There on the sideline at Amon G. Carter Stadium was the man who made Kliff Kingsbury, Johnny Football.
The former Texas A&M Aggie and currently injured CFL player made it to Fort Worth on Thursday night to watch his former college assistant coach go to work.
Manziel could not save Kingsbury this time.
Kliffy did that himself.
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“I have been begging him for years to come to a game and thankfully he finally made it,” Kingsbury said. “It’s only been six years. I owe him a lot.”
Say that last part loud and from the highest point in all of Lubbock, sir. Even if it’s 15 feet high.
Now that Kevin Sumlin is stealing money from some other sucker, no current coach in Texas owes more to Johnny Manziel than Coach Bro.
The prettiest coach in all of college football may never equal the success of Mike Leach in Lubbock, but the man knows how to survive.
And Texas Tech’s 17-14 win over TCU on Thursday night made Tech AD Kirby Hocutt’s decision that much harder, and is one more piece to guarantee Kingsbury another year in Lubbock.
Red Raider nation may not want to hear this, but they should expect Kingsbury to be back in 2019. He’s doing it again, and that is just enough to stick around.
The Red Raiders improved to 4-2, and essentially ended TCU’s season in the ugliest contest this side of a Dallas Cowboy’s game.
Red Raider nation loves their own, and specifically Kingsbury, but it has grown quite bored with their King. They want to see him win, because he wants to be there, but they are tired of the constant flirtation with .500.
All one had to do to see that was look at the number of empty seats at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Thursday night; the Red Raiders normally fill up the place.
Fans are tired of it, and Kingsbury knows it.
Hocutt said after last season that the Red Raiders must show improvement, and once again the Red Raiders under Bro are doing just enough to give a cost-conscious AD a reason to think that he’s doing the right thing by sticking it out.
Thursday night’s win over a rival on the road is what Hocutt needs to not fire the man he hired.
Kingsbury also has a contract that pays him through 2020. His buyout is now in the neighborhood of $5 million.
For Texas Tech’s athletic department budget, $5 million is not one text message to a booster away from happening. Lubbock isn’t College Station. It’s not Austin. But $5 million is also doable.
Right now, there is no need to think about writing that check.
Of course, the Red Raiders did this last season when they won at Texas to save their head coach. They always seem to do this.
Every time Tech shows improvement, and provides evidence its ready to make a run at 10 wins under Kingsbury, they always fall over themselves in the most Red Raider way possible.
Case in point, to start the season they lost by 20 to an average Ole Miss team in Houston. Three weeks later, they defeat No. 15 Oklahoma State on the road.
And just when the Red Raiders were going to lose on Thursday night, quarterback Jett Duffey scored on a 38-yard touchdown run with 7:02 remaining in the game.
The Red Raiders will soon be 5-2 after they win their next game against Kansas.
Maybe for the first time since he arrived it’s all lining up for our favorite frat boy in Lubbock. When he had a dominant offense and brilliant passer, like Patrick Mahomes, the defense was record-setting bad.
Now that Kingsbury has settled down with defensive coordinator David Gibbs, the offense is good enough to complement a defense that is decent.
For the first time under Kingsbury, he has a defense that can win him a game.
“I’ve always been impressed with how (Gibbs) stuck to his guns through some really, really rough years,” Kingsbury said. “He had a vision that he wanted to recruit to it. Wanted to develop to it. He stuck by it and there are some players who have developed and are making some plays. There is some progress being made.”
Tech allowed over 400 yards on Thursday night, but forced three turnovers against a team that now has shown a real passion and skill for giving up the ball.
No matter, Thursday night is about what Texas Tech did and nothing else.
With the man who made Kliff Kingsbury watching from the sideline, the coach went out and saved himself without needing any help from Johnny Manziel.