Texas Tech defensive back Douglas Coleman sprinted down the sideline last Saturday in Lubbock. He had just stripped the ball away from Heisman-hopeful D’Onta Foreman, and eyed a 100-yard return for a touchdown.
But freshman wide receiver Devin Duvernay raced from the opposite side of the field, the only Longhorn on the turf who had a chance of pushing Douglas out of bounds.
The referees said he didn’t, signaling a Red Raiders’ touchdown. And even though they didn’t review the play, pictures show that Duvernay clearly pushed him out before he crossed the goal-line.
“When this happened, I said, ‘Well we’re about to see him open up, we’re about to see him run,’” offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said Tuesday. “And that’s what he did.”
On Monday, head coach Charlie Strong said Duvernay’s effort inspired the rest of his players to pull off Texas’ first road win of the season. And they answered the call, rattling off the game’s next 17 points in the Longhorns’ eventual win.
“I just think that was a turning point because all our players are standing there,” Strong said. “They watched his effort. Then everybody on the sideline kind of got juiced just looking at his effort.”
The play helped spearhead Texas to a 5–4 record with three games remaining on its schedule. If Duvernay makes more hustle plays like he did in Lubbock, Strong and the Longhorns could be well on their way to a big finish this season.
Gilbert believes there’s more game-changing plays to come from the freshman, who plays with determination and tenacity week after week.
“That was huge for our football team,” Gilbert said. “That was huge for him. But that’s just a representation of Devin. That’s the kind of person he is, that’s the kind of kid he is. That’s who he is.”