LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech senior place kicker Jonathan Garibay and redshirt freshman quarterback Donovan Smith were both recognized with Big 12 weekly awards Monday after helping push the Red Raiders to a thrilling 41-38 victory over Iowa State.
Garibay was tabbed the conference’s top special teams performer for the second time this season and the third time in his career as he was previously honored following each of his other two game-winning field goals, which came earlier this year at West Virginia and in 2020 after a win over Baylor. He is only the second Red Raider in program history to garner Special Teams Player of the Week honors three times in a career, joining Wes Welker, who earned the accolade four different times over his Hall of Fame career from 2000-03.
Garibay connected on a pair of field goals against the Cyclones, none more important than his 62-yarder as time expired, sending the Red Raiders to their sixth win of the season to reach bowl eligibility for the 39th time. It marked the longest field goal by a FBS kicker this season as Garibay is now 12-for-12 on attempts, making him one of only five kickers nationally that remain perfect on the year.
His final kick placed Garibay not only in the Texas Tech record book but among the all-time greats in Big 12 and FBS history. The kick snapped Texas Tech’s longtime school record for longest field goal, which was previously a 57-yarder by Bill Adams against Texas A&M in 1977. The Lou Groza Award semifinalist matched the second-longest kick in Big 12 history as it was only the fourth successful try of 60 yards or longer all-time among conference kickers. In addition, it was the longest for a kicker all-time in a game between two Big 12 schools.
Since the NCAA quit allowing the use of kicking tee on field goal or extra point attempts in 1988, only five other FBS kickers have found the uprights from 62 yards or longer, a list that includes Kansas State’s Martin Gramatica against Northern Illinois in 1998 (65 yards), UTEP’s Jose Martinez versus UCF in 2008 (64 yards), Wisconsin’s Zach Hintze in 2019 against Purdue (62 yards), Washington State’s Jason Hanson against UNLV in 1991 (62 yards) and Terance Kitchens of Texas A&M in a 1999 game against Southern Miss (62 yards). It is the longest game-winning field goal all-time in FBS history where a kicking tee was not used.
Smith, meanwhile, was dominant behind center en route to being tabbed the league’s top newcomer for the first time in his career. In only his first career start, Smith completed 25-of-32 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns as he found Erik Ezukanma twice on scoring strikes and then Myles Price for one other in a strong debut.
The freshman became the ninth Red Raider since 1999 to throw for at least 300 yards in his starting debut, joining a list that includes Nic Shimnek, Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield, Steven Sheffield, Taylor Potts, Graham Harrell, Cody Hodges and his offensive coordinator and head coach Sonny Cumbie. Of that group, only Sheffield (2009 vs. Kansas State) and Webb (2013 versus Iowa State) were able to do so against a Big 12 foe.
Smith’s 322 passing yards ranked second only to Webb’s 415 yards and three touchdowns among freshmen who were making their first career starts in a Big 12 contest. Smith was the seventh freshman to earn the start at quarterback since 1999 and the fifth to do so in a conference matchup as the Red Raiders are now 4-1 in those games.
Cumbie has already declared Smith as Texas Tech’s starter leading up to Saturday’s primetime tilt between the Red Raiders and No. 9 Oklahoma State. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday night inside Jones AT&T Stadium with coverage provided on FOX and the Texas Tech Sports Network.
Release courtesy of Matt Dowdy Texas Tech Athletics