For some football players, the last time they get to pull on the pads and play on the gridiron comes in high school, for some of the lucky ones, they get to play another four years at the next level.
On Saturday, that four-year journey at the next level will begin to come to an end for 18 seniors on the Red Raider football team as they celebrate senior day at Jones AT&T Stadium as Texas Tech plays in its final home game of the season against Kansas.
"I think it's a defining moment in the lives of these kids because it's the last time they'll play out here," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They've been here four or five years, they've put a lot of sweat here. It's an emotional time when you know that something is coming to an end. And in a couple of months' time, most of these guys won't ever play football again. We want every experience to be good, especially senior day, parents coming, last time to play here."
This group of seniors has seen it all in their time wearing the red and black, from the lows of a losing season for the first time since 1992 and missing a bowl game for the first time in forever to the highs of upsetting nationally-ranked opponents both at home and on the road.
Quarterback Seth Doege has orchestrated two of the biggest upsets for Tech since the 2008 victory against then-No.1 Texas in Lubbock – against then-No.1 Oklahoma in Norman in 2011 and against No. 5 West Virginia on October 13 in Lubbock.
For a quarterback that did not play his last two years in high school because of knee injuries, then sat behind Graham Harrell, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield just waiting his turn his first few years at Tech, this moment is unreal that it's already here.
"Seems like just yesterday was my first start against Kansas," Doege said. "It's been a lot of fun. I've loved the opportunity of playing here, and I'm glad that ‑‑ I'm kind of glad that the game has kind of set right here. I think it's a good time for the seniors to battle back and end the season with a winning home record and going out strong."
The Red Raiders will try and secure a winning record at home as they enter the meeting with the Jayhawks with a 3-2 record at the Jones after dropping games to Oklahoma, 41-20, and Texas, 31-22.
For the seniors with a lot riding on this game against the Jayhawks - final home game, trying to go above .500 in Big 12 Conference play and snap a two-game losing streak, senior safety D.J. Johnson said there will be a lot of emotion from the seniors considering everything that is factoring into it.
"Passionate. I expect it to be real passionate, especially from the seniors," he said. "I expect them to have a lot of emotion in this game and go out there and play and have fun. We have to be aggressive in everything we do and we have to have fun. When we're out there we have to be chest‑bumping, high‑fiving, slapping hands, just anything to keep the crowd into it and keep each other into it. We have to stay motivated through our brotherhood and our family."
Even though it is senior day, and all the celebration that comes with it, the seniors know they have to approach it as any other game.
"Understandably it's the senior day, so personally we may take it more personal, but it's still about this team," Johnson said. "It's still about us going out there and making sure that we get the victory because whether we win or lose, it doesn't just affect the seniors, it affects this team, and so the most important thing is to make sure we go out there and get this W for the team."