The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2017.12.06

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A-J Media’s Don Williams writes about how the team took Cameron Batson’s words to heart after the TCU loss. This is really good stuff from Williams and the kind of leader Batson is:

“We didn’t play well at all,” Batson said Tuesday. “I just stood up in front of the team and asked them, ‘Just give it your all one more time. It’s the last time I’ll be able to play for Texas Tech, so I want to go out with a win, want to go out on top.’ That was my message to those guys.”

Tech’s coming through as a 10-point underdog at Texas enabled the Red Raiders to finish the regular season 6-6 and qualify for a bowl. They’ll play No. 23 South Florida (9-2) at 11 a.m. Dec. 23 in the Birmingham Bowl.

Batson said his message was received the right way.

“We took it to heart,” safety Jah’Shawn Johnson said. “He shed a few tears. We knew it was his senior day and we didn’t perform well. It was the last time for those guys to be out there in the Jones, and we didn’t give him our best performance, so he challenged us to give it all we had that week in practice and go out and do what you’ve got to do to get the win for that game.”

RedRaiderSports’ Brandon Soliz recaps the media availability with IR Cam Batson, OL Paul Stawarz, S Jah’Shawn Johnson and DT Mych Thomas. Here’s a bit:

– Thomas’ connection goes in the direction of family. His grandfather was born and raised in Birmingham before moving to Dallas and meeting Thomas’ grandmother.

– Thomas said it’s an honor to play his final game in the red and black in the city his grandfather was from.

– “It’s a blessing. My grandpa passed away three years ago so just to finish it off in his hometown is a blessing,” Thomas said. “He was kind of like my best friend. I could tell him anything. He taught me mostly everything since I’ve been growing up so it means a lot to finish it off in his home city.”

Sports On Earth’s Matt Brown ranks all 39 college bowl games and has USF vs. Texas Tech at #14:

Charlie Strong has vastly improved South Florida’s defense, as the Bulls jumped from 76th to 12th in yards per play allowed in his first season. However, they’ve also had to defend few dangerous offenses, so it’s reasonable to expect an entertaining, high-scoring game in Birmingham this year. This is the Bulls’ second straight trip to the bowl after they beat South Carolina 46-39 in overtime last year. Now, they’ll face the pass-happy Texas Tech attack, which took down Texas in the season finale to get to six wins and bowl eligibility, ensuring that Kliff Kingsbury would stay on as head coach.

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