It had been almost two years since Seth Doege made his last start at quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
But last Saturday, the junior from Wolfforth stepped back onto the field of Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock at the helm of the Texas Tech offense and looked to continue the streak of Red Raider quarterbacks with big passing numbers.
Completing 23 of his 33 passes for 326 yards and two TDs, Doege led the Red Raiders to a 50-10 victory over the Texas State Bobcats on Saturday during his first full game as the Texas Tech starting QB.
“I just saw in his eyes, he was a little bit nervous,” Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said about Doege’s performance against Texas State. “But you would be, too.”
Despite the nerves, Doege completed nine passes of 20 yards or more — including a 41-yard toss to junior receiver Darrin Moore in the first quarter — and avoided any turnovers.
“I thought he kept his composure fine. Made some great, long throws and thought he did a good job and pulled the ball down a couple times and ran it when he needed to,” Tuberville said. “Again, he’s a first-year player. So we’ll get better as we go. We just have to have some luck.”
Although Doege had a solid showing and led the Red Raiders to a win over the Bobcats, he has a long way to go to match the career performances of past Texas Tech quarterbacks such as Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell.
In his four years for the Red Raiders, Kingsbury threw for 12,429 yards including 95 TDs and a completion percentage of 65.4. Graham Harrell, who is now a backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, threw for a school record 15,793 yards and 134 TDs with a completion percentage of 69.2.
Unlike Doege, Kingsbury and Harrell both started three of their four years at quarterback and each ran the Texas Tech offense under former head coach Mike Leach — a coach known for his love of the passing game.
In their first games as starting QB for the Red Raider offense, Kingsbury threw for 492 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-28 win over Oklahoma in 1999, while Harrell threw for 342 yards and 5 TDs to give Texas Tech a 35-3 victory over SMU in 2006.
Despite the pressure to live up to his predecessors, Doege said the pressure didn’t get to him during Saturday’s game against the Bobcats.
“I never felt rattled,” Doege said. “Maybe the first drive I was a little anxious, but overall I felt calm the entire game. Once we started making some plays, got the ball rolling, things started clicking for us.”
During his first start as a Red Raider in 2009, Doege — then a redshirt freshman — threw for 159 yards, completing 14 of his 28 passes during his one half of play against Kansas. Doege then spent the next two years on the bench behind quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, appearing in only two games in 2010 and throwing four passes for a combined 58 yards.
Although Doege won’t have to wait two years again to get his next start, he will have to wait one more week as the Red Raiders have a bye week before they face New Mexico on Sept. 17.
“When I first got here, I hadn’t played in a while and I was a little bit insecure about things, and now that the new coaching staff has come along they have really brought me a long way from where I was at the beginning,” Doege said. “They have really helped me mature and bring confidence to my game.”