Texas Tech quarterback Steven Sheffield called it a “game-time decision.”
Red Raider coach Mike Leach wouldn’t even go that far, saying he made the call on giving Sheffield the starting nod over Taylor Potts “when I decided. That’s in-house stuff.”
Regardless of when the decision was made, at least Saturday afternoon, it seemed to be the right one for Texas Tech.
And it didn’t take Sheffield long to make his mark on the 31-10 win against Nebraska and help prove Leach right. He led Tech on a nine-play, 80-yard drive to open the game, giving the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead.
It was a drive Leach and Sheffield both credited for changing the complexion of the whole game.
“He went out there and elevated his level of play, marched down there and scored. That electrified the whole defense. The entire offense for sure. And, I think, our team,” Leach said of his sophomore quarterback. “Offensively and defensively, that really elevated our play.”
Despite being sacked five times and hurried on several other occasions, all Sheffield did in his second career start was connect on 23 of 32 attempts with one touchdown and no interceptions. He added two more touchdowns on the ground.
The stats were not lost on Leach, all things considered.
“He got a lot of pressure and he generated some for himself, too. He’d go back there and run in a circle then look up and there was two guys there. I wasn’t really cranked about that. I wanted him to throw the ball and hit some fat guy in the stands. But, that didn’t consistently happen. We had a conversation on that,” Leach said.
“He’s kind of wet behind the ears, all things considered. This is the second game he’s started and it’s Nebraska. Nebraska is a place people dream about and read about.”
But all the Nebraska stuff seemed lost on Sheffield.
“I just found out after the game that Nebraska was the second-best (scoring) defense in the county. I had no idea about that, but they played like it. They have quite a team. They played solid the whole game, but we played well and things came out well for us,” Sheffield said. “When you work hard, you need to expect good results. You have to go out there expecting not to fail.”