Posted December 31, 2013

Pass-happy Texas Tech rips Arizona State, 37-23, in Holiday Bowl

Arizona State Sun Devils, Holiday Bowl, Texas Tech Red Raiders
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly struggled all night against the Texas Tech defense. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly struggled all night against the Texas Tech defense. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Texas Tech kicked off the season with a blistering 7-0 start in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s inaugural campaign in Lubbock. But the Red Raiders then lost five straight games to close the year, effectively nullifying that early unbeaten record. So the question heading into Monday’s Holiday Bowl was, which Texas Tech team would show up in San Diego?

It didn’t take long to figure out the answer. Freshman quarterback Davis Webb threw four touchdown passes — tying a Holiday Bowl record — and the Red Raiders picked apart No. 14 Arizona State with an efficient passing game to notch a 37-23 win in Monday’s Holiday Bowl. Texas Tech managed 403 of its 483 yards of offense through the air against the Sun Devils.

Webb was magnificent in the first half as the Red Raiders built an early lead. The freshman completed two touchdown passes of one yard and 18 yards in the opening period to push Tech ahead 14-0. Webb tossed two more scores in the second quarter as the Red Raiders closed the first half with a 27-13 lead. Tech dominated the game early on offense, managing 351 yards (8.56 yards per play) by halftime compared to Arizona State’s 181 yards (5.17 yards per play). Webb had completed 19 of his 24 passes for 301 yards at the half after leading Tech to touchdowns on its first four drives of the game.

Despite the smothering performance in the first half by the Red Raiders’ offense, the Sun Devils made a game of things early in the third period. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly scampered 44 yards for a score on the Devils’ first drive of the second half to cut the deficit to 27-20. But Texas Tech’s Reginald Davis returned a kick 90 yards on the ensuing kickoff to make it a two-possession game once again, and the Sun Devils never seriously threatened from there.

Texas Tech’s undefeated start this year brought so much promise to a fan base looking for a new direction under Kingsbury, but the losing streak that ended the season left a sour taste in the mouths of those same fans. A bowl win over a 10-win Arizona State program that contended for the Pac-12 title is a solid consolation prize for a season that failed to deliver on early Big 12 title hopes.

Looking ahead, Kingsbury — who already helped mentor one ultra-talented quarterback in Johnny Manziel — could have another budding star on his hands in Webb. The first-year player finished with more than 2,500 yards passing and 20 touchdowns after splitting duties with fellow freshman Baker Mayfield this year. But Mayfield shocked many when he announced his intentions to transfer from Texas Tech earlier this month. That means Webb is likely Kingsbury’s guy going forward, and though the Red Raiders will lose NFL-bound tight end Jace Amaro next year, having an experienced body at quarterback is the kind of building block Kingsbury needs to feed off this season in Lubbock.

17 comments
ljks39
ljks39

whoo... ASWHO ASWHO ASWHO....

PKpwnage
PKpwnage

Good win for Tech going forward. Also very happy to see Texas get absolutely stomped by Oregon!

jlindley007
jlindley007

once again proving that the Big 12 is superior to the pac 12

JulieFishJeffery
JulieFishJeffery

So proud of our Red Raiders!!!! When we're healthy we're unstoppable. Kingsbury had a great game plan and the team executed! CONGRATS Texas Tech!! 

Joel1
Joel1

This Kingsbury is a pretty darned good coach. Very creative.

Aggie81
Aggie81

Congrats Kliff from the 12th man...  

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

So the question heading into Monday’s Holiday Bowl was, which Texas Tech team would show up in San Diego?" The real question turned out to be which ASU team would show up.

Fultonator
Fultonator

As a Wisconsin Badger fan I've been watching the Sun Devils with interest this year after the PAC-12 refs stole the game from Wisconsin and handed ASU a gift-wrapped win.  I'm particularly gratified with the results of the PAC-12 championship game and this Holiday Bowl.  Instant Karma's gonna get you ASU.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

WOW, That ASU team is sooo dominating, just as advertised

jlindley007
jlindley007

@UleNotknowASU played they're best game of the season. unfortunately it was against a team from a superior conference

DeepCreek
DeepCreek

@Fultonator While I'm no ASU fan and the calls at the end of the game were wacky to say the least, this sounds like sour grapes.  And is what happened at Camp Randall on 11/30also Karma?  

colinmmulligan
colinmmulligan

@jlindley007 Considering both conferences had 4 programs with losing records and the Pac 12 has 2 more teams, I don't think you can call for too much superiority there.