Quarterback Zebby Lethridge successfully directed a no-huddle offense and running back Byron Hanspard set bowl records with 260 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead Texas Tech to a 55–41 win over Air Force in the 7th Annual Cactus Bowl.
The Red Raiders practiced the no-huddle attack but never utilized it during the season until the Cactus Bowl to offset Air Force’s potent, ball-controlling wishbone offense.
The Red Raiders broke a 7–7 tie with 21 unanswered first-half points on two touchdown runs by Hanspard and a quarterback sneak from Lethridge.
Air Force mounted a spirited rally in the third quarter to erase most of its 31–13 halftime deficit to crawl to within three points at 31–28 in the first seven minutes of the third quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run by Jake Campbell and 60-yard scoring run by Danta Johnson.
But Hanspard notched his third touchdown with 5:06 left in the third quarter, and then ran 63 yards to set up another Tech score for propel the Red Raiders to a comfortable 45–28 lead.
After a short field goal, Air Force quarterback Beau Morgan scored on a one-yard run to cut the Red Raiders’ lead to 48–35, but Hanspard tacked on his fourth touchdown to seal the win.
Hanspard, a sophomore running back, posted 201 of his 260 rushing yards in the second half with touchdown runs of 2, 11, 2 and 29 yards.
Lethridge threw for 245 passing yards, including the game’s first touchdown on a 38-yard strike to Stacy Mitchell, and added 85 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to earn offensive player-of-the-game honors.
Air Force entered the game as the no. 3 rushing offense in the nation and finished in typical fashion — 431 yards on the ground. Johnson added a 71-yard touchdown run and finished with 148 rushing yards on only five carries. Morgan added 129 yards rushing and Nakia Addison ran for 72 yards and scores of two and seven yards.