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Red Raiders, Joey McGuire Name Tyler Shough Starting QB

After much speculation, Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire has named his starting quarterback against Murray State in Week 1.

The race for QB1 is over in Lubbock, and first-year coach Joey McGuire has his man.

Texas Tech announced Sunday that senior Tyler Shough will start Week 1 against Murray State. Shough was in a head-to-head battle with sophomore Donovan Smith and freshman Behren Morton for first-team reps since the start of spring football.

McGuire had set a date back at the start of fall camp that he would name his starter following the second scrimmage. On Saturday, the Red Raiders took the field at Jones AT&T Stadium for one final scrimmage before the decision became official.

Electing to transfer from Oregon, Shough initially beat out Henry Colombi in 2021 under the direction of then-coach Matt Wells. In his first four starts, the 6-5, 222-pound passer completed 69.6 percent of his throws for 872 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions.

Shough missed the final eight games of the regular season after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Texas. The injury opened the door for Smith, a 6-5, 230-pound freshman from Las Vegas, to compete with the first-team offense.

In nine games, Smith threw for 1,181 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions. He also tacked on 155 rushing yards and three touchdowns, Smith’s best game came against Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl when he threw for 252 yards and a touchdown on the way to a 34-7 win.

McGuire said following Saturday’s scrimmage that he intends on keeping both Shough and Smith engaged in the offense against the Racers.

“If it’s Donovan, then the other two will have packages,” McGuire said. “If it’s Tyler, the other two will have packages. If it’s Behren, the other two will have packages.”

McGuire said earlier in the week that he already knew who was leading the pack. On Saturday, he reiterated the stance, stating that one guy has “stepped out” among the rest.

Shough comes with the most starting experience, having played two seasons with the Ducks prior to his arrival in Lubbock. During his time in Eugene, Shough threw for 1,703 yards, 16 touchdowns, and three interceptions. He completed 71.8 percent of his throws and finished with a passer rating of 193.5.

Reports out of Lubbock indicated that Morton had impressed during fall camp, improving with his decision-making and accuracy. Smith also had shown potential, primarily finding success with his legs in the red zone to keep drives alive.

Shough’s experience likely won him the job for Week 1, but McGuire has options should he begin to regress prior to the start of conference games.

The Red Raiders will face Murray State, No. 24 Houston, and No. 13 North Carolina State prior to the start of Big 12 play against Texas on Sept. 24. 

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