LUBBOCK — It's been quite an emotional roller coaster for Texas Tech and head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Maybe it's only fitting that Saturday's win over No. 12 Missouri was also quite the emotional roller coaster for fans, players and coaches — especially considering the involvement all week with the Wounded Warrior Project, hearing stories from wounded soldiers to help give some new perspective on college football for these young guys.
And just as the prices on the game-worn camouflage jerseys began to soar Monday morning in an online auction to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, so did the Red Raiders' hopes and chances of making their eleventh consecutive bowl game.
"Whether it's a turnaround or not, we found a way to win, and we caught up and then we got ahead and we kept the lead," Tuberville said about the win over Mizzou. "There's been four other times this year where we got behind, we tied it up and weren't able to finish it off. So, hopefully this gives us a little confidence."
But most realize that Tech (5-4, 3-4 Big 12) will need more than just confidence when it steps on the field Saturday with No. 16 Oklahoma (7-2, 5-2) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium — a place Tech has failed to win at since 1996, when the two teams met for the first time in Big12 Conference play.
And few can forget the massacre in 2008 that left an undefeated, No. 2 Tech team stunned while Oklahoma ran away with the chance at a national title in the 65-21 blowout.
Its just one of many games that has been painful for Red Raider fans when they think about the six trips to Norman since the win in 1996. In fact, Tech has not won a game in Oklahoma against the Sooners or Cowboys since 2001 when Tech beat Oklahoma State, 49-30.
At least now it appears that Tech has its quarterback situation under control this week after Taylor Potts rescued Tech from a 14-point deficit on Saturday to lead the Red Raiders on three consecutive scoring drives and a 24-17 win. Potts finished with 188 yards and three touchdowns.
When asked about the QB controversy maybe finally coming to a close, Potts simply said, "Yeah, it's nice."
Tuberville said Steven Sheffield, who started his first game on Saturday but was held to just 99 yards on 11 of 20 passing in the first 25 minutes, should not feel like that is the last time he will play this season.
"He worked hard during practice and played fairly well the week before, but if you go back and look, I knew we were going to get their best shot the first quarter, and he got the brunt of it," Tuberville said. "Their defense was fresh and they were coming after us. There were times his inexperience, just this year of not holding the pocket, probably hurt him a little bit."
"… He will continue to play, but it is obvious that Taylor came in and earned his spot back after being on the bench for a little bit."
A win on Saturday would make the Red Raiders bowl eligible for a record 17th consecutive season with non-conference games remaining at home against Weber State (Nov. 20) and Houston (Nov. 27).
Tuberville not only knows the importance of the game for this season and the team's bowl chances but also what it means to players like senior defensive lineman Colby Whitlock (an Oklahoma native) and other who there for that painful loss in 2008.
"We want it to be an experience that they remember for a long time, not just a game," Tuberville said. "We want all the players that play with them to understand how important it is to them."