, it’s more than that. Colombi gave Tech all he had during his two years on campus and he helped lead the program to a pair of wins over West Virginia in the process. He was the embodiment of a program guy and though he lacked the talent of a starting Big 12 QB, he got the most out of his abilities and helped Tech through a couple of tough seasons at the QB spot.
Thus, here’s hoping that he continues to have success with Marshall. On the other hand, if the three Red Raiders who transferred to Houston continue to be nothing more than afterthoughts for their new school, that would be just fine as well.