Texas Tech football: Top 5 individual performances of 2023

Texas Tech v Baylor
Texas Tech v Baylor / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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Tahj Brooks carries Texas Tech to bowl eligibility

Honestly, we could have filled this list out with five Tahj Brooks performances and no one would have complained. He was simply brilliant all season (especially after Tech started to feature him in the offense).

His best showing though was the night he put up a career-high 182 yards and a TD in Tech's 24-23 win over UCF in Florida. That win pushed Tech to six on the season to get to bowl eligibility.

Facing an awful UCF run defense and having to operate the offense with an injured Morton at QB, everyone in the stadium knew that Brooks was going to get the ball early and often. Still, the Knights could do little to stop him as he averaged 7.6 yards per rush.

Most are going to remember that game for the blocked UCF extra point that E'Maurion "Dooda" Banks came up with late in the 4th quarter to preserve Tech's one-point lead. However, it was Brooks who sealed the game.

With Tech needing to kill 5:30 off the clock and leading by just a point, the Red Raiders ran 11 plays on the final drive. Eight of those went to Brooks. On the drive, he racked up 34 yards against a defense that was packing eight and nine men in the box.

That was common on most Saturdays this year for the Big 12's second-leading rusher. Playing for a team with little else in the way of offensive firepower, he was a battering ram who could not be stopped, even by some of the better defenses in the conference.

Three times this year, Brooks set a new career high in a game. His 158 yards against Tarleton was the first instance. Then, against Baylor, he set the mark at 170 yards. However, those wins, while important, were not as crucial as the win over UCF was nor did they come in one-point games, contests that came down to Brooks' ability to grind over five minutes off the clock to preserve a one-point edge.

Next season, Brooks may set a new career-high in a game. Here's hoping he does. But it will be hard for him to come up any bigger than he did against UCF this fall when he willed the Red Raiders to the postseason.