The Big 12 has more than a lion’s share of high-profile quarterbacks, but coming into the season Texas Tech gunslinger Nic Shimonek wasn’t one of them. The former Iowa transfer, and career backup, had taken a backseat to preseason publicity offered to Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. To be fair, Mayfield and Rudolph have been establishing their Heisman pedigree with big wins on the gridiron while Shimonek had only established 482 passing yards and six scores during garbage time play.
A month into the 2017 season has Shimonek winning over a fan base and leading the Red Raiders to an undefeated September. The only thing soaring higher than Texas Tech’s confidence right now is Shimonek’s completion percentage and quarterback rating.
Shimonek has surpassed three hundred yards in all three of Tech’s games during the month of September, giving him 1,248 yards and eleven touchdowns with a 73.6% completion percentage and an 85.9 quarterback rating. So, why is it that no one is talking about the fifth-year senior?
Here’s the thing. Shimonek has been given the label of “system quarterback.” Replacing Patrick Mahomes, Shimonek has emerged from the shadows to take the reigns of a perennially prolific offense. The problem is, we’ve all seen this act before.
In 2016 Tech started 3-1 before dropping six of their next seven. In 2015 is was a 3-0 start that was ruined by a stretch where the Red Raiders lost five or seven. A 2-0 start in 2014 turned into disaster when Texas Tech dropped eight of their next ten games. You have to go back to 2013 to find a regular season win over a Top 25 opponent.
On September 12th the Red Raiders defeated #24 TCU 20-10. Current Oklahoma quarterback, and Heisman front-runner, Baker Mayfield was Texas Tech’s starting quarterback that day but even the 2013 season molded itself to a pattern of disappointment after a hot start. Tech would end up going on a five-game losing streak to close out that season.
People aren’t talking about Nic Shimonek because people aren’t talking about Texas Tech. The Red Raiders need a signature win to change that. Even after beating Houston last week the, “wait and see” approach still stuck.
That can all go away Saturday night if Shimonek is able to guide Tech to a win over Oklahoma State. Suddenly the Red Raiders will have validity to their revival and Shimonek, having accomplished even what Patrick Mahomes couldn’t, will suddenly have everyone talking about him.