Texas Tech and Red Raiders linebacker Dimitri Moore have denied Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s post-Texas Bowl accusation that Moore spit on an Ole Miss player.
A fourth-quarter skirmish after a fumble in Texas Tech’s 42-25 win resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins. Kiffin said after the game the penalty should have been on No. 11 for Texas Tech and not the No. 11 on his team and that Ole Miss offensive lineman Jayden Williams got spit on.
Moore wears No. 11 at Texas Tech. Kiffin also said that a racial slur was used in the skirmish. Both Moore and Williams are Black.
“There’s this big fight and we’re yelling at our players and their coaches are taking their No. 11 off the field screaming at him because he spit on our player,” Kiffin said in his postgame news conference. “And so the side judge on my side says to me, hey their 11 — and he actually points that way — their 11 is going to be ejected. Your 71 fought back and he’s going to get a penalty too. So I’m like OK.”
“And then all the sudden they announce our 11. Our 11 is Jordan Watkins, who wasn’t in the fight. It was their 11 fighting 71 that everybody knew because their own coaches were yelling at the guy. There was a racial slur involved — that’s not the point of what we’re talking about about the spitting part and the penalty that was said.
"And so if you look at it, I brought our own 71 up to the officials and said, ‘Right or wrong, do you see him crying? He’s not crying because he spit on him, he’s crying because he got spit on and something was said. So it just didn’t make any sense.”
You can listen to Kiffin’s full quote about the incident below.
Thursday afternoon, Texas Tech issued statements from head coach Joey McGuire and Moore denying Kiffin’s accusations of spitting and the use of a racial slur.
“I can’t state strongly enough that these accusations are false,” Moore said. “It is disappointing to have my final game as a collegiate student-athlete overshadowed by the false accusations that were stated last night. Since I have arrived at Texas Tech, I have strived to represent my teammates, this coaching staff and most importantly, my family, in the highest manner. It has been an honor to represent this program as we closed our season with a great team victory last night.”
McGuire backed up Moore’s statement and said the linebacker had denied the allegations in a discussion between the two.
“We are disappointed an opposing head coach decided to insinuate serious allegations that are false and irresponsible,” McGuire said. “I have discussed these allegations with Dimitri Moore and he disputed the two claims that were brought forth against him. I am proud of our team and our performance last night in what was a memorable win to close our season in front of a sea of Red Raiders.”
Tech led 26-7 at halftime and easily held onto the lead in the second half as Ole Miss turned the ball over five times and had five failed fourth-down conversions. Texas Tech was 5-of-6 on fourth downs as the two teams combined to go for it 13 times on fourth down to just four field-goal attempts and two punts.