Throwback Game of the Week: Texas Tech vs Ole Miss
Texas Tech is getting closer and closer to their week one match-up against Ole Miss in Houston on September 1st, 2018. So, I thought it would be fun to look back at the last time Texas Tech faced Ole Miss during the regular season.
The 2003 game was part of the home-and-home series started in Lubbock a season earlier, when then-quarterback Kliff Kingsbury led the Red Raiders to a 42-28 win over the Rebels.
In 2003, Texas Tech was 2-1, coming off of a loss to NC State. Kingsbury had moved on to the NFL, and some new guy was lighting the world on fire. By week four, in his first season as a starter, B.J. Symons already had 10 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards passing.
Against Ole Miss, he would try to match those season totals.
Ole Miss was entering the week against the Red Raiders also 2-1, with some Heisman hopeful named Eli Manning. Not sure what happened to him after college football. The game did feature some NFL talent, besides the 3rd most talented Manning -- most notably Wes Welker, who was catching passes from Symons as a Red Raider.
The game itself was one of the most exciting games early in the Mike Leach era. It was a game that vaulted Texas Tech into the national spotlight and got everyone's attention that the Air Raid offense was for real.
Ole Miss would get into the end zone first, but B.J. Symons would find it more often in the first half, throwing touchdowns to Taurean Henderson, Wes Welker and Carlos Francis. Unfortunately, Ole Miss nailed three field goals and caught another touchdown pass, that one thrown by Symons to a defender.
The score at halftime was 22-21, Ole Miss.
The Rebels would open the second half with another field goal. Eli Manning would then add his second touchdown pass of the game, this one to Mike Espy.
Symons would counter with a QB sneak to make it 27-32, after a failed 2-point conversion. The Rebels and Red Raiders would trade touchdowns and head into the 4th quarter, with Manning and the Rebels leading 39-34.
Ole Miss would open the 4th quarter with their 5th and 6th field goals. 42-34, Ole Miss.
With time running out, Texas Tech would drive down and score a touchdown to make it 45-40. A Clay McGuire (the new Texas Tech RB coach) two-point conversion would put them within a field goal at 45-42.
The Red Raider defense would force a three-and-out, and B.J. Symons would respond by leading Texas Tech on a 10-play, two-minute drive to take the lead on a touchdown pass to Carlos Francis.
The Texas Tech defense now had to hold on for just over a minute.
If I asked you to guess what Eli Manning did with the game on the line at the end of a game that wasn't a Super Bowl against Tom Brady, what would you guess? A late-game, soul-crushing interception? Because that is exactly what happened.
Ryan Aycock was the hero who nabbed the pass over the middle of the field. Texas Tech just needed one more offensive snap to ice the game.
B.J. Symons started his legendary run in this game and finished with 44 completions, 661 yards and six touchdowns. He would finish 2003 with 5,833 yards and 52 touchdowns. Nobody has thrown for more yards in a single season, ever.