HOUSTON, Texas – Texas Tech capped its first year under head coach Joey McGuire with a 42-25 win over Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl Wednesday at NRG Stadium.
The Red Raiders win their final four games and and finish the season with an 8-5 record, the best finish since the 2013 season.
The Red Raider defense was up to the task forcing five turnovers, holding Ole Miss to 2-of-7 on fourth down conversion attempts, and shutting down one of the top rushing attacks in the country at bay all night. SEC leading rusher Quinshon Judkins to 91 yards on 23 carries.
Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough outpaced Judkins on the ground 111 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also threw for 242 yards and a touchdown on his way to Texas Bowl MVP honors.
Ole Miss would get the ball to start the game the game and the defense would be ready from the start.
Texas Tech’s defense forced a turnover on down on Ole Miss’ first possession Jaxson Dart’s pass attempt on 4th & 7 fell to the ground incomplete.
The Red Raider offense was on the verge of turning that into points until Tyler Shough’s pass was intercepted by Rebels defensive back Trey Washington in the end zone.
The defense would come up big again on the next Ole Miss possession. Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins was stonewalled by Myles Cole on 4th & 1 from the Mississippi 29-yard line.
The Red Raiders would cash in this time around. Both Behren Morton and Shough were in on the play. Morton would go in motion, then line up at center on his tiptoes, and the snap would go through his legs right to Shough, who ran it in from two yards out on 4th & goal to give Texas Tech the early 7-0 lead.
Ole Miss answers with a five-play 75-yard drive capped by a Zac Evans 8-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
On the Red Raiders’ next possession, Trey Wolff hits a 42-yard field goal to reclaim the lead at 10-7 with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter.
The Rebels would go for it on 4th down for the third time in the quarter and would be stopped again on a Dadrion Taylor-Demerson interception.
On Texas Tech’s next possession in the second quarter, the Red Raiders were denied inside the five on a 4th down conversion attempt when the Rebels stopped Xavier White three yards short of the end zone.
Lane Kiffin kept his punter on the bench and went for it on 4th & 1 from the Rebels’ 11-yard line and converted for the first time on the night on a Judkins three-yard run.
On the next play, the Texas Tech defense picked off their second Dart pass of the game. Marquis Waters intercepted the pass and returned it to the Ole Miss 9-yard line.
After being stuffed on the previous possession, the Red Raiders would go for it on 4th & goal again, and for the second time, Shough would run it in for a score to extend Texas Tech’s lead to 17-7.
A failed fake punt attempt by Ole Miss would give the Red Raiders great field position again with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Texas Tech would face 4th down on the drive and convert on a Shough pass to Henry Teeter. It was the ninth 4th down conversion attempt between the two teams in the first half.
They would face 4th & 5 a few plays later but settle for a field goal attempt this time. Wolff converted the 32-yard attempt to make it 20-7 Red Raiders with 2:13 remaining in the first half.
The defense would force its third turnover of the game on Mississippi’s next possession. Jaylon Hutchings forced the fumble by Dart, and Taylor-Demerson recovered it deep in Rebel territory.
Five plays later, Shough hit Jared Bradley in stride for a 9-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed, so the Red Raiders took a 26-7 lead into the locker room.
The first punt would come on Texas Tech’s first possession of the second half.
Mississippi’s second touchdown would come ten plays later when Dart connected with Jordan Watkins for the 11-yard touchdown to cut Texas Tech’s lead to 26-13.
Texas Tech would attempt to add to its lead, but a 41-yard Wolff field goal attempt would sail wide right.
The Red Raider defense would stuff Judkins again on a fourth-down attempt. It was Texas Tech’s fifth 4th down stop of the night.
Texas Tech’s offense was much more successful on 4th down. A Shough keeper in the final seconds of the third quarter gave the Red Raiders a first down and a fourth successful conversion.
In his last game as a Red Raider, SaRodorick Thompson capped an 11-play 71-yard drive with a one-yard score, and after a missed two-point conversion Texas Tech led 32-12 early in the fourth quarter.
The Texas Tech defense would force its fourth turnover when Isaac Smith stripped the ball away from Dayton Wade and then recovered the fumble.
It would lead to Wolff’s third field goal and a 35-13 Texas Tech lead with under ten minutes remaining.
Ole Miss would find the endzone with 7:35 remaining on a Dart 9-yard keeper. After a missed two-point attempt, the Rebels cut the Red Raider lead to 35-19.
Freshman Cam’Ron Valdez broke free for an apparent touchdown, but the ball was punched out and went through the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 35-19 to give the Rebels life with 5:40 remaining.
Ole Miss would take advantage with a Dart 19-yard touchdown to Malik Heath, and after a missed two-point attempt the Rebels pulled within ten at 35-25.
On the ensuing onside attempt, Loic Fouonjic recovered the ball and took it 44 yards for a touchdown to ice the victory. Fouonji also had a team-high 100 receiving yards on seven catches.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to open the 2023 season on Sept. 2 against Wyoming in Laramie.