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At The Jones: It's Tech And A&M!

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  • At The Jones: It's Tech And A&M!

    Texas Tech set to face arch-rival Texas A&M in front of national TV audience

    Oct. 31, 2005

    No. 16/17 TEXAS TECH (7-1; 4-1) vs. TEXAS A&M (5-3; 3-2)

    Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 6 p.m. (FSN National Broadcast)

    Jones SBC Stadium - Lubbock, Texas

    Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M - Gameday Central

    Texas Tech Release in PDF Format
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    Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) looks to produce the program's best nine-game start since 1976 when it hosts Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2) Saturday at Jones SBC Stadium. Tech's current record reflects the best eight-game record to start a season in 29 years, when the 1976 squad opened 8-1. That team went on to finish 10-2 and earn a berth in the Bluebonnet Bowl against Nebraska. Saturday's game against the Aggies is a 6 p.m. kickoff on FSN.

    Texas Tech enters this week ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll and No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Tech began the 2005 season ranked 21st in both polls and have steadily climbed throughout the season. Tech's consistency in the polls this year reflects the first time in head coach Mike Leach's six seasons that the Red Raiders have been ranked every week of the season. Additionally, Tech cracked the top ten two weeks ago for the first time since 1977.

    With its win over Baylor, the Red Raiders qualified for postseason play for the 13th-straight season. Texas Tech is the only program of the 12 member institutions to boast an overall winning record each season since 1996. Others have finished at .500, but none have posted winning marks each of the last 10 seasons. Additionally, Tech is the only program to be bowl eligible each season of the league's existence.

    With an 8-4 record last season, the Red Raiders won at least eight games in three-consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The Red Raiders finished the 2002 season 9-5 and had an 8-5 mark in 2003. With another victory this season, the 7-1 Red Raiders will extend that streak.

    The 2005 season marks the 81st year of Texas Tech Football on the South Plains. Over that span, the program has 472 wins, 376 losses and 32 ties.

    Aside from Spike Dykes' 13 seasons (1987-99), the last Texas Tech coach to spend more than six seasons in Lubbock was JT King, who was at the helm of the program from 1961-69. Leach has seen continual improvement in each of his first five years, highlighted by last season's 45-31 win over California in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Leach has posted a 46-26 record and 25-19 record in Big 12 play, including last season's 5-3 league record and Big 12 third-place finish, the highest finish for Tech in the league standings. He is the first coach in school history to lead each of his first five teams to bowl games and also to win three-straight post-season games. His Tech teams have combined for over 151 team and individual records. Additionally, the Red Raider offense has led the nation in passing the past three years and total offense the last two.

    Texas Tech has scored 30 or more points in 43 games during the Leach era and has won 36 of those games. Additionally, the Red Raiders are 16-3 under Leach when scoring 40+ and 14-0 when scoring over 50. On the flip side, Tech is 9-19 when scoring 29 points or less. The win at Baylor was the first for Tech when scoring under 30 since a 27-13 win at SMU to open the 2004 season.

    Texas A&M is 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in Big 12 Conference play, including last weekend's 42-14 loss at home to Iowa State. The other losses came against Clemson and Colorado. The Aggies opened the season with the 25-24 loss at Clemson, before winning three straight over SMU (66-8), Texas State (44-31) and Baylor (16-13 OT). Colorado handed the Aggies their first conference loss of the season, a 41-20 setback in Boulder. A&M put together wins over Oklahoma State (62-23) and Kansas State (30-28), before last weekend's loss. A&M ranks third in the league in scoring offense (34.5), third in total offense (458.4), second in rush offense (224.1) and fourth in pass offense. The Aggie defense ranks 12th among Big 12 schools in total defense (426.2), 12th in pass defense (307.2), eighth in rush defense (119.0) and 10th in scoring defense (26.4). The A&M offense revolves around QB Reggie McNeal, who ranks sixth in the league in rushing (80.0) and fourth in total offense (289.2). McNeal averages 209.2 passing yards per game and has thrown 13 touchdown passes against seven interceptions this season. His favorite target is WR Jason Carter, who is third among the league's receivers with 84.9 receiving yards per game. He also has five touchdown catches. LB Justin Warren leads the Aggie defense with 10.2 tackles per game and ranks second among the league's defenders. Rover Archie McDaniel also ranks among the top ten with 7.9 stops per game.

    Texas A&M 32, Texas Tech 25 - OT (2004)
    Over 82,000 were in attendance at Kyle Field to witness one of the best defensive battles of the season as the Aggies edged Texas Tech 32-25 in overtime. Quarterback Sonny Cumbie threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns, while junior receiver Cody Fuller added seven receptions for 124 yards. Taurean Henderson had 131 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. Rush end Adell Duckett added his 27th career sack. The fourth quarter proved to be thrilling, starting with a one-yard Henderson touchdown run and a two-point conversion to put Tech up 15-12. Kicker Alex Trlica tied the game 18-18 with a 33-yard field goal at 10:09. The Red Raiders had to play catch up again when A&M added another seven with 5:38 remaining in the game. Cumbie methodically led the offense down the field and connected with Hicks on a fourth-and-goal with just 10 seconds on the clock to tie the game 25-25. A&M scored on the first snap in overtime with a pitch to Lewis for a 25-yard touchdown run.

    Texas Tech enters the game trailing the Aggies in the all-time series 34-28-1. The Red Raiders, however, have won seven of the last 10 meetings and five straight in Lubbock. The Aggies lead the series in College Station 16-10-1, while the Red Raiders hold a 14-11 advantage in Lubbock. The two teams first met during the 1927 season as the Aggies opened the series with six-straight wins before the Red Raiders claimed their first win in 1946. Each team has a long streak of six wins as A&M won six games from 1927-1945, while Tech claimed its six-straight victories from 1968-1973. Tech's 59-28 win in Lubbock in 2003 marked the second-largest margin for either team during the series, second only to Tech's 41-9 win over Texas A&M in 1954.
    Overall: Texas A&M leads 34-28-1
    Current Streak: A&M (one game)
    In Lubbock: 14-11-0
    In College Station: 16-10-1
    Last Meeting: A&M 32, Tech 25 OT (Road)

    Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in four statistical categories and is tied for the lead in two others. Tech tops the charts in passing offense (428.2), total offense (529.9), turnover margin (+1.3) and first downs (229). The Red Raiders are tied for the lead in PAT kicking (100%) and field goal percentage (83.3%). Individually, QB Cody Hodges leads the league in passing (381.6) and total offense (383.2). IR Robert Johnson and WR Joel Filani top the receptions per game chart (6.3), while RB Taurean Henderson leads in scoring (12.8). Filani is the league leader with 98.8 receiving yards per game. PK Alex Trlica is the league's second-leading scorer with 9.6 points per game and leads the league's kickers with 77 points this season. Defensively, FS Dwayne Slay is the leader in forced fumbles with seven and needs one to break the Big 12 record.

    Texas Tech leads the country in passing offense and is second in total offense. The Red Raiders also rank among the top 10 in scoring offense (45.9) and turnover margin (+1.25). Hodges leads the country in total offense.

    The Red Raiders have out-scored opponents 200-68 in the first half this season, including an 83-13 advantage in the first quarter. The first points allowed in the first quarter this season came on a field goal against Kansas State in the sixth game of the season, while Texas added the other 10 two weeks ago. Tech has scored 117 points in the second quarter, 79 in the third and 88 in the fourth.

    When the Red Raiders score, the trend shows they like to keep it together. Texas Tech has scored touchdowns on back-to-back scoring drives 36 times this season, including once in the win at Baylor. The longest stretch of consecutive touchdowns spanned 10 drives between the Sam Houston State and Indiana State games.

    The Texas Tech offense has made 46 trips into the opponent's redzone this season and has come away with scores 43 times, including a 3-for-3 performance at Baylor. The three misses all came on interceptions. Of the 43 scores, Tech has 35 touchdowns and eight field goals.

    The Tech offense has company this year. The Red Raider defense has played a major role in the team's success this season and is ranked 24th nationally in total defense. The unit is allowing only 4.6 yards per play, 322.5 yards per game and has forced 23 turnovers. The yards per game Tech is allowing is the lowest for Red Raider opponents since the 2000 season, when the opposition managed 320.7 yards per game.

    When Texas Tech shutout Baylor (28-0) last Saturday in Waco, the win marked the first blanking of an opponent since a 49-0 win at New Mexico in 2002. It also marked the first conference shutout for Tech since knocking off Texas A&M (12-0) at Jones SBC Stadium during the 2001 season. Additionally, the shutout against Baylor is the first for Tech against a Big 12 Conference opponent on the road.

    Texas Tech has done such a good job of bullying its opponents into turnovers this season that the Red Raiders lead the league in turnover margin at +1.3 per game. The Red Raiders have recovered 13 opponent fumbles this season, while forcing 15 overall. Additionally, the pass defense has stepped up and has picked 10 passes on the year. In Saturday's win at Baylor, the Red Raiders picked three Baylor passes, including SS Vincent Meeks' third of the season.

    Texas Tech's pass defense ranks second in the Big 12 Conference this week and has caused trouble for opposing passing games throughout the season. The unit ranks 31st nationally and is holding opponents to 193.4 yards per game through the air.

    Tech's secondary is currently holding opponents to a 55.3 completion percentage.

    The unit ranks 15th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

    FS Dwayne Slay leads the league with seven forced fumble, which is tied for the Big 12 record with former Texas Longhorn Derrick Johnson, who posted seven last season. Slay also ranks first among the league's defensive backs with 8.6 tackles per game and fourth overall.

    SS Vincent Meeks has 12 interceptions in his career, including one against Baylor last week.

    The secondary has accounted for nine of the team's 23 takeaways this year, including three by Naziruddin on a pair of picks and a fumble recovery and Meeks' three picks.

    Tech has held four of its seven opponents this year below 200 yards passing and has allowed multiple-passing touchdowns only twice.
    Texas Tech is in the middle of a 100-game scoring streak, the second-longest in school history, and fourth among Big 12 schools. The run began with a 16-13 win over Texas A&M on Oct. 25, 1997, a week after dropping a 29-0 decision to second-ranked Nebraska. During its current run, the Red Raiders have scored 10+ in all but four games.
    Longest Scoring Streaks in School History
    106 games - Began 10/17/87 with 59-7 win over Rice in Lubbock; ended 12/29/96 with a 27-0 loss to Iowa in the Alamo Bowl
    100 games - Began 10/25/97 with 16-13 win over Texas A&M in Lubbock (current streak)

    With its win at Nebraska, Texas Tech has now posted victories on the home field of each Big 12 school, save two - Colorado and Missouri. The Red Raiders will get their chance next season at Colorado and Missouri the following year.

    When Texas Tech does get a wild hair and go for it on fourth down, odds are in its favor to be successful. The Red Raiders are 8-of-9 on fourth-down conversions this season with the only miss coming at Texas.

    An internal radar for the ball and a knack for applying punishing hits are how senior FS Dwayne Slay has become the team leader in tackles and conference leader in forced fumbles. It also enabled his to become the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 30) and SBC Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Slay leads the team with 69 tackles, including a career-high 18 against Baylor. Slay has become one of the nation's top players for forcing fumbles. He forced his seventh of the season on the final play of the Baylor game, tying him with former Texas Longhorn Derrick Johnson for the Big 12 single-season record. Slay's bone-jarring hits have been highlight reel material this season.

    Senior LB John Saldi closed his freshman season with Defensive MVP honors at the 2002 Tangerine Bowl and gave Red Raider fans a glimpse of what to expect from him in the future. Saldi continues to fulfill the promise shown that night and has emerged this season as one of the team top run stoppers. He leads the team with six and a half tackles for loss from his outside linebacker slot. He also has a sack to his credit and has been effective against the pass as he is second with three passes broken up. Saldi has 22 tackles, two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In the last four games, Saldi has 13 tackles and five tackles for loss, after posting nine total tackles in the first four games.

    RB Taurean Henderson and RB Shannon Woods both are averaging over six yards per carry on the season, with Woods leading the way with 6.9 yards per carry on 19 rushes. Henderson, who has a team-leading 12 rushing touchdowns, is averaging 6.5 yards on 100 carries. Take away the sack yardage and the Red Raiders are averaging 5.7 yards per carry in the rushing department.

    To say RB Taurean Henderson is a vital part of Texas Tech scoring offense would be a major understatement. Henderson has scored in 14 of his last 15 games, dating back to the Oklahoma game last season. As the nation's active leader in career touchdowns, Henderson is on pace to break the Tech single-season mark in touchdowns and points. He currently has 17 touchdowns on the season and 102 points. If he continues his current pace, Henderson will finish the regular season with 140 points and 23 touchdowns. The record for single-season points and touchdowns is 134 and 22, respectively, set by Byron Morris in 1993. More on Henderson

    Turned in sixth 100-yard rushing game of career with 136 yards on a career-high 18 carries at Baylor. The yardage total made him only the fifth player in school history with 3,000+ rushing yards. He currently has 3,017 in his career.

    Rushed for two touchdowns in win at Baylor, including one set up by a season-long 60-yard run in the fourth quarter.

    Henderson broke the NCAA record for career receptions by a running back with his first catch against Kansas State. He bested the previous mark of 262, set by Long Beach State's Mark Templeton during the 1984-87 seasons. Henderson needed four receptions against Nebraska to break Wes Welker's school record for receptions (259 from 2000-03) and wasted little time setting the new mark. He had his fourth reception before the end of the first quarter to set the new standard. He has 280 receptions in his career.

    Henderson wasn't finished with the record books when he set the NCAA receptions record for a running back against Kansas State. The senior running back also tied a school record with five touchdowns (three rushing and two receiving) in Tech's 59-20 win over Kansas State. The multi-touchdown game was the fourth of the season for Henderson and the third in which he has scored at least three. His five touchdowns tie him with Billy Taylor (vs. TCU, 1977), James Gray (vs. Rice, 1989) and Byron Hanspard (vs. SMU, 1995).
    Fourteen Red Raiders have contributed to Tech's hold as the nation's top scoring team. Seven have scored multiple touchdowns, while four others tallied their first-career scores. TE Bristol Olomua added his first points of the season on a two-point conversion against Baylor. RB Taurean Henderson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 12.8 points per game, while PK Alex Trlica is second with 9.6 points. Trlica has connected on 10-of-12 field goals this year and 47-of-47 extra points. WR Joel Filani is second with eight touchdowns, while WR Jarrett Hicks and backup RB Shannon Woods have five and four scores apiece. IR Robert Johnson also has four scores and H Danny Amendola has three. QB Cody Hodges has rushed for two. WR Marquis Johnson, H Eric Morris and LB John Saldi each scored their first touchdowns this season, while WR Brandon Douglas scored his first-career touchdown on a blocked punt. RB Taurance Rawls also has a score.

    During the first three games of the season, sophomore PK Alex Trlica ran through his usual routine of kicking extra points - several times. The Red Raiders scored 28 touchdowns in the non-conference season and Trlica effortlessly booted extra point after extra point. In the last three games, Trlica was given seven opportunities to kick field goals and he accepted the challenge. The Lou Groza Star of the Week from Oct. 4 provided the Tech scoring for the first three quarters against Baylor on a pair of first-half field goals, including a career-long of 47 yards. Trlica's three field goals against Kansas earlier this season were the most in a game since the 2001 season.

    Trlica has made all 102 of his career extra point attempts, setting a new standard and breaking the previous mark of 97, set by Robert Treece from 2000-01. Now, he needs just two extra point conversions to become Tech's all-time leader in that category - as a sophomore! Jon Davis set the record of 103 during the 1991-94 seasons.

    Five Red Raider receivers already have 20 or more receptions on the season, led by junior IR Robert Johnson and junior WR Joel Filani, who have 50 apiece. Johnson, a quarterback-turned-receiver, has been a consistent target for QB Cody Hodges, scoring four touchdowns and averaging 88.1 yards per game. Filani also has 50 catches catches and boasts a team-leading 98.8 yards per game, while RB Taurean Henderson follows with 47 receptions. WR Jarrett Hicks also has more than 30 receptions with 43.

    Seventeen players have caught a pass this season, including eight who have at least 10 receptions and four with 40 or more. IR Robert Johnson and WR Joel Filani lead with 50 each.

    Junior WR Jarrett Hicks has elevated his game over the last few weeks, increasing his yards-per-game average from the first four games. Hicks, who did not play in the first game of the season, averaged 72.0 yards per game and scored four touchdowns in his first four games. Despite scoring once in the last three games, Hicks has been productive moving the ball down the field for the Red Raiders. In the last three games, he has improved his yardage average to 94.3 yards per game, including 105 yards against Kansas State and a 115 at Baylor.
    More on Hicks' play this season

    Hicks turned in one of the best single seasons in Tech history for a receiver a year ago when he hauled in a school record 13 touchdown receptions and 1,177 yards. Against Kansas State this year, Hicks added another record to his belt when he caught his 23rd career scoring reception. With his lone touchdown catch of the game, he broke the two-year old mark of 22, set by Mickey Peters (2000-03).
    QB Cody Hodges' outing against Kansas State was one for the record books and the senior signal caller bombarded the Wildcats with 643 passing yards and five touchdowns en route to a 59-20 Tech win. The yardage is the second-most in Tech history and the fourth-best single game in NCAA Division I history. It is the sixth-best performance in NCAA history regardless of division.

    Texas Tech has had a tremendous amount of success when entering the locker room with a halftime lead. Tech is 36-2 when leading at the half under head coach Mike Leach. The only blemishes came during the 2001 season against Kansas and at Texas A&M last year after the Aggies overcame a 7-6 deficit to Tech at the break to win in overtime.

    Texas Tech holds a series lead over five Big 12 members, including Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Baylor, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M all hold series advantages over the Red Raiders. In addition to its five opponents from the Big 12 South, Tech faced Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska from the Big 12 North this season, defeating all three. Since 1996 the Red Raiders are 16-14 against teams from the North Division and 44-33 against the entire league.

    Redshirt freshman backup QB Graham Harrell relieved Hodges early in the fourth and third quarters against Florida International and Sam Houston State, respectively, played the entire second half against Indiana State and made a late appearance against Kansas State. Harrell has hit 70.2 percent of his receivers this season and has completed 33-of-47 pass attempts. He also has 367 yards and two passing scores. Harrell's pass attempts are the most for a backup in a season since Sonny Cumbie's 56 pass attempts as a backup to B.J. Symons in 2003.

    With key cogs missing from its normal lineup, Texas Tech inserted LB Fletcher Session in as the starter at middle linebacker, moving him over from his outside position. The move has been a productive one for the junior. Session made the move five games ago and has increased his productivity since. After posting 12 tackles over the first three games, Session stepped up in the middle and has made 35 tackles in the last five, including a career-high 12 against Baylor. The team's second-leading tackler, Session also has two sacks, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. He also spent time on the outside against Baylor when an injury to the unit forced a lineup shuffle.

    Missing the first two games of the season didn't deter SS Vincent Meeks from making the most of his senior season. In addition to his 29 tackles, Meeks is back to doing what he does best - grabbing interceptions. Meeks picked his third of the season in the win at Baylor. He has 12 picks in his career and is tied in fifth place on the Tech career interceptions list with Boyd Cowan (1985-88).

    Lost in the shuffle of the hard hitting, interceptions and fumble recoveries are two defensive linemen who have made a huge impact in Tech's success on defense this season. NT Chris Hudler, DT/DE Randall Cherry and DE Brett Bischofberger have done outstanding jobs in the trenches this season. Hudler has 17 tackles to his credit, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. He also leads the team with five quarterback hurries. Bischofberger has 11 tackles this season, including two sacks. He also has a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Cherry, who has started at both end and tackle during the season, has 13 tackles and a sack.

    The Red Raiders' completed its sweep of the Big 12 North Division with a 59-20 win over Kansas State in Lubbock on Oct. 15. The Red Raiders knocked off Nebraska (34-31) and Kansas (30-17) during the previous two weeks. This year marked the first time since the 2002 season that Tech faced each of the three North Division members on consecutive weekends. Iowa State, Missouri and Colorado were on Tech's schedule in a three-week span three seasons ago.
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