Gino Garcia solidified the Texas Tech kicking job
Special teams has once again been special for the Red Raiders in 2023. While Austin McNamara will go down as one of the best punters in program history following his departure, the team’s new starting kicker this season has made some headlines for himself. Gino Garcia arrived at Tech in 2022 with two full seasons of eligibility remaining. He appeared in only three games last year as Trey Wolf saw most of the field in conference play.
He was handed the reins this season to be the starting kicker and Garcia delivered with clutch kicks just like Wolf and Jonathan Garibay before him. He finished the regular season going 14-19 on field goal attempts with three from 50+ plus yards. His longest of the year was a 55-yarder he kicked in the first quarter against 16th-ranked Kansas.
The signature kick of his season came shortly after. Tied at 13, Tech marched into field goal range in less than 26 seconds to set up a 30-yard attempt for Garcia. He nailed it, giving the Red Raiders their biggest upset of the season.
When your offense struggles for the majority of the year, it helps to have a dependable kicker. Garcia also made every extra point, which mattered a lot in the game against UCF. In that game, he nailed a 51-yarder to extend the lead to 24-17. The Knights scored quickly, but the extra point was blocked. The block allowed Tech to maintain the lead, bleed the clock, and clinch bowl eligibility.
While the feeling at the beginning of the season was that Garcia would be capable of replacing Wolf, not many college kickers can make 50-yard field goals. If the upcoming bowl game is in fact Garcia’s last game as a Red Raider, he has served this program well in his final season.