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History with Derek: Texas Tech edition

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Despite never really solving the Mike Leach puzzle, Bill Snyder has a winning record against the Red Raiders

Texas Tech v Houston
This dude caused issues.
Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

History with Derek is a new thing I’m gonna do periodically when I’m bored and feel like looking stuff up. This was fun but took some time, so I won’t be doing it every week. But let me know what you think and I may keep doing it.

Texas Tech and K-State made history 20 years ago this season. Spike Dykes’ Red Raiders met Bill Snyder’s Wildcats on Aug. 31, 1996 in the then-43,000-seat KSU Stadium, and a conference was born.

But did you know that Texas Tech and K-State played each other three times before that game?

The early years

The first meeting came in 1933, as head coach Alvin “Bo” McMillin led the Wildcats into the Twilight Zone of college football — Lubbock, Texas — for their final game of the season to face the Texas Tech Matadors at Tech Field. McMillin had led Kansas State to a 6-1-1 record to that point, and all six wins had come via shutout. Matadors head coach Pete Cawthon had Texas Tech on a similar run, coming in with a record of 7-1 with five shutouts. Tech closed out its season with its sixth shutout, beating Kansas State 6-0.

The Wildcats finished the year in second place in the Big 6 Conference, topped only by Dana X. Bible’s Nebraska team, which beat Kansas State 9-0 on Oct. 21, 1933 in front of a crowd of 16,000 at Memorial Stadium in Manhattan.

30 years later: K-State is terrible

Head coach Doug Weaver had begun his fourth season in 1963 with a 24-7 win over BYU. After an 0-10 campaign in 1962, things were looking up. Led by quarterback Larry Corrigan, the Wildcats hoped to turn a mountain of post-World War II misfortune around. Six losses later, Kansas State strolled into Lubbock on Nov. 9, fresh off a 34-0 drubbing at the hands of the rival Jayhawks. J.T. King’s Red Raiders showed little mercy on the hapless ‘Cats, slamming them 51-13.

K-State would go on to close out its season the following week with a 21-10 win over Iowa State in Ames.

Twenty-three years passed before, on Sept. 6, 1986, the Wildcats made another trip to Lubbock, this time under the direction of first-year coach Stan Parrish. Running back Tony Jordan, quarterback Randy Williams and defensive back Robert Easterwood had just helped Parrish lead K-State to a season-opening 35-7 victory over Western Illinois. Texas Tech was also breaking in a new head coach, David McWilliams, who would leave at the end of the season to take the job at Texas, but not before handing Parrish and K-State a 41-7 loss.

McWilliams departure left the Red Raider program in the hands of Spike Dykes for the 1986 Independence Bowl. Dykes would lose that game to Ole Miss 20-17, but would lead Tech to an average of 6.2 wins over the next nine seasons.

Parrish would lead the Wildcats to a 2-9 record in 1986, his only other win coming against the Jayhawks — a 29-12 win in Manhattan which would be Parrish’s final win of his three-year tenure. He was fired following an 0-11 record in 1988 and replaced by some dude.

The Snyder Era

Almost a decade to the day after their last meeting, the Wildcats and Red Raiders met again to open the season on Aug. 31, 1996, this time as conference opponents in the newly-formed Big 12.

An offense led by quarterback Brian Kavanagh, receiver Kevin Lockett and running back Mike Lawrence and a defense helmed by defensive backs Chris Canty and Mario Smith would lead the Wildcats to a 21-14 win — their first victory over the pesky Red Raiders.

Junior-college transfers Michael Bishop and Darnell McDonald replaced Kavanagh and Lockett on offense in 1997, and Lawrence split carries with junior running back Eric Hickson. Names such as Dyshod Carter, Gerald Neasman and Travis Ochs emerged on the defense as the No. 13-ranked Wildcats marched into Lubbock on Nov. 1 and marched out with a 13-2 win.

After the 1997 win, the Wildcats and Red Raiders wouldn’t meet again until the turn of the century, when in 2000, Bill Snyder met a young and up-and-coming Mike Leach in Manhattan. Senior K-State quarterback Jonathan Beasley was met on the opposing side by Texas Tech sophomore Kliff Kingsbury, who put up a valiant fight against the mighty Wildcats, but lost 28-23.

It was the last time to-date that Mike Leach would lose to Kansas State.

A decade of dominance

From 2001-2009, Leach would lead Texas Tech to five wins over the Wildcats — three in Lubbock, two in Manhattan. The worst would come in 2009 — Snyder’s first year back from a three-year retirement, when the Red Raiders would blast a hapless Grant Gregory-led K-State squad, 66-14. Over a six game span, Texas Tech outscored the Wildcats an average of 46-22. Leach was truly a thorn in Snyder’s side, but his departure following the 2009 season signaled a change in luck in Manhattan.

The Wizard plays catch-up

Tommy Tuberville took over the reigns of the Red Raiders in 2010 with a true misunderstanding of the culture. Tuberville tried to replicate the success of what Leach had done with the air-raid offense, to moderate success. An 8-5 record in 2010 was followed by a disappointing 5-7 2011 campaign, then another eight-win year in 2012 before Tuberville swiftly departed to Cincinnati.

While he found varying levels of success elsewhere in the Big 12, the ex-Auburn coach could never find Leach’s magic against K-State. In three matchups against Snyder’s Wildcats, Tuberville found himself on the losing end, 41-34, 51-24 and 49-26. Thanks to the Tuberville hire, Snyder had found his way back to a winning record against the Red Raiders.

Kingsbury returns

After Tuberville’s exit to the state of Ohio, the Red Raiders wasted little time, snatching up star Texas A&M offensive coordinator and Texas Tech alumnus Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury had played and studied under Leach, learning his air-raid and using it to beat K-State as Tech quarterback in 2001. His first season was a rough one, as Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett led K-State to a 45-13 win — the biggest Wildcat margin of victory in the series. But the Red Raiders came back last season, scoring a 59-44 shootout victory in Lubbock.

Now the two teams meet in Manhattan, almost 83 years since their first meeting. What will 2016 bring?