Expectations for the Texas Tech football team will be at a new place entering the 2023 season. That is directly due to the vast turnaround head coach Joey McGuire performed in his debut season as the Red Raider’s new leader. Sure, there are some games Red Raider fans would care to forget from this past season. However, those salty losses are more than balanced out with plenty of sweet victories. Ranking Texas Tech 2022 wins left two specific games standing alone in their own special tier.
Ranking Texas Tech 2022 Wins
8. Murray State
It is always good to start the season 1-0. But when it came to ranking Texas Tech 2022 wins, this one stood no chance of being anything but last place. A 63-10 beat down of the Racers didn’t tell us anything about what was coming this season. Sure, Texas Tech had struggled against FCS opponents the previous two seasons. But this game was never in doubt and felt like nothing more than an NFL team winning a preseason game.
7. West Virginia
In another game that was never in doubt, the Red Raiders disposed of the Mountaineers by a score of 48-10. The defense caused a bunch of turnovers. Zach Kittley’s offense was cooking all game. This was the first game off of the Red Raider’s bye week, so it felt like it was a good momentum builder for a run in the second half of the year. They ultimately hit a speed bump against Baylor, but it was a good sign of growth for Texas Tech to handle a team that missed out on bowl season.
6. Iowa State
The Cyclones had been a boogeyman to the Red Raiders in recent years. Even in the 2021 season, it took a historical kick to defeat them. Texas Tech had not beaten Iowa State in Ames since 2014. And if we would have polled fans prior to the game if they thought 14 points would be enough to beat them, most would not have been very confident. But, in a vastly different-looking game than what the Red Raiders played in all year, Texas Tech finally got an elusive win in Ames by the score of 14-10. Iowa State had one of the best defense’s in the entire country, so seeing the Red Raider defense respond to the challenge had to feel good to the fan base.
The first bowl team appears on this list, and to the surprise of most, it was the Kansas Jayhawks. By the time the Jayhawks came to Lubbock, some of their shine had dulled due to Jalon Daniels’ injury. Nonetheless, this was a spot that previous Red Raider teams would have found a way to trip over. However, this team once again showed how much it grew in one season under McGuire with a commanding 43-28 victory over Kansas. This was the start of what would be a four-game winning streak to close out the season.
At the time, Houston was everyone’s Group of Five darlings. They were ranked in the top 25 when they came to Lubbock in week two. Could this be the game where Tech learns just how much farther they have to go to get back to relevancy in the Big 12? Quarterback Tyler Shough was out with an injury and it was up to Donovan Smith to keep the ship afloat. Smith was up to the challenge as the Red Raiders took down Houston 33-30 in overtime. It wasn’t the cleanest game the Red Raiders played this year (three interceptions thrown by Smith). But the resiliency of this team gave the fan base a much-needed dose of genuine optimism. Suddenly, after this win, just about anything felt possible for the rest of the season.
3. Ole Miss
How does the saying go? It just means more in the SEC, except when their teams play in non-NY6 bowl games. Ole Miss looked like an undisciplined team that was supposed to be the more physical team behind their up-tempo rushing attack. Instead, it was Texas Tech who took the fight to the Rebels and controlled the Texas Bowl. A 42-25 victory over an SEC opponent was a great exclamation point to for McGuire’s first season as the head man in Lubbock.
Season ticket holders got their money’s worth this year. And while a 6-1 home campaign would excite any fan base, Red Raider fans were treated to lots of extra football. In what was their third overtime game of the year, Texas Tech and Oklahoma find themselves in a good ol’ fashion Big 12 shootout. When the dust settled, and Trey Wolff hit another game-winning overtime field goal, Texas Tech closed out the regular season with a 51-48 win over Oklahoma. The Red Raiders found themselves down 17-0 to start the game. But that same grittiness the team displayed all year was on display as the team never packed it in. No, Oklahoma was not what they had been the last decade. But it had been a full decade since the Red Raiders had beaten the Sooners. This win made their all-time record against Oklahoma 7-23. In most years, this would have ranked number one in regular season wins. It did, in fact, secure a first in program history.
Of course, program history cannot be achieved without the best victory of the 2022 season. Week four of the season had the Red Raiders opening Big 12 play against the rival Texas Longhorns. In what became an eerily similar script in their best victories, Texas Tech fell behind by two scores to their in-state rivals. The Longhorns appeared they were done being a program that collapse in moments it shouldn’t. Apparently, coach McGuire saw something different and (we later found out) told his team that at halftime. Sure enough, Texas did break and Red Raiders mounted a comeback for the season.
After going for it on fourth down eight times in the game, and converting six of them, Texas Tech did enough to secure a 37-34 victory in overtime. It was the first time in program history the Red Raiders have ever defeated Oklahoma and Texas in the same season. This also resulted in Texas Tech going 3-0 against the SEC/future SEC members this year. In a year with lots of success on-field and off (top 25 recruiting class), no victory tasted better than when the Red Raiders took Bevo to the grill.