Stephens Goes Down

Eric Stephens goes down with an apparent knee injury and could be out for a while. Coaches and players react to the injury following the 45-40 loss to the Aggies.

A moment, a single moment can change the path of a game or even a career.

For Eric Stephens, a junior running back, had been having a good night against the Aggies going for 103 yards on 22 carries, until a collision.

Seth Doege, on a first and goal at the five-yard line of Texas A&M, tried to get a pass to Stephens but it fell incomplete, but it's what happened after that that silenced Jones AT&T Stadium.

Stephens and Texas A&M Damontre Moore collided going for the football, and instantly everyone in the stadium knew something was wrong as neither player got up immediately.

Moore was eventually able to go off the field with some help from trainers turning then all the focus onto Stephens, who remained on the ground and surrounded by training staff.

After a few minutes the worst fear of fans came true as the cart started rolling onto the field to remove Stephens and take him to get further treatment.

"Eric Stephens is huge," Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He's a guy that brings a lot of leadership, he comes to practice everyday and works hard. You need an older guy like that for the younger guys to follow. We've got a lot of young guys and he was a great example for them.

"What can you say about Eric (Stephens), he was on his way to being over a 1,000 yards and having a good night."

While Stephens was on the cart the fans starting chanting his name and instead of "Raider Power" ringing through the stadium it was "Eric Stephens" as he left the Jones with an apparent knee injury.

For Doege losing Stephens in the backfield was a huge loss on the evening as already the Red Raiders were down a wide receiver in Darrin Moore.

But now with Stephens out for at least the next couple games or possibly for the season, Doege said this is a team game just because one guy goes down doesn't mean it's all over but it still hurts.

"Eric's been a huge part of our offense, obviously he's been very productive," he said. "He's maybe the best offensive player we have on this team. He's a great guy, a great leader. It's going to hurt, but at the same time we're gonna have to find some guys that want to step up and fill that void. It's going to be hard to do because he's such a great player.
"I wish him the best, I'll be praying for him, I know the rest of the team is feeling the same way, but at the same time a couple of guys are going to have to step up."

Having to step up in the role of the running back is now going to fall to a different number of guys including DeAndre Washington and Aaron Crawford, freshman and a senior.

"Really, I'm not really just thinking about that right now," Crawford said. "I'm confident to do what I have to do. You would hate to see it in a situation like that, because god forbid anybody gets hurt. I'm very confident in my ability, I've been around for five years, and I've played around a bunch of great players, played against some great players. I feel like I'm up to the challenge."

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