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A Texas Tech Football Season In Review: 1955

1960 Texas Tech Football helmet, courtesy The Helmet Project

A Texas Tech Football Season In Review . . .

The Year: 1955

The Record: 7-3-1

The Bowl Game: Sun Bowl

  • September 17: @ Texas W, 20-14
  • September 24: TCU, L, 0-32
  • October 1: @ Oklahoma A&M, W, 24-6
  • October 8: @ Texas Western, T, 27-27
  • October 22: @ Houston, L, 0-7
  • October 29: West Texas State, W, 27-24
  • November 5: Arizona, W, 27-7
  • November 12: @ Tulsa, W, 34-7
  • November 19: College of Pacific, W, 13-7
  • November 26: Hardin-Simmons, W, 16-14
  • January 2: @ Wyoming, L, 14-21

In 1955 Texas Tech was still a part of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association (the conference disbanded in 1961) and was a mildly successful program in that conference. Coach DeWitt Weaver was the head coach from 1951 through 1960 and in 1953 he received the mother of all "kitchen passes" when he led the Red Raiders to an 11-1-0 mark and beat Auburn in the Gator Bowl. The only blemish that year was a loss in October to Texas A&M. Coach Weaver's overall record at Texas Tech, 49-51-5 in 10 years. Two years after the 1953 season Weaver went 14-5-2, including this 1955 season, but the program began to suffer a dramatic drop-off. Take a gander at the university's record beginning in 1956:

  • 1956: 2-7-1
  • 1957: 2-8-0
  • 1958: 3-7-0
  • 1959: 4-6-0
  • 1960: 3-6-1

An overall record of 14-34-2. The end of the 1955 season was the beginning of a downfall, but on some level, Weaver earned it. He is only 1 of 2 coaches who have led Texas Tech to 11 victories in a season (the other being Jim Carlen). Weaver had early success, but just couldn't make it stick and am a little surprised that Texas Tech stuck with a coach for 5 consecutive losing seasons. The reality is that universities probably gave their coaches much longer leashes during this time and Weaver himself had taken over a program that had been under the reins of longtime coach, Dell Morgan.

The 1955 season itself started out incredibly well, but then regressed as Tech was only able to muster 2 wins in it's first 5 games. The first victory was against Texas, in Austin, and Tech managed a 20-14 victory. A loss against TCU and a win against Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) then led to a tie against Texas Western and a loss to Houston. Tech then won their next 5 in a row beating West Texas State, Arizona, Tulsa, College of Pacific and Hardin-Simmons. Tech then lost the 1956 Sun Bowl game to Wyoming.

Here's a photo of the helmet used during this year.

Image from Southwest Conference Helmets

You'll notice the discrepancy between SWC Helmets and The Helmet Project on which helmet that Texas Tech actually wore that season. SWC Helmets believe that Tech wore the silver helmet with the red, single stripe in 1955, but The Helmet Project notes that Tech used this silver helmet in the 1960 season. SWC Helmets then details that Tech used a red helmet with white numbers and a single white stripe down the center, with a white face mask in 1959 through 1960. Go visit both websites for a better visual of the different helmets.

Random Notes from the Media Guide:

  • All Border Conference: tackle, Jerry Walker; fullback James Sides; guard Hal Broadfoot; tackle, Bill Herchmann; halfback Don Schmidt.
  • Don Schmidt led the team in rushing with 105 rushes for 508 yards and 7 touchdowns. schmidt also had 38 receiving yards and 137 kick return yards.
  • Buddy Hill was the quarterback for the team with 33 completions, 60 attempts for 481 yards.
  • Ken Vakey led the team in receptions with 13 receptions for 186 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Lonnie Graham has the 2nd longest touchdown run for 89 yards against West Texas State.
  • Jack Kirkpatrick had 7 punt returns for 84 yards.
  • The Texas Tech v. TCU game was the only televised game for the year on NBC.
  • Team Stats:
    • Scoring Offense: 188 points for 18.8 points per game.
    • Rush Offense: 2,195 yards for 219.5 yards per game.
    • Pass Offense: 762 yards for 76.2 yards per game.
    • Total Offense: 2,957 yards for 295.7 yards per game.
    • Scoring Defense: 145 points for 14.5 points allowed per game.
    • Rushing Defense: 1,970 yards for 197.0 yards allowed per game.
    • Passing Defense: 929 yards for 92.9 yards allowed per game.
    • Total Defense: 2,889 yards for 288.9 yards allowed per game.