Texas Tech football: Top 5 individual performances of 2023

Texas Tech v Baylor
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No. 5: Loic Fouonji's two-touchdown game against Houston propels Texas Tech to important win

When Houston came to Jones Stadium in late September, Texas Tech was reeling. A 1-3 start to the year had dashed any hopes of being a legitimate national or Big 12 factor and the focus in Lubbock had turned to simply finding a way to get to a bowl game.

To do that, Tech had to take care of business against a bad Houston team. However, the Cougars were motivated and confident when they showed up on the South Plains thanks to the moxie of their QB, Donovan Smith, a former Red Raider.

In fact, the Cougars would play an excellent first half and would lead for much of the first two quarters thanks to Smith's hot hand. Fortunately, though, an unlikely Red Raider hero, Loic Fouonji, would keep Tech in the game.

In the second quarter, the wide receiver from Midland would haul in a 25-yard TD grab from Morton to draw Tech even at 21. It was a nice play that saw Fouonji adjust his route on a back-shoulder throw that was either a genius decision by his QB or a happy accident that occurred because of Morton's diminished arm strength due to his sprained shoulder. Either way, it was one of just two TDs Fouonji would collect on the season and the only time in the regular season he'd find the endzone...a least as a receiver.

That's because, on the ensuing Houston possession, Fouonji would make his presence known in the kicking game. Blocking a punt and then returning it seven yards for a TD, he put his team ahead for the first time and completely flipped the game's vibe in the process. After that play, Tech would not trail again on the way to a 49-28 win.

Overall, Fouonji didn't live up to expectations this year. He grabbed only six passes for 85 yards and two scores and recently, he verbally committed to play for Vanderbilt after entering the transfer portal.

Fouonji's other season highlight was his TD catch against Cal in the Indepenced Bowl, a play that also gave Tech the lead for good in that game. (If you aren't going to make a ton of plays in a season, at least make the few you do make count.)

However, his brightest moment came on back-to-back possessions against Houston in a game Tech couldn't afford to lose. Scoring a TD as a receiver and blocking a punt, he swung the tide of a game that looked like it might go Houston's way in the first half in what would be his greatest showing as a Red Raider in 2023.