Saddle up for a Wild Ride in Lubbock

November 17, 2017

Game 11 takes the Frogs to Lubbock, Texas, and Jones AT&T Stadium, a place that has seen its share of wild games in this series.

And tomorrow should be no different.

There’s plenty of storylines to go around after it was announced that quarterback Kenny Hill and safety Niko Small won’t make the trip to the Hub City. Several other players are still on the mend after last week’s trip to Norman, Oklahoma. It’s that time of year. As head coach Gary Patterson says, “Dead men have to walk.” The college football season is a grind and this time of year seven days seems like seven hours, especially when you’re trying to get players healthy.

The alarm sounds again at 11 a.m. Saturday and the Frogs will answer it with true freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson at the controls. You’ve heard all about his arm and his running ability and his state championship at DeSoto last year. Now we’ll get to see how he handles the environment at Jones AT&T Stadium and an improved Texas Tech defense that has probably added a blitz package or two to their call sheet for this week. I’m looking for great things out of Robinson. He has that look about him and certainly knows the offense. The key will be to get him off to a good start by putting him in position to succeed early on what looks to be a very blustery day on the South Plains.

Tech’s defense is much improved. The squad is an older bunch that’s created 22 take-aways already this year. The Red Raiders’ +10 turnover margin is good enough for No. 10 in the nation in that category. Shawn Robinson’s first job is not to add to that total. Tech shows lots of different looks, even putting just one defensive lineman in a stance at times to make it hard to tell who’s rushing and who’s dropping into coverage. The linebackers are good. Look out for #1 Jordyn Brooks and #40 Dakota Allen. Allen had nine tackles last week in the win over Baylor. The secondary is vastly improved and fly around and sweep around the field like tumbleweeds, delivering big hits in the process. Watch for #15 safety Vaughnte Dorsey.

Offensively, you know what’s coming: the air raid and deep balls aplenty. Texas Tech’s quarterback Nic Shimonek is a transfer from Iowa who’s waited his turn and he’s made the most of it. He has 28 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions through 10 games (tying former Tech-great Graham Harrell). Wide receivers are almost too many to mention, but #2 Keke Coutee is a speedster and #14 Dylan Cantrell is a tough, physical receiver at 220 pounds who caught 11 passes last week against Baylor. Tech keeps defenses honest with a run game led by #4 Justin Stockton and #24 Tre King.

The Frogs will try to get back on track and prove that last week’s episode at OU was an anomaly. Tech is fighting for bowl eligibility – they have two shots to get to six wins as they finish at Texas next week.

It would be great to ride out of Lubbock on a new saddle. Have you seen the West Texas Championship trophy??


Thanks to M.L. Leddy’s Boots & Saddlery of Fort Worth, the Saddle Trophy returns Saturday. The Saddle Trophy sits on a stand and includes the logos for TCU and Texas Tech. Currently, scores for 59 years of the rivalry are represented on the Saddle Trophy Stand with adornment of the trophy plates to equal 100 years. It will travel in a case to Lubbock and be presented to the winning team after the game. Photos courtesy of Mark Cohen, TCU Athletics

I mentioned that Jones AT&T Stadium has been host to some wild games in this series, which will see its 60th game tomorrow. Submitted for your approval are these items:

  • TCU and Tech played to three straight ties in Lubbock: a 3-3 tie in a snow storm in 1979; a 39-39 tie in 1981, which saw the Frogs down 24-7 at the half; a 10-10 tie in 1983 played in the rain on muddy artificial turf (a dust storm blew in the day before the game) in Jim Wacker’s first trip to Lubbock at TCU’s head coach.
  • A crazy 36-35 Tech win in 1987 over then-1st place (Southwest Conference) Frogs.
  • And maybe the wildest win for TCU in Lubbock – the “devine deflection” game two years ago. The Frogs won 55-52 on that magical Boykin-to-Doctson-to-Green pass play in the north end zone. Maybe the most amazing play in TCU history.

We’ll be there on the air at 10 a.m. for breakfast at the stadium. Join us on the TCU Sports Network on WBAP 820 AM, KTCU-FM 88.7 and on the TuneIn app.

Oh, and happy birthday to my little brother Don. Today is his……..ah, I let him tell you how many. Have a great day, Double D!!

Off to Lubbock,

Kick ‘Em High!