Texas Tech ended a five-game losing streak Monday night with an impressive 37-23 upset of 14th-ranked Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. Here are three initial thoughts from the game:
1. Davis Webb appears to be Tech’s future at QB: The Red Raiders have been a revolving door at quarterback all season. First, Baker Mayfield. Then Webb. Then Mayfield again, with a dash of Michael Brewer. But in San Diego, Webb made a compelling case that he’s Tech’s future at the position. Against one of the better defenses in college football, Webb was pretty much flawless, completing 28 of 41 passes for 403 three yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers. Webb was especially deadly on third down, as Tech converted 9 of 16 attempts to keep the chains moving all night. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said afterward that Webb had battled to separate himself all year. Monday, that’s exactly what he did. Kingsbury clearly went into the game with a plan to rotate Webb and Brewer. But after a few plays, Kingsbury had to scrap that plan because of the way Webb was dealing. Webb has had some ups and downs as a true freshman, but the body of work really looks impressive. He tossed the game-winning touchdown against TCU. Rallied the Red Raiders to victory at West Virginia. Played well in a tough loss at Oklahoma. Monday, he was dominant. And even though Mayfield is gone, the Red Raiders, thanks to Webb, still appear to be in good shape at quarterback going forward.
2. The offseason tenor around the program will be different: This is a victory that should do wonders for momentum in Lubbock. Nobody will be focused on the program's five-game losing streak to end the regular season anymore. Instead, the focus will be on this breakout performance. This should boost the Red Raiders in recruiting and give the team a positive vibe heading into next year. With several up-and-coming players, this is a team that could do some damage in the Big 12 in 2014. Especially if Webb continues to develop.
3. The Big 12 is very alive for a winning bowl record: To have a chance at a winning bowl record, the Big 12 needed one of its three two-touchdown underdogs to pull off an upset. With Tech blasting Arizona State, a winning record is now feasible. All the league needs now is Baylor to hold serve against Central Florida in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Oklahoma State to win a virtual toss-up game with Missouri in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. That would give the Big 12 at worst a 4-2 bowl record, which would be a very solid mark for a league that was favored in only two bowl games.