Red Raider Gridiron | Texas Tech Trounces Arizona St. in Holiday Bowl

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Tech Red Raiders came in as double-digit underdogs against the Arizona St. Sun Devils, but ended up leaving San Diego as winners of the Holiday Bowl.

I don't have time this morning for what you might expect here, which is Post Game Thoughts. I'm too tired and I have to go to work too soon for that.  But I'll do and discuss what I can.

Editorial:

Webb & Brewer: If you think this story is even close to being done, you're crazy.  I don't know if this makes me a bad blogger, but I find myself unsure about a lot of things a lot of the time.  I'm not really all that opinionated, at least not until I think I have a sufficient number of facts and/or data to let me know if I'm accurate.  So even though QB Davis Webb, had a terrific night and continually found completions on critical third downs, I'm still not sure.  Here is one thing that I'm pretty certain about, which is that Kingsbury knows quarterbacks. I feel like I can sometimes play arm-chair quarterback when it comes to a lot of things. Like being unsure if Kingsbury hired the correct defensive coordinator or the right offensive line coach or recruiting the right player.  But I do trust Kingsbury's instincts in terms of a quarterback because that's what he does.  Personally, I'm not ready to declare anyone a winner.  I really do believe that QB Michael Brewer was pretty banged up for a big part of the year and that Kingsbury wants to give everyone, Webb, Brewer and Patrick Mahomes, a shot at the starting quarterback spot next year.  It should be a fun spring.

A Possessed Defensive Line: It's amazing how a completely healthy Dartwan Bush and Dennell Wesley helps this line.  I think that one of those truths about defense: A consistent and effective pass rush will hide a lot of problems with a defense.  For the five games prior to this game, I think the defense struggled to do much of anything in terms of a pass rush.  Over the past five games the defense produced just 4.0 sacks.  That's not enough consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback.  Against an incredibly mobile quarterback in QB Taylor Kelly, Texas Tech had 3 sacks and consistent pressure.  A consistent and effective pass rush can hide a lot of warts with a team and it was the entire group, Bush, Wesley, Kerry Hyder, Branden Jackson and Pete Robertson all getting pressure on the quarterback. The big concern going into next year for me is that pass rush.  Without Hyder, Bush and Wesley, someone else is going to have to step-up big time.

Thank You Jace: During the game, ESPN's Joe Schad tweeted that TE Jace Amaro would declare for the NFL draft.  Amaro is/was one of the more special players that I've ever seen.  Just a joy to watch and an unstoppable force. Thank you for your time here at Texas Tech. I think you grew up a lot while you were here.  I would guess that Kingsbury told him he had to go because he's pretty much projected as a first round pick.  Thank you.

This Team Needs Jakeem: This team needs Jakeem, but Jakeem also needs to do what he's supposed to do on his end. There's no doubt that this offense missed the speed element that Jakeem Grant brought to the team.  His speed to the outside seemed like it was something that Arizona St. just wasn't ready for.  Being able to get to the corner is a talent and it is a rare talent and Jakeem has it.  Those sweeps and crossing patterns (the scrape off of Amaro for one of those touchdowns was beautiful).

The Reginald Davis Story: Sometimes I have to remind myself that we get new readers all of the time and you all might not know just how special of a story that Reginald Davis actually is.  The short story is that Davis' mom died when he was two years old and his father died when he was six.  Davis essentially lived by himself and raised himself and became the person that you see, pretty much on his own.  I get emotional writing about this because I just cannot imagine having that type of fortitude for what is supposed to be a childhood.  I go back to this Recruitocosm story where I first heard about it and then, last night, I stumbled across a first person account from Davis' principal from Tenaha (via Project Shanks):

Reginald lost his mother and father before he was old enough to know better. His grandmother took him in and raised him until her passing when he was in the sixth grade. When that happened, he only had an aunt (who was raising her own children) and a half-brother that was much older living in a trailer not far from school. For the next few years, it became readily apparent that Reginald was a special talent. In the eighth grade, he led his teams to undefeated seasons in football and basketball and finished the eighth grade with the second highest GPA in his class. As a freshman in high school, he shined as a safety against one of the state’s highest touted recruits in Cayuga’s Traylon Shead, then was integral in Tenaha’s amazing run to the state basketball tournament in Austin. In his junior year, he helped lead his team back from 26 points down on one day and then from 19 points down the next to pull off two miraculous upsets to again advance to the state basketball tournament. And in 2011, his senior year of high school, he made me one of the smartest offensive coordinators in the history of Texas high school football as he quarterbacked an offense that averaged 53 points per game on our way to Texas’ Class A State Football Championship. In the championship game, Reginald amassed 548 total yards and two touchdowns on ground while throwing for two more. Simply put it was a performance for the ages in Texas high school lore.

I like cheering for all of these kids, but I've got a special place in my heart for orphans.

Special Teams and Hiring that Coach: That Davis punt return showed us that the special teams can be great, but had it not been for a couple of special team mistakes, Texas Tech would have put that game away sooner.  It is a glaring need. I think we can see that and there was a moment where Kingsbury put his head in his hands after a special teams gaffe. Let's fix this.

Thank You Seniors: Thank you to all of the seniors. I don't want to miss anyone, so I won't list all of you, but I really appreciate you and what you've done for Texas Tech.

Links:

Here are some official site things, including quotes (PDF) and the box score.

The LAJ has a general recap of the game, a story on Amaro declaring for the NFL and key plays.

Action:

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