Texas Tech hopes to finish season with upset win against Arizona State

Posted Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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National University Holiday Bowl

No. 14 Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

9:15 p.m. Monday, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

TV: ESPN  Radio: KFXR/1190 AM, KWRD/100.7 FM

Records: Arizona State 10-3, 8-1 Pac-12; Texas Tech 7-5, 4-5 Big 12

Key points: Kliff Kingsbury’s first season as head coach for Texas Tech started better than anyone could have expected with seven straight wins and a high ranking in the AP poll. But then came a five-game skid after Big 12 competition picked up. The Red Raiders struggled to get defensive stops, giving up 38 points in a loss to Oklahoma, 52 to Oklahoma State, 49 to Kansas State, 63 to Baylor and 41 to Texas. And Arizona State has an offense capable of running up the score, led by junior quarterback Taylor Kelly (3,510 passing yards, 28 touchdowns) and top receiver Jaelen Strong (1,094 receiving yards, seven touchdowns). Leading rusher and scorer Marion Grice (996 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns) probably won’t play, coach Todd Graham says. The Sun Devils are scoring 41 points a game, ninth best in the nation. Two of Arizona State’s losses came to Stanford, including in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Either Davis Webb or Michael Brewer will lead Texas Tech’s offense at quarterback after Baker Mayfield announced he will seek a transfer. The Red Raiders will likely need to score a lot of points to stay in the game.

Tarrant ties: Redshirt freshman safety Viliami Moeakiola, from Euless Trinity, has played in four games for Arizona State and has eight tackles, six solo. Texas Tech’s area players on its roster: sophomore linebacker Micah Awe (Mansfield Summit), freshman deep snapper Parker Bradham (Aledo), junior receiver Jordan Davis (Arlington High), senior receiver Brandon DeFrance (Colleyville Heritage), senior receiver Aaron Fisher (Keller Fossil Ridge), freshman offensive lineman Cody Hayes (Fort Worth Eastern Hills), freshman defensive back Tanner Jacobson (Southlake Carroll), freshman offensive lineman Ryan Messer (Nolan Catholic), sophomore linemen Alfredo and Tony Morales (both from Arlington Sam Houston), junior defensive lineman Jackson Richards (Southlake Carroll), senior running back Josh Talbott (Liberty Christian), redshirt freshman receiver Peyton Williams (Southlake Carroll).

— Brent Shirley

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