Texas Tech’s Top Factor Backs – Zack’s Top Five
Ricky Williams came on in a flash in ’97, setting the school’s freshman single season rushing record by rushing for 894 yards on 201 carries for a 81.3 yards per game average and a 4.4 yards per carry average. The Sporting News named him a second-team Freshman All-American. The best game for the 5’8’ 175-pound Williams came against Kansas when he rushed for 179-yards on 33 carries, but his most notable game of his Freshman year came when he out-dueled Texas’ Junior Running back Ricky Williams, and eventual Doak Walker Award winner, 131-80 yards on the ground in Austin in a 24-10 Tech win. Williams Sophomore campaign in 98’ assured he’d be remembered among Texas Tech’s All-Time great running backs as he finished the year with 1,582 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. He finished fourth in the nation in rushing with an average of 143.82 yards per game, was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award and was second-team All-America by Football news to go along with numerous other accolades. Williams 1,582 rushing yards is third-most in a single season in school history and his 13 touchdowns tied for the third-best single-season in school history. However, what most fans will likely remember is Tech’s Williams out-gaining Texas’ Williams on the ground once again, 148-141, in the Red Raiders 42-35 win over the Longhorns. At the beginning of the 99’ season Williams was a preseason All-American, Heisman Trophy and All Big 12 candidate, but his season came to an abrupt end due to a knee injury suffered in the season opener against Arizona State. In 2000 after returning from the knee injury, Williams became more of a pass catching back in Mike Leach’s high-powered passing offense. He finished the year tied for eighth in the Big 12 in receiving with 4.3 catches per game and finished the season with 52 receptions for 228 yards. As a senior in 2001, Williams had a bit of a resurgence carrying the ball for 142 times for 726 yards, while finding the end-zone 14 times. His reception numbers also went up as he finished the year with 92 grabs for 617 yards and 4 more scores.
Baron Batch is a former Texas Tech running back that fans love. I mean the guy is just an all around great human being and a pretty good writer, if you don’t believe me feel free to check out his blog. On the field as a freshman he only carried the ball nine times for 43 yards and 1 touchdown, but he flashed his potential before suffering a season-ending injury on the practice field in late October. In 07’ Batch took a red-shirt while continuing to recover from an Achilles injury. Batch burst back onto the scene in 08’ leading Tech in rushing on the season with an average of 58.3 yards per game. He carried the ball a total of 113 times for 758 yards and seven touchdowns, to go along with one receiving TD. He claimed All-Big 12 Conference Honorable Mention recognition that season. His 6.7 yards per carry average with the most for a Tech back since George Smith averaged 6.9 yards per carry in 1972. In 09’ Batch had his best year in terms of rushing yards, going for 884 on 168 touches. He found the end zone 14 times that year on the ground, punctuated with the Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State when he rushed for over 100-yards, scoring twice, including the final score of the game with 2:08 left to play that put Tech up 10. Batch’s senior season helped to fortify his position in the Texas Tech record book. He proved to be a factor in the back-field once again carrying the ball 177 times for 816 yards and five touchdowns. He picked up All-Big 12 honorable mention that years, and his 2,501 career rushing yards at Texas Tech ranks him eighth. He’s ninth on Tech’s career all-purpose yards list with 3,612 and tied for eighth on Tech’s career touchdowns list with 32.
Byron Bam Morris was Texas Tech first Doak Walker Award winner. As a freshman he showed promise carrying the ball 98 times for 514 yards and five TD’s. As a sophomore he became a more integrated part of the offense with 242 touches for 1,279 yards and 10 touchdowns, and as a junior he had nearly 300 carries (298) for 1,752 yards and 22 touchdowns. Bam claimed the Doak Walker Award in 93’ with his performance for the Red Raiders, beating out San Diego State’s Marshall Faulk for the award. He averaged 159.3 yards per game that season, and his 1,752 rushing yards broke a Southwest Conference record for single season rushing yards, which had previously been held by Earl Campbell. Ironically enough both Doak Walker Award winner in Texas Tech history were both named Byron.
Donny Anderson was a running back and a punter during his career at Texas Tech University. He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers in the 1965 NFL Draft, going seventh overall in a draft that included future Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Joe Namath and Fred Biletnikoff. Anderson received All-American honors twice in 1964 and 1965 as well as being a three-time all-Southwest Conference halfback from 1963-65. He held many of the Red Raiders football records when his career ended following the ’65 season. He finished fourth in the 1965 Heisman Trophy race, and is part of the Texas Tech Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Byron Hanspard was the second of two Texas Tech running backs to be awarded the Doak Walker Award. Hanspard had a distinguished college career, but is a bit of a controversial figure in Lubbock due to his actions off the field. First lets start with on the field since that’s what this blog post is about… As a freshman he rushed for 761 yards and five touchdowns, as a sophomore he nearly doubled that mark going for 1, 374 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns, but his junior year is where Hanspard left his mark on the Red Raider program, rushing for an eye popping 2,084 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hanspard and Iowa State’s Troy Davis were the only two players to rush for over 2,000 yards that year, and his stellar junior season in 96’ earned him the Doak Walker Award. Hanspard also finished 6th in the Heisman Trophy race that year, garnering 15 first-place votes and finishing two spots ahead of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning. Hanspard owns several Texas Tech rushing records, including career rushing yards (4,219), single-season rushing yards (2,084), and single-game rushing yards (287). He also holds the record for most rushing yards per game in a season (189.5 in 1996), and for a career (127.8). Given the Red Raiders shift to a high-powered passing attack, and the way college football is played these days I’d guess its safe to say Hanspard’s rushing records could be safe for a while. Now to the pesky off the field issues… Hanspard was an ordained minister, and declared for the NFL draft after his monster junior season saying “the National Football League offered a bigger platform to spread his faith” according to the New York Times. It was later discovered that he had no choice to declare since he had stopped going to class and his GPA for that year was 0.0.