It was late on November 24th, when the Longhorns led the Red Raiders 23-13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Austin was buzzing as it usually does on a Friday night but even more-so since the Longhorns had recently become bowl eligible. A gritty three quarters led the Red Raiders to a ten point deficit with the clock counting down each second as if it were the toll of a bell. He came up beside Coach Kingsbury and uttered a simple phrase, “Coach you’re about to run out of time.” It was Nic Shimonek.
He had started the first eleven games of the season for the Red Raiders, but for the Texas game McLane Carter had taken the starting role. Yet here we were, down ten points with one quarter of play left in a game that hadn’t seen much offensive production on either side. Kingsbury took the chance and Shimonek walked onto the field. Six plays later he hit TJ Vasher in the shallow of the end-zone to bring Texas Tech up to 20-23. The Texas Tech sideline was alive.
Fast forward through a few other uneventful possessions and now it’s counting down towards two minutes left, Texas has the ball, third down with only two yards to go for the first. Sam Ehlinger steps up, takes the snap and floats a ball through the autumn air that - for a moment - time stopped. It made sense. Their star player, in their place, counting down in the fourth quarter. It’s what the University of Texas had come to expect, and what Texas Tech had come to abhor. One hundred thousand of the burnt orange army stood frozen with anticipation; scarlet hearts left to be ripped out. The Longhorn hand was placed firmly on the chancellors spurs because it was going to be caught... until it wasn’t.
Walk-on Justus Parker sliced across the center of the field and intercepted Ehlinger’s pass to set up the Red Raider offense around Texas’ fifteen yard line. It took only two plays for Shimonek to find Cameron Batson in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Texas Tech roared to a 27-23 victory over Texas and Shimonek seemed to erase some doubts about his quality as a quarterback this season.
Now bowl eligible, Texas Tech is pinned to face the University of South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl. There are two weeks of preparation that the Red Raiders will go through before traveling to face USF in the last game of the year. One pressing question on many people’s minds is whether or not Carter would be a starter again. This past Sunday Kingsbury left no doubts on the table as to who would be starting against Charlie Strong and the USF Bulls. Shimonek is tied for 10th in the FBS rankings for passing touchdowns with 30, 11th for his passing efficiency at a 156.0 rating, and 14th in passing yards with 3,547. Tell us what you think.
Should Shimonek be starting for the USF game?
This poll is closed
Yes, he is a good quarterback
No, Carter should be given another starting chance this year
It’s complicated; Carter’s start might have made Shimonek play better later, but Shimonek might be on a hot streak