It has been a few months since we said goodbye to Kliff Kingsbury and welcomed Matt Wells to Raiderland with arms wide open hoping and praying that he miraculously transform this program into an elite football team. The first scrimmage of the Spring Series on Saturday afternoon gave us a first glimpse of exactly what Wells has been working on since his arrival.
Defense definitely dominated the scrimmage. They held Alan Bowman and the offense forcing him to throw the ball away for two consecutive plays. Still Bowman completed 5-of-12 passes for 37 yards. When junior Jett Duffey took over for Bowman, red shirt freshman Adonis Brown immediately forced a pick-six early in the game and went 52 yards giving the defense the first touchdown of the game. Duffey also went 4-of-9 for 58 yards through the air. Bowman returned later in the game, but the defense continued to hold him back. Through the scrimmage, the offense had a lot more field goal attempts than actual touchdowns.
Juniors Caleb Griffin and Xavier Martin both made their debuts as quarterback before the end of the half. Martin was formerly a wide receiver, but switched positions at the end of last season. They were just on the field long enough to attempt seven passes with only three successful passes between the two of them. Overall, offense completed 20-of-38 passes for 227 yards. Sophomore Ta’Zhawn Henry carried the ball six times for 29 yards to lead the Red Raiders on offense, while SaRodorick Thompson added five carries of his own for 11 yards and a touchdown, including two consecutive touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Brayden Stringer and Patrick Curley each completed four tackles, a team high during the scrimmage, while Broderick Washington Jr. stopped the offense twice behind the line and Houston Miller added another safety on the following play.
Defense claimed victory over the offense with a score of 38-33. At the end of the scrimmage, the current players went one-by-one down a line of more than 100 Texas Tech former athletes in town as part of the Jess Styles Memorial Golf Tournament put on by the Double T Varsity Club.
The most touching moment of the game came when Luke Siegel, the Red and Black Give Back Fearless Spectator for Saturday, scored a touchdown straight down the middle and received a standing ovation from the crowd. The Red and Black Give Back program is a tradition established by Wells while he was still at Utah State. It honors a member of the community most weeks during the season. Luke Siegel is the son of former Tech men’s tennis coach Tim Siegel who has inspired the Lubbock community for his recovery from a tragic accident in July 2015 that resulted in a severe brain injury.
Fans will have two more opportunities to catch the Red Raiders this spring two more times in the coming weeks. Tech will host its yearly Midland scrimmage next Friday at Grande Communications Stadium and will close the spring session April 13 with its annual Spring Game at The Star in Frisco.