Texas Tech football: Oregon has tons of star power for Tech to contend with

Texas Tech football: Oregon has tons of star power for Tech to contend with
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Nov 12, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the field before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s tough to remember when the Texas Tech football program has hosted a more high-profile non-conference opponent than it will Saturday when the No. 13 Oregon Ducks come to Lubbock. In fact, to find one, we have to go all the way back to the Spike Dykes era.

Maybe the most highly-regarded non-con team that has come to the South Plains was the 1990 Miami Hurricanes.  Ranked No. 8 in the nation when they came to Lubbock and smacked the Red Raiders around in a 45-10 victory, the Canes were one season removed from a National Championship.

In the second year of Dennis Erikson’s run as head coach, Miami featured QB Gino Toretta (who would win the 1992 Heisman Trophy), future NFL linebacker Jessie Armstead, future No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick, defensive tackle Russel Maryland, and another defensive tackle named Dwayne Johnson long before anyone knew him as “The Rock”.

Two years later, Oklahoma would visit Lubbock ranked No. 15 in the nation.  In the season opener, the then Big 8 Conference member would have no issue with Tech in a 34-9 romp.  Though the Sooners would not end the season as a ranked team that year, their appearance at Jones Stadium was one of the more intriguing non-con matchups of the Dykes era.

Another legendary team that paid a non-con visit to Jones Stadium was the 1994 Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Ending the year as the undefeated national champions, Tom Osborne’s team featured future All-American QB Tommie Frazier and dynamic running back Lawrence Phillips.  That duo powered their team to a 42-16 win in Lubbock in week two.

During the Mike Leach era, the two most notable teams to play non-conference games in Lubbock were Ole Miss (quarterbacked by Eli Manning) and N.C. State in 2002 (quarterbacked by Phillip Rivers).  Tech would beat the Rebels 42-28 in game three of the season but would fall to the No. 17 Wolfpack 51-48 in overtime a week later.

Since then, the only non-con Power 5 teams that have come to Lubbock have been Arkansas in 2014 and Arizona State in 2017.  Arizona was supposed to come to Lubbock in 2020 but the game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means that it has been six years since a non-conference matchup featuring a Power 5 team has been played in Lubbock.  It’s no wonder that this is the most anticipated home game of the season and one that has been sold out for weeks.

Like many of the other big-time non-con opponents mentioned above, this Oregon team has plenty of star power.  So let’s take a look at some names that Red Raider fans should know as we turn our focus to one of the most anticipated home games in program history.

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