Red Raiders moving on to another big game

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey surveys the defense versus Oklahoma on Saturday. Duffey will likely be the Red Raiders starter this week. Elise Bressler photo

Texas Tech hosts Texas for Senior Day on Saturday.

There’s no time for the Texas Tech football team to sulk about its close call versus Oklahoma or worry about not having its star freshman quarterback in the game.

The Red Raiders host Texas on Saturday and still need a win to get bowl eligible.

When Texas A&M was a member of the Big 12, Texas Tech had two state-school big brothers it desperately wanted to beat every year. Now that the Aggies have left for the SEC, there’s no question which game ranks atop Red Raiders fans’ list of priorities.

“There’s a little added incentive, a little extra rivalry,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said about playing the Longhorns. “We know what this game has meant to our fans for a long time. There’s definitely more to it, so you’ve got to control your emotions, keep your focus and make sure you do everything during the week that you’ve done previously.”

It’s fairly obvious that when Texas Tech (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) lines up against Texas (6-3, 4-2), Jett Duffey will be the Red Raiders quarterback.

Duffey entered the Oklahoma game after Texas Tech freshman QB Alan Bowman suffered a re-occurrence of a collapsed lung that hospitalized him for five days earlier this season. Although Kingsbury speaks only vaguely about injuries, the fact that Bowman was still in the hospital as of Tuesday all but rules him out for the Texas game on Saturday.

Texas Tech fans have quickly fallen in love with the crisp-passing Bowman, while Duffey’s progression has been slower. But Kingsbury seems to have confidence in the way the sophomore Duffey is playing.

“I saw him turn a corner after the TCU game,” Kingsbury said. “He dealt with a lot of adversity in that game and came back in and found a way to win and lead his team to a road victory in the Big 12.”

The Texas Tech coach indicated that Duffey’s improvement continued in practice following the TCU win, though Bowman still started the next time out versus Kansas.

Now Duffey, who is the Red Raiders best option to make plays with his legs as well as his arm, has a chance to add a major bullet point to his resume if he can lead the Red Raiders to a victory against the Longhorns.

The Red Raiders haven’t beaten Texas in Lubbock since 2008 when Michael Crabtree scored a TD in the final seconds to send Jones AT&T Stadium into a raucous celebration.

Whether it’s as intense a finish or not, Kingsbury wants to see his team win in the final home game for the Texas Tech seniors.

“It's really important to us as a program that we try to send them out the right way and do everything in our power for them to have one more great memory in Jones stadium,” Kingsbury said.

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