LUBBOCK -- Heisman Trophy voters probably needed no introduction to Graham Harrell before the season started.
The Texas Tech quarterback had produced Heisman-like numbers for two years, just like his predecessors in coach Mike Leach's
The numbers are similar in this, his senior year, but the
standings are different. That's where Harrell set himself apart.
With Harrell leading the way, the Red Raiders had their first
10-0 start in 70 years, beat a No. 1 team for the first time and
climbed higher in the polls than ever before to No. 2.
Along the way, Harrell moved within two touchdown passes of
breaking the NCAA career record and set plenty of Big 12 marks -
likely earning a spot among the finalists headed to New York for
Saturday's Heisman ceremony.
But here's the problem: A late-season 65-21 loss at Oklahoma,
where Harrell had one first-half TD while Tech fell behind 35-7 in
a showdown with another Heisman favorite, Sooners quarterback Sam
Bradford. Harrell said his 4,747 yards and 41 touchdowns probably
won't be enough to overcome Tech's only loss.
Even if he doesn't win the Heisman, Harrell has left his mark at
Texas Tech. Quarterbacks are usually noteworthy after they play in
Leach's offense, not before. Harrell was the exception, a big-name
recruit from the big-market Dallas-Fort Worth area, and he matched