Oct. 16, 2003
By Brian Litvack
It's midway through Texas Tech's Football Season and quarterback B.J. Symons has already thrown for a ton of yards. Actually, it's more like a ton and a half (2,954 yards).
Symons is a fifth-year senior who, in his first year as a starter, has put up enough yards to fatigue a Kenyan Marathoner. Thanks to a 661-yard performance against Mississippi and an eight-touchdown day against Texas A&M, Symons is rewriting the record book like it's his personal diary.
Symons has already passed for over 450 yards in a game four times (that's one more than the rest of Division I-A QBs combined). He leads the nation in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, and total yards. His 27 touchdown passes, 222 completions and 2,954 passing yards put him on pace to shatter the NCAA single season records for those categories. Most importantly, Symons has led an offense that averages over 51 points per game and is the main reason why Tech is off to an impressive 5-1 start, which include victories over Mississippi and Texas A&M.
By now you should be asking yourself -- who the heck is this kid?
For the first four years of his career, the initials B.J. might as well have stood for bench jockey, Symons' primary position as Kliff Kingsbury's backup. Symons waited patiently, and finally got his chance to step into a starting role this season.
Needless to say, Symons has seized his opportunity. He's keen on reading defenses, throws an accurate ball and goes deep as often as Barry Bonds. Symons' offensive accomplishments are so absurd that B.J. has begun to live the life of a superstar.
After throwing a touchdown last week Symons actually "tweaked" his leg celebrating the score. Coach Mike Leach speculated that the cause of the accident was "that little skip thing you see him do" after touchdowns. But there is no fear in Lubbock, as mighty B.J. proclaimed this week that, "B.J.'s going to play. B.J. feels great." That's right. We have an athlete that refers to himself in the third person and has a touchdown skip routine. It's a combination that can top both Charles Barkley and Warren Sapp.
Yet despite all his accomplishments, the haters are chiming in. Critics argue that Symons plays in an offensive system that could turn Carlyle Holliday into Warren Moon. After all, Kingsbury set 19 Big 12 records and eight NCAA marks in Mike Leach's offense. Many also point out that running up the score in early season blowouts has artificially flavored his nutrasweet stats.
By Symons riding the pine the last four seasons (216 career passing yards before this season), it makes you wonder if he really is that good or if Coach Mike Leach is that dumb for keeping the Cy Young of college football on the bench.
There is a good chance Symons returns to planet Earth before the season ends. Tech's Big 12 slate heats up as they travel to face conference contenders Oklahoma State and Missouri in the next two weeks. If Symons can exploit these defenses and continue to throw for half a century each game, the final exam comes Nov 22 when the top-ranked Sooners bring their dominant defense into Lubbock.
Perhaps B.J. and the Red Raiders' offense will be exposed by a legitimate defense like a 35mm roll of film in a tanning salon. Or maybe Symons continues to put up numbers that Ty Detmer and David Klinger could have only dreamt about in college.
Either way, the whole idea that a bench-warming Techsan is suddenly throwing for yards like he's using a vortex ball at the beach is quite intriguing and makes for some darn good reality TV.
B.J. Symons has amassed 2,954 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air in just six games.