Ward shines, even as young guns dominate vs. SMU - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Ward shines, even as young guns dominate vs. SMU

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Senior Eric Ward (Source: Texas Tech Athletics) Senior Eric Ward (Source: Texas Tech Athletics)

Friday night's season opening win over SMU belonged to the young guns.

Kliff Kingsbury, the youngest head coach to roam the sidelines for a BCS school, earned his first career victory, while Baker Mayfield, the first true freshman walk-on to ever start an opening-week game in BCS history, took home Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after a 429 yard, 5 TD effort.

But lost in the spotlight of the BCS youngsters was senior Eric Ward's workmanlike, 13 catch, 150 yard performance.

"He's better than I even thought," Kingsbury said after the game. "We just made a conscious effort to get him the ball. It's good to have a senior like him out there with all the young players we have."

Ward didn't find the end zone Friday night, which most likely led to him being overlooked for postgame honors. But perhaps just as important, the senior proved to be the security blanket freshman Mayfield needed in his college debut.

His teammates were not surprised.

"He comes to work every day," fellow wide receiver Bradley Marquez said. "He's never down. If he's not getting the ball early, it won't affect how he plays. He's the leader of our team."

Ward was considered an NFL prospect at the end of last season's 1,053 yard, 12 touchdown campaign, but elected not to enter the NFL Draft. Instead, he returned for his senior year at Texas Tech where he's surrounded by newcomers.

So far the decision seems wise as Ward should have no problem besting last years numbers as he figures to be the main option for an offense ready to throw it.

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