Kliff Kingsbury started the year as college football’s young head coaching prodigy and he’ll end the season with the same title after his Red Raiders defeated Arizona State 37-23 in the Holiday Bowl.
Kingsbury, who called Tech’s offensive plays, matched wits with Arizona State coach Todd Graham, who called his team’s defensive plays, and won the battle. The Red Raiders’ offensive line picked up the Sun Devils defensive pressure while allowing quarterback Davis Webb to complete 28-of-41 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns. All of Webb’s touchdowns came in the first half as the freshman was named the game’s offensive MVP.
It was a positive ending for Kingsbury and his Red Raiders, who started the season 7-0 before going 0-5 late thanks to a backloaded Big 12 slate. The Red Raiders were so bad in the final five weeks of the season that they came into the Holiday Bowl a two-touchdown underdog. And that made sense considering Arizona State played for the Pac-12 title.
Perhaps the Sun Devils' loss to Stanford – and a trip to the Rose Bowl – played into their performance against Texas Tech. It might have been difficult for the Sun Devils to get excited about playing in San Diego when they wanted to be up the road in Pasadena. That’s the easy explanation for Arizona State’s lackluster and often disjointed performance. Not only did the Sun Devils make mistakes and trip themselves up throughout the game, they were constantly a step behind Texas Tech, which just looked faster and better coached.
The win gives Texas Tech it’s second consecutive 8-5 season and it also gives the Red Raiders and its young coach as nice springboard into 2014.
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- Kliff Kingsbury