In any case, Tyler Shough had intended to purchase a cowboy hat. Now that he went out and won one, he is free from having to.
At the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night, Texas Tech humiliated Mississippi, and the quarterback of the Red Raiders was in the driver’s seat. His 111 rushing yards were a career-high, and he scored twice on fourth-and-goal situations. A galaxy of Red Raiders stars shone in the 42-25 triumph, which saw him throw for 242 yards and another touchdown.
Shough was chosen as the game’s most valuable player by the press box audience. And it gets better because Shough just announced, while seated on the platform at one end of NRG Stadium, that he will remain for the 2023 season, one of at least 14 seniors who choose to use their Covid-bonus year this season.
A short while later, in an interview room with the game MVP award in front of him and his black cap in place of his black helmet, Shough gave the reason.
Given how much he loved the club and how many players were returning, including coaches McGuire and Kittley, he said, “based on where I feel like I can go in the draught next year and also because I love this team so much.” “I get along so well with them and the rest of the staff that I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave. We seem to be gaining momentum, and I really want to be a part of something special—especially with such a strong team and tight-knit group.”
The only Red Raiders football team since the 1995 Copper Bowl victors to finish 8-5 and on a four-game winning streak with a bowl victory is Tech. How recently was that? In that contest, Byron Hanspard, then a sophomore, carried for 260 yards; today, Hanspard Jr. is a senior for Baylor in his fifth season.
Before the Red Raiders even entered their locker room at NRG Stadium, victory cigars were being passed around.
Shough won the prize, but a long number of his teammates also made a significant contribution. Safety In the first half, which Tech won 26-7, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson intercepted a pass, stopped a fake punt, and recovered a fumble.
Jaxson Dart of the Rebels was intercepted three times by the Red Raiders. The other was caught by the safeties Tyler Owens and Marquis Waters, whose interception led up a touchdown. At the very end of the game, Owens made a pick in the end zone.
After a week of bitter cold and travel nightmares, it had been almost four hours of joy for the scarlet-and-black folks who had made it to Houston.
Running back SaRodorick Thompson scored his 40th career touchdown in his final college game, bringing the score to 32-13 midway through the fourth quarter. Kicker Trey Wolff finished the season 21 for 25 while playing in his final college game in his hometown.
The only kicker in Tech history with two seasons of at least 20 is Wolff, who has made 20 of 22 this year. Additionally, he would be a strong contender for any comeback player of the year award given that he only hit one field goal in 2020 before losing his position and not regaining it until this year.
Young wide receivers Loic Fouonji and Jerand Bradley plagued Ole Miss coverage, with Fouonji having seven receptions for 100 yards and Bradley eight for 88. With 3:10 remaining, Malik Heath made a remarkable one-handed touchdown catch to pull the Rebels to within 35-25, then Fouonji returned the onside kickoff for a score.
Quinshon Judkins, a star running back for Ole Miss, was stopped by defensive lineman Myles Cole and Jaylon Hutchings on fourth-and-1 plays from the Tech 29-yard line. The key Texas Bowl question in December concerned the Red Raiders’ ability to contain a powerful Rebels attack, and specifically Judkins. The SEC’s top rusher finished with 91 yards on 23 carries, which is deceptive considering that the majority of them came with the score already decided.
More indicative of the game: With 10 minutes to go, Tech was up 35-13, and Judkins had 40 yards on 17 carries.
Tech coach Joey McGuire praised his team’s defence for their performance in halting the run. They rank third in the country at running the football, so they’re on par with everybody we’ve faced. That child is quite exceptional, and we are fortunate that we can…
“We frequently discussed forcing the ball (carrier) to drive the field. We believed that we may profit from a slip-up or our own ball-out.
And they did some of it. The fumble that DTD and young defensive end Isaac Smith both recovered was caused by Hutchings. Ole Miss made five mistakes in total.
It’s difficult to see a talented SEC club acting as sluggish as Mississippi State did in the Liberty Bowl last year, a contest Tech won 34-7. Ole Miss, however, gave it a go and did so with less of an excuse. When the Bulldogs travelled to Memphis in December, they were down a dozen or more key players. The Rebels needed every member of the team to work.
A motivated group of Red Raiders aiming to finish strong were caught by both SEC clubs.
So what’s next for those Red Raiders? With McGuire winning eight games in his debut and making Lubbock a magnet for Texas high-school players, it certainly seems good.
Nearly all of the 14 seniors in 2022 who have expressed a desire to return for more are starters or excellent backups. This season, Marquis Waters, Kosi Eldridge, and Krishon Merriweather demonstrated how much “super seniors” can contribute to a team while also benefiting themselves.
Currently, Rayshad Williams, Malik Dunlap, Jaylon Hutchings, Tony Bradford, and others will attempt to duplicate this success. One Tyler Shough, whose tenacious work entailed more than most people initially understood, will be right there with them.
It turns out that Shough repeatedly vomited and retched the night before. According to Shough, the same stomach bug also affected receiver Trey Cleveland, cornerback Malik Dunlap, and strength coach Lance Barilow.
“Since I didn’t get much sleep last night due to my frequent vomiting, I snuggled up next to the toilet. My immediate thought was of the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. As Lance and I make our way to the team practise, he says, “Flu game,” which is exactly what I was thinking the entire time. I felt like total sh*t.”
McGuire said, “Thank goodness we didn’t play at 11 this morning; we played at 8 tonight. He wouldn’t have been capable of travelling.
Shough was successfully treated by Team Dr. Michael Phy, Athletic Trainer Drew Krueger, and a steady stream of IV-delivered fluids, or at least sufficiently near for the Rebels to not want to see him when he returned.
Shough’s night might not have been Tuesday. However, Wednesday did, and the Red Raiders now think that this is only the start of better days for everyone.