Texas Tech kicks off the 2014 season under the bright lights of Jones AT&T Stadium 6 p.m. Saturday against Central Arkansas. Kliff Kingsbury challenged students to show why ESPN voted Texas Tech as the best student section in the Big 12 and fill all 12,577 seats for the home opener.
The Red Raiders and the Bears will be meeting for the first time in history on Saturday. Central Arkansas joined the Southland Conference in 2007 and has won two conference titles since then. Texas Tech is 17-1 against FCS opponents and has won the last 21 home openers.
One major thing the Red Raiders and the Bears have in common is fresh coaching. This is Steve Campbell’s first season as the head coach for Central Arkansas. Previously Campbell was the head coach for 10 years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Campbell brought with him seven new assistant coaches, while the previous special teams coach (Dan Augustine) and offensive coordinator (Nathan Brown) remain. The 2014 season marks a new era for UCA and Texas Tech continues its second year under head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
According to the Southland Preseason Coaches Poll many believe in the new Campbell era because the Bears are ranked number four of 11 teams. Last year pre-Kingsbury era Texas Tech was ranked seventh in the Big 12 Media preseason poll. This year the Red Raiders moved up to No. 6 and are still receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Poll. Central Arkansas has received seven votes in the FCS Coaches Poll and 36 in the Sports Network Poll.
CONWAY, AR Vs. LUBBOCK, TX
To put in perspective how small the home of Central Arkansas is all you have to do is double Texas Tech’s student population of 33,111 and you have approximately the town of Conway, Arkansas. If every single one of the 11,444 Central Arkansas students came to the Jones they could not fill up the student section. You can find the small town close knit fan base at both UCA and Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders and the Bears are both fairly young teams yet full of expectations. 57.1 percent of Texas Tech’s roster consists of freshman and sophomores.. Central Arkansas’ roster is made up of about 60 percent. Young players to watch on Saturday are Texas Tech’s Tevin Madison, a freshman starting at corner, freshman Cameron Batson leading the punt returns and UCA’s starting freshman receiver Desmond Smith.
5 Cool Facts: Central Arkansas
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