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A Season In Review: 1974

1974 Texas Tech Football helmet, courtesy Helmet Project

A Texas Tech Football Season in Review . . .

The Year: 1974

The Record: 6-4-2

The Bowl Game: Peach Bowl

  • September 14: Iowa State, W, 24-3
  • September 21: @ New Mexico, T, 21-21
  • September 28: Texas (6), W, 26-3
  • October 5: Oklahoma State, W, 14-13
  • October 12: @ Texas A&M (16), L, 7-28
  • October 19: Arizona (9), W, 17-8
  • October 26: @ SMU, W, 20-17
  • November 2: @ Rice, L, 7-21
  • November 9: TCU, W, 28-0
  • November 16: @ Baylor, L, 10-17
  • November 23: Arkansas, L, 13-21
  • December 28: Vanderbilt, T, 6-6

Jim Carlen was the head coach, and this was his last year as head coach (1970-1974) of the Red Raiders. The previous year, 1973, Carlen had led Texas Tech to an 11-1 record (one of only 2 Texas Tech coaches to lead their team to an 11 win season), complete with a Gator Bowl victory. In 1969, the year before Carlen arrived in Lubbock, Carlen took a mediocre team (5-5) and improved the 1970 team in his first year where he led Tech to an 8-4 record and a Sun Bowl appearance. 1971 was a down year as he only managed a 4-7 record (at least he beat the Aggies that year), but turned the team around in 1972 with another 8-4 record and another Sun Bowl appearance.

Carlen only lasted for 5 years, but in those years he was fairly productive and put together a great Texas Tech team (1973). Carlen's replacement, Steve Sloan, was also equally impressive in his 3 seasons as a Texas Tech coach and we'll be getting to his Sloan's tenure later in a couple of weeks.

Carlen followed two coaches who had been in Lubbock for 9 years (King) and 10 years (Weaver) so he was walking in the footsteps of legends. The interesting thing here is that Carlen won, he won 64.4% of his games which was much better than his predecessors.

And make no mistake about the status of the program at this point, the seventies were the high-point of the program especially if you take into consideration the years after Sloan. The Texas Tech program was almost at it's apex, 1976.

The 1974 season itself started off with a bang. A win against Iowa State, then a tie against New Mexico meant that Tech would be playing Texas without a loss. The Red Raiders stuck it to the Longhorns here as they won 26-3. A tough win the next week against Oklahoma State meant that Tech would be going into College Station with a 3-0-1 record. The No. 16 Aggies handed Tech their first loss of the season. Tech would get back on their feet for another victory over another ranked opponent, beating No. 9 Arizona. This is where the season seems to fall apart. A bad loss to Rice in turn led Tech to shutout TCU and the season ended with two more losses, at Baylor and against Arkansas. The Peach Bowl was quite an accomplishment for this team. In fact, Tech rushed for 306 yards in that game. Here's a summary from that year's bowl game, the Peach Bowl:


Vanderbilt 6, Texas Tech 6 Vanderbilt, making its first bowl appearance in 19 years, locked horns with Texas Tech in a defensive struggle that ended in a tie. Vanderbilt's Mark Adams and Tech's Brian Hall each booted two field goals to account for all the scoring. The Red Raiders failed on a first and goal from the one-yard line just before halftime and missed another chance when Dennis Harrison blocked a 33-yard 4th Quarter field goal attempt.

Just seems like to me a very uneven season, could have been a great season had Tech won some games they traditionally did win (New Mexico, Rice and Baylor).

Also in 1974, the Masked Rider was a female for the 1st time in school history, and as you can probably guess, this didn't go over too well for some:

It was in 1974 when the system changed, some said the system went haywire. That was the first year a woman was chosen as the Masked Rider. There was an uproar on campus and the selection of a female mascot made news across the country. Oddly enough, all detractors and supporters of the female Masked Rider identified in Texas Tech's historical documents were men, and there were numerous letters to the editor in The University Daily, and no doubt countless hours of radio and television discussions. Writers to The U.D. were rankled and quite ruthless in their postulations. One writer even went so far as to ask the new Masked Rider, Anne Lynch, to step down. The writer cited that the position had always been held by a man and should continue to be. He felt only a male should hold the position because it was "simply the tradition of the West and of this school...that cowboys or vaqueros were men." He went on to compare the selection of Lynch to TCU's selection of a male homecoming queen, querying, "Did that make man and woman equal? Of course not, it merely made TCU look STUPID."

No YouTube clips, but considering the record, the season may not have been very noteworthy for considerable replay. Here's a photograph of the 1974 helmets:

Image from Southwest Conference Helmets

What a freaking awesome look. I love the red face mask, the white helmet with the red double "T" and red middle stripe with two black stripes on either side down the middle looks great. Stripes make almost everything look better. It also looks like at one time Tech gave out stickers for performance, which is an interesting detail (I'm beginning to think that this may have just been a Jim Carlen detail than a Tech detail).

Random Notes from the Media Guide:

  • Larry Isaac was the Outstanding Offensive Player in the Peach Bowl.
  • Offensive tackle Ecomet Burley was a 2nd team All-American.
  • End Lawrence Williams, defensive end Tommy Cones, nose tackle Ecomet Burley and defensive back Curtis Jordan were all conference players.
  • Pete Cawthon Memorial Team Most Valuable Player Award: Lawrence Williams, halfback.
  • Dell Morgan Memorial Courage Award: David Knaus, defensive lineman.
  • Donny Anderson Sportsmanship Award: Tommy Comes, defensive end.
  • Running back Billy Taylor, who is 7th all-time in career touchdowns at Tech with 29 began his career in 1974.
  • The leading rusher in 1974 was Larry Isaac with 155 rushes for 671 yards.
  • Is this right? Tommy Duniven led the team in passing with 43 completions, 82 attempts and 552 yards. This must have been a situation where Duniven was a part time starter.
  • End/wide receiver Lawrence Williams led the team in receiving with 27 catches, 477 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns.
  • Brian Hall began his kicking career in 1974 and is 8th all time at Tech with 28 field goals and is 7th all time in PAT's with 79.
  • Selsso Ramirez led the team with 18 punt returns for 128 yards and Lawrence Williams had 12 kickoff returns for 284 yards.
  • Freaking amazing stat: In the year of my birth, this Texas Tech team allowed 0 yards passing against Oklahoma State. That's right, 0 yards passing. This happened 2 other times: 1939 against Centenary and 1954 against Texas A&M.
  • Team Stats:
    • Scoring Offense: 187 points for 17.0 points per game.
    • Rush Offense: 2,432 yards for 221.1 yards per game.
    • Pass Offense: 800 yards for 72.7 yards per game (this was a single season low - so sad).
    • Total Offense: 3,232 yards for 293.8 yards per game.
    • Scoring Defense: 152 points for 13.8 points allowed per game.
    • Rushing Defense: 2,275 yards for 206.8 yards allowed per game.
    • Passing Defense: 796 yards for 72.4 yards allowed per game.
    • Total Defense: 3,071 yards for 279.2 yards allowed per game.