LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Tyler Shough didn't expect to be Texas Tech's quarterback long enough to face his former team.
Yet here he is, in his sixth season of college football, having just become the fifth Red Raiders QB since 1980 to start three consecutive openers, set to face No. 13 Oregon (1-0) in the home opener Saturday night.
When Shough left the Ducks before the 2021 season, he thought it would be one year in Lubbock before entering the NFL.
Now he has a master's degree from Texas Tech (0-1) to go with the undergraduate degree following three seasons in Eugene.
And no, he didn't decide to make it three seasons in Lubbock as well because of what he saw on the 2023 schedule.
“I didn’t even realize it,” Shough said. “Obviously, I didn’t really look too far in the future. It was more on, like, draft rankings, stuff like that, whether I can come out. And personally, I wanted to come back and play with my teammates and put a whole year together.”
Injuries changed the original plan, with shoulder issues shortening both of his first two seasons at Texas Tech.
Shough, who turns 24 late this month, didn't even make it through the opener last season, so despite a 35-33 double-overtime loss at Wyoming, there was a silver lining of Shough staying healthy, not to mention throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns.
Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire checked with Shough before making him a captain this week, wanting to make sure it didn't add to an already elevated degree of anticipation. But McGuire isn't much worried about that, either.
“He's an older guy, so I think he understands,” McGuire said. “You've just got to understand it's about us. So if you focus on them, that allows you to take away from what you need to really get better at.”
McGuire also noted the roster turnover at Oregon, which is a given just about anywhere in the era of the transfer portal. The Ducks also have a different coach, with Dan Lanning replacing Mario Cristobal last season. There are a few holdovers from the Shough days, though.
“Tyler is my boy,” said cornerback Dontae Manning, who was a freshman in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Shough's last out West. “It’s nothing but a little family reunion. That’s all it is.”
DON'T FORGET THE OTHER QB
Oregon's Bo Nix is the more celebrated of the two under center. The Auburn transfer is entering his third season with the Ducks after three in Alabama.
Nix, also 23 but five months younger than Shough, is coming off a 23-of-27 showing for 287 yards and three touchdowns in an 81-7 victory over Portland State. It was the most points for an FBS school since Texas Tech lost at TCU 82-27 in 2014.
“A lot of new guys and guys who weren’t with us last year, you get to see how they respond to a competitive environment like that,” Nix said. “I thought we did a good job of playing clean.”
Nix is the active leader among FBS quarterbacks with 48 career starts and third with 11,131 yards passing. He has 71 TD tosses to go with 1,379 yards and 32 scores rushing.
CHECK THOSE TARGETS
Texas Tech receiver Jerand Bradley has a career-high eight catches in three consecutive games going back to last season. The sophomore is averaging 116 yards receiving in that stretch.
Troy Franklin and Gary Bryant Jr. had nearly identical numbers for the Ducks in the blowout of Portland State. Both had seven catches and two touchdowns. Franklin had 106 yards to Bryant's 100.
The Ducks won both games in a home-and-home series in 1991-92 in the only other meetings. The schools are scheduled to complete the same double in Eugene next year, when Oregon makes its move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE
Texas Tech is facing a stiff challenge to extend a school-record streak of 23 consecutive victories in home openers. Coming off a loss that ended their 34-game winning streak against nonconference opponents outside the so-called Power Five, the Red Raiders are trying to avoid a 0-2 start. It would be their first since 1990.
VIDEO GAME NUMBERS
Oregon set a modern school scoring record against Portland State, and the margin of victory (74) was its largest since 1916. It was the first 80-point game by an FBS team since 2015, when UNLV beat Idaho State 80-8.
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