HOUSTON — After the Texas Tech victory over Ole Miss in the 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl, the Rebels coach Lane Kiffin said a Red Raider spit on one of his players during the fourth quarter.
“There was a racial slur involved,” Kiffin said.
Texas Tech later responded and said the allegations are false.
Head coach Joey McGuire said, “We are disappointed an opposing head coach decided to insinuate serious allegations that are false and irresponsible.”
TTU linebacker Dimitri Moore said, “I can’t state strongly enough that these accusations are false.”
“It is disappointing to have my final game as a collegiate student-athlete overshadowed by the false accusations that were stated last night,” Moore also said.
With more than 12:00 minutes left in the game, Ole Miss receiver Dayton Wade caught a pass but then fumbled, with Texas Tech recovering. There was a confrontation between players on the field.
Kiffin said the wrong No 11 player was called for a penalty. He said a Texas Tech player was the one who acted out of line, not Jordan Watkins. Kiffin mentioned Watkins as a way of clearing his name because he was called out by the officials on national television.
“That’s calling the guy’s name out to tell them [in the] national [audience] what he did,” Kiffin said. “That is wrong.”
“So, look, I brought our own 71 up to the officials, right or wrong,” Kiffin said. “You see him crying. He’s not crying because he spit on him — because he got spit on. It was something that was said.”
Number 71 for Ole Miss was Jayden Williams, according to the team’s online roster.
When pressed by reporters, Kiffin had to moderate his comments about the racial slur.
“I was told that was said, and I did not hear that,” Kiffin said. He said other players witnessed the spitting and he felt stronger about saying it definitely happened.
“We don’t have a statement right now,” a spokesman for Texas Tech Athletics initially said. Later, a statement was released. (See below.)
Kiffin’s claims were picked up by national media outlets including ESPN and the Associated Press.
The final score was 42 to 25. Kiffin said the fight, the spitting and the racial comment had nothing to do with Ole Miss losing the game.
After this article was initially published, TTU Athletics released the following statement:
LUBBOCK, Texas – Below are statements from Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire and senior linebacker Dimitri Moore in response to comments made following the TaxAct Texas Bowl Wednesday night from Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
“We are disappointed an opposing head coach decided to insinuate serious allegations that are false and irresponsible. I have discussed these allegations with Dimitri Moore, and he disputed the two claims that were brought forth against him. I am proud of our team and our performance last night in what was a memorable win to close our season in front of a sea of Red Raiders.” – head coach Joey McGuire
“I can’t state strongly enough that these accusations are false. It is disappointing to have my final game as a collegiate student-athlete overshadowed by the false accusations that were stated last night. Since I have arrived at Texas Tech, I have strived to represent my teammates, this coaching staff and most importantly, my family, in the highest manner. It has been an honor to represent this program as we closed our season with a great team victory last night.” – Dimitri Moore