Jett Duffey is a new breed of quarterback for Texas Tech, but will he lead the Red Raiders going forward?

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FORT WORTH – Among the Kliff Kingsbury quarterbacks Thursday at Amon Carter Stadium were Jett Duffey, McLane Carter and Alan Bowman, who arrived by land, as well as Johnny Manziel, from Canada. Coach Cool didn’t get anything Heisman-like or even Raider-like from his quarterbacks, for that matter, yet it was still good enough for a 17-14 win over TCU.

Caveat: Granted, the Raiders mostly plowed straight ahead against Lamar, but when it’s 77-0, everyone’s just trying to get it over with and go home.

Duffey, making his first start Thursday, demonstrated a decidedly different kind of Raider quarterback: He ran (16 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown) as effectively as he threw (13-of-24 for 190 yards and a touchdown).

Frankly, this isn’t the kind of stat line we’ve grown accustomed to from Tech this century.

But it just might have given Kingsbury a leg up on consecutive bowls for the first time in his six-year tenure, not to mention a shot at gainful employment.

“I’m really proud of Jett,” Kingsbury said. “That’s a hard situation. First start. Dig deep, be mentally tough enough to handle that. Make enough plays to win the game.

“I can’t say enough about his mental toughness.”

The Raiders’ heretofore underachieving defense helped, too. Going into this season, David Gibbs’ bunch returned 10 starters and one of the most experienced two-deeps in the Big 12. All it meant until Thursday was a ranking of dead last in the Big 12.

On the Frogs’ final play, though, Tech pressured TCU’s Shawn Robinson into a crazed, back-and-forth sprint across midfield that ended with the football slipping out of his hand and into the clutches of Tech’s Adrian Frye.

Officially, it went down as an interception. Also an ender for TCU, now 3-3 and spiraling.

Tech, 4-2, took advantage of three TCU turnovers, a plague for the Frogs this season, and has now won four of its last five games.

Not a moment too soon, either, because after Kansas next week in Lubbock, the Raiders travel to Ames for Iowa State; play Oklahoma and Texas at home; go on the road to Kansas State; and finish at JerryWorld against Baylor.

By my count, that’s one gimme (Kansas), three uphill efforts (Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas) and two coin flips (Kansas State and Baylor).

Of course, if the Big 12 has taught us anything this year, it’s that there are no absolutes. Just the same, two more wins and Tech goes bowling again.

Now the question is: Who’s the quarterback from here on out?

Before Duffey pulled out Thursday’s win, you wouldn’t have figured he might be in the running. His inability to properly pick up the pieces after McLane Carter was injured in the opener led to the startling debut of Bowman, a freshman from Grapevine who passed for 1,284 yards and nine touchdowns in three starts before suffering a collapsed lung against West Virginia.

Bowman’s injury was so daunting, he wasn’t even allowed to fly to Fort Worth for the game.

A four-and-a-half-hour drive is a long haul only to end up standing around and clapping.

Last time we saw Duffey, in relief of Bowman against West Virginia, he threw two interceptions, including a pick-six in a 42-34 loss. He added another interception Thursday. Even sat out the opening series of the second half after generating only a field goal in the first.

Kingsbury gave Carter exactly one series to see if he could make something happen, then went back to Duffey.

The sophomore from Mansfield Lake Ridge isn’t what you’d call a disciplined passer. But it would have been hard to miss Ja’Deion High running alone in the middle of the field for a 62-yard touchdown in the third quarter. As for the rest, Duffey used his feet.

His spinning, 38-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw with 7:02 left in the game gave Tech the lead for good.

Generally speaking, any Tech team goes only so far as its quarterback takes it. The last time Kingsbury entertained viable options during the season, it wasn’t long before Oklahoma, Cal and Virginia Tech ended up with some pretty fair quarterbacks.

Of course, the difference between Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb and Michael Brewer, as opposed to the current crop of Tech quarterbacks, has yet to be determined.

After the game, Kingsbury said they’d have a better idea Sunday if Bowman will be available for Kansas. Bet that when he’s ready, he’ll be the starter. If nothing else, though, Duffey showed Thursday he can fill in.

Even when you’ve proven you only need one quarterback, doesn’t hurt to have a couple.

Twitter: @KSherringtonDMN

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Source : https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/collegesports/2018/10/11/jett-duffey-new-breed-quarterback-texas-tech-will-lead-red-raiders-going-forward