With Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ announcement that he is forgoing his senior year to enter the NFL draft, I couldn’t help but reflect on his legacy as a Red Raider. Mahomes is just the latest in a long line of air raid quarterbacks from Lubbock to put up huge numbers in college.
One of the biggest criticisms of Mahomes is the lack of victories on the field. It’s true, Mahomes is not leaving Texas Tech with a Big 12 title, a 10-win season, or a signature win like the 2008 victory over the top ranked Texas Longhorns.
Obviously this doesn’t fall solely on one player, especially not one as talented as Pat. But there were indeed a handful of memorable games during his tenure. Here are the top five games of the Patrick Mahomes era…
5. Texas Tech vs. Baylor, 2014 (Arlington, TX)
Mahomes was thrust into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2014. Heading into the final game of the season at a disappointing 4-7, Tech fans were just waiting for then commit Jarret Stidham to step on campus and begin a new era in Lubbock. Pat said “not so fast,” and led a valiant effort against a Baylor squad that was fighting for a College Football Playoff berth.
While Mahomes had already played in a few games throughout the season, and even though the game ended in a close loss, it served as his coming out party which led to a lot of excitement for 2015. Texas Tech lost 48-46 to the Bears, but Mahomes threw for nearly 600 yards and 6 TD’s. A couple weeks later, the aforementioned five star Jarret Stidham decommitted from Texas Tech.
4. Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma, 2016
This one also resulted in a loss, but Mahomes put up the best numbers of his career. Actually, he put up the best numbers of anyone’s career in the entire history of college football. In the 59-66 loss to the Sooners, Mahomes broke the NCAA record for total yards in a game (819) and tied the record for most passing yards in a game (734). He threw a whopping 88 passes in the contest while still battling a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder.
3. Texas Tech @ Arkansas, 2015
One season after being embarrassed by the Razorbacks 49-21 in Lubbock, Mahomes led Texas Tech into SEC country and played a nearly flawless game to earn the victory. He completed 26 of 30 pass attempts and led the Red Raiders to at least one touchdown in each quarter of a close 35-24 win. It was a huge boost for a program coming off a 4-8 2014 campaign, especially considering it was a road win against a former Southwest Conference foe. Also, it allowed our head coach to talk a little crap to Bret Bielema, the unanimously hated head coach of the Hogs.
2. Texas Tech vs. Baylor, 2016 (Arlington, TX)
Pat ended his career as a Red Raider on a high note, defeating Baylor for the first time since 2010 by a score of 54-35. Mahomes threw for 586 yards and 6 TD’s with a 94.4 QBR in Texas Tech’s most-played historical rivalry game.
1. Texas Tech @ Texas, 2015
It may not have been Mahomes’ greatest statistical performance, nor was it the best team the Longhorns have ever fielded. Nonetheless, it was a win in Austin – something that hadn’t been done by the Red Raiders since 1998 – on Thanksgiving and it was done in exhilarating fashion. Filled with amazing plays, Texas Tech scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to keep pace and ultimately top Texas for the first time since 2008. Had Texas A&M not dodged Tech in the Texas Bowl that season, Mahomes would have had the chance to complete a trifecta of victories over Arkansas, Texas, and Texas A&M all in one season that hadn’t been done by Texas Tech since 1976 (the only time in school history).
Texas Tech vs. TCU, 2015
Mahomes dueled back and forth with the third ranked Horned Frogs, playing on a bad knee in the second half on his way to 392 yards and three total TD’s. TCU ultimately won on a miraculous last second play as the Red Raiders fell 55-52. Had Trevone Boykin’s last pass been tipped in a different direction, this game would have probably been number one on the list.
Texas Tech @ TCU, 2016
This game is almost a polar opposite than the matchup with TCU a year prior. Mahomes had one of his worst statistical days at Texas Tech, but led the offense on a last minute drive in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Tech won in overtime 27-24, notching a much needed win against an in-state rival.
Texas Tech vs. LSU, 2015 (Houston, TX)
It was neither a win nor his best statistical performance (370 yards, 4 TD’s), but it included some of the most magical plays we saw during Mahomes’ career. And it came against one of the best defenses he ever faced. Pat turned a lot of heads and earned some national recognition with such a spectacular performance in a bowl game, which helped with some of the hype he received in 2016.
Sadly, we won’t get to add to this list with Mahomes in the scarlet and black of Texas Tech. But Pat is doing what’s best for himself and his family by going to the NFL, where he’ll have plenty of time to add to the list in a different uniform. Thanks for all the outstanding performances and good luck in the NFL!