A Look Back.....1973

Each week throughout the football season, RaiderPower.com will take a look back at one of the great games from Texas Tech's past. This week we head back to 1973, where the Red Raiders and head coach Jim Carlen faced off against the SMU Mustangs in Lubbock, TX.

Expectations were riding high with sophomore noseguard, Ecomet Burley and running back George Smith, returning for another year. The season started on the right foot as Lawrence Williams took the opening kickoff against University of Utah 95 yards for a touchdown.

Tech started the 1973 season 5-1, with wins over Utah (29-11), New Mexico (41-7), Oklahoma State (20-7), Texas A&M (28-16), and Arizona (31-17). The sole loss was a 28-12 affair against the Longhorns.

Week 7 would bring the SMU Mustangs to Lubbock to face Jim Carlen's Red Raiders. On a cool West Texas October evening, Joe Barnes reeled off 173 yards rushing and 56 yards passing to break Tech's career offense total. A certain irony was in the air, as the former Tech quarterback that held the record, Tom Wilson, was the offensive coordinator.

The mighty Tech offense amassed 462 yards of total offense, with big contributions coming from the slick quarterback, Joe Barnes and a young freshman running back who would later write his name in many record books…Larry Isaac.  Andre Tillman, who would be named an All-American tight end at the end of the season, also did some damage with a 50 yard reception from the former all state quarterback turned flanker, Lawrence Williams, to set up Tech's 3rd touchdown of the day. 

    TE Andre Tillman

The Red Raiders finished off the Mustangs to the tune of 31-14 and gave the faithful fans high hopes for what could come of the remainder of the season. The victory over SMU pushed the Red Raiders to a 6-1 mark on the season and 2-1 in conference play.

Before the season, few would have been able to predict that 1973 would soon become the best football year in the history of Tech football. Tech reeled off victories against Rice (19-6), TCU (24-10), Baylor (55-24) and Arkansas (24-17) to finish the regular season 10-1 and a berth in the Gator Bowl against Tennessee. Team captains: Joe Barnes, James Mosley, and Danny Willis led their troops to a 28-19 victory over the Volunteers to secure a final tally of 11-1.

Ah yes, 1973 would go down in history for the Red Raiders.

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