How Kliff Kingsbury Has Put Texas Tech into the Thick of Big 12, BCS Picture

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 19, 2013

Tommy Tuberville didn't fit in well during his three years at Texas Tech, but he didn't leave the cupboard empty for his successor, Kliff Kingsbury, either. 

Now, the Red Raiders are enjoying the fruits of Tuberville's recruiting labor. Following a 37-27 win over West Virginia, Texas Tech is 7-0 and in good position to be part of the Big 12 title conversation, heading into the final stretch of the season. 

The Red Raiders certainly have the talent. Tech's defense is statistically one of the best in the Big 12, and the offense is coming together thanks to an unlikely combination of skilled veteran guys and new faces. 

Tight end Jace Amaro had nine catches for 136 and a pair of touchdowns against WVU. The fact that he's not on the Mackey Award watch list is nothing short of a crime. He's not just the best tight end in the Big 12, he's the best wide receiver. 

Junior Bradley Marquez has been another reliable receiving option for the Red Raiders opposite Amaro and senior Eric Ward. Though Tech doesn't run the ball much, running backs Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington were able to grind out yards when they needed to in the fourth quarter. 

Getting the ball to those targets over the past two weeks has been freshman Davis Webb, who has been filling in for the injured Baker Mayfield. Webb's 462 yards passing against WVU were the most by a Texas Tech quarterback playing on the road since Graham Harrell threw for 466 yards at Texas in 2007. 

Kingsbury has done nothing but win with two freshman quarterbacks this season. What's more is Kingsbury refuses to treat them like freshmen or coddle them along until they get a better grasp of the offense.

From the moment Mayfield took the field against SMU in Week 1, Kingsbury has shown the utmost confidence in his players. He's unleashed the talent that's been in Lubbock all along but may not have been as explosive under Tuberville.  

That confidence showed up in a different way against West Virginia. Up 13-0 early in the second quarter, Tech allowed WVU to go on a 27-3 run that gave the Mountaineers an 11-point lead. But Tech then went on a 21-0 run of its own over the final 18 minutes to lock down the victory. 

WVU may struggle to get to a bowl game this year, but Mountaineer Field was as electrifying as it has been all year. Winning on the road has proven to be hard to do in the Big 12 in 2013, but it's evident that Kingsbury's composure in hostile environments has rubbed off on his players, even when they're not playing sharp.  

Tech will need that confidence heading into the final five games of the season. That stretch, which includes games against Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas, will continue to test just how good this Tech team is.  

Get through that slate with the help of some other upsets around college football, and bigger goals could be on the horizon for Texas Tech. 

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