NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas is the home of the 2023 Texas Bowl between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Ole Miss Rebels. The Big 12 and the SEC will meet head-to-head on Dec. 28 with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. (CST).
Previously having won the bowl in 2012 and lost 2015, it will be the Red Raiders’ third time in the Texas Bowl. In his first season as head coach of the Red Raiders, Joey McGuire has had a successful season. With two wins over ranked opponents this season (University of Houston and Texas Longhorns), Texas Tech finished 4th in the Big 12 with a record of 5-4.
McGuire led his team to a winning season, finishing 7-5 overall. But while his first season as head coach in Lubbock was a success, it didn’t come easily.
The Red Raiders had a problematic season when it came to having a single quarterback at the helm. Due to injury, the Red Raiders not only had three quarterbacks that routinely rotated into the starting role, but three quarterbacks that threw for 1,000 yards each.
Between Donovan Smith, Behren Morton, and Tyler Shough, the Red Raiders accumulated 3,684 passing yards for 25 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Nonetheless, the Red Raiders finished their season strong with Shough taking the snaps. Winning the last three games of the season, Shough accumulated 1,062 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Posting a 59.4 completion percentage, Shough had the best passer rating among his teammates at 134.1.
Shough led the Red Raiders out of the trenches with big victories over the Kansas Jayhawks, the Iowa State Cyclones, and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Most notable was the 51-48 overtime victory over Oklahoma. On the Red Raiders’ Senior Day, Shough put together a phenomenal performance passing for 436 yards and two touchdowns. Wide-receiver Jerand Bradley, who had himself a career day, caught eight passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.
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While the Red Raiders capped off a successful regular season, they will have to face off against a tough opponent in Ole Miss on Wednesday.
In his third season as head coach at Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin led the Rebels to a 8-4 season record, finishing 3rd in the SEC West. Trailing only No. 5 Alabama and No. 16 LSU, Ole Miss finished with a 4-4 conference record.
Unlike the Red Raiders, Ole Miss lost its last three games of the season to Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. While entering the Texas Bowl on a three-game losing streak, Ole Miss has all the offensive artillery to cause problems against the Red Raiders.
Leading the Rebels this season was quarterback, Jaxson Dart. The sophomore transfer from USC threw for 2,613 yards and 18 touchdowns. Despite throwing eight interceptions, Dart completed 63% of his passes and remained a consistent quarterback for the Rebels in 2022.
Perhaps the biggest impact and surprise of the season is freshman running back, Quinshon Judkins. A true freshman, Judkins went from playing at Pike Road High School in Alabama to being the primary running back for Ole Miss.
It was expected that Judkins would take on a secondary role behind Zach Evans, who transferred from TCU, but the freshman took control and had a stellar season. With 251 rushing attempts, Judkins posted 1,476 yards for 16 touchdowns. With eight games with over a hundred rushing yards and six multi-touchdown games, Judkins averaged a monstrous 5.9 yards per carry.
As Ole Miss makes its Texas Bowl debut on Wednesday, coach McGuire and Texas Tech will look to win its second Texas Bowl in school history.
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