The 2007 Texas Tech Red Raiders threw the ball an average of 58 times per game.
Danny Amendola and Michael Crabtree played no small part in why.
The two receivers were the match and the lighter fluid for head coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, then led by Sammy Baugh Award-winning quarterback Graham Harrell, who completed an NCAA record 512 passes by the 9-4 season’s end.
And by that point, Amendola, a senior inside, and Crabtree, a redshirt freshman out wide, had shared a record of their own.
No collegiate duo had ever combined to catch more passes than the 243 they did in a single season.
Along with those catches, Amendola and Crabtree amassed 3,207 yards and 28 touchdowns.
2007 TEXAS TECH TOTALS
- Danny Amendola: 109 catches, 1,245 yards, six touchdowns
- Michael Crabtree: 134 catches, 1,962 yards, 22 touchdowns
- Rest of offense: 301 catches, 2,907 yards, 23 touchdowns
Those numbers are still what they were then: gaudy. Perhaps not attainable if you went back and fired up EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 07” on Playstation 2.
Even with a fair slice from fellow wideout Eric Morris, Amendola and Crabtree accounted for 44 percent of the Red Raiders’ receptions, 52 percent of the receiving yards, and 54 percent of the receiving touchdowns during that prolific 2007 season.
Amendola, a second-team All-Big 12 pick, caught at least 10 passes in five of Texas Tech’s contests. Crabtree, the nation’s leading receiver, went over 100 yards in 11 contests and over 200 in two. And in their final game as teammates, a 31-28 win over Virginia in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day, both No. 20 and No. 5 crossed into the end zone once again.
Which brings us to Sunday.
The 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders can be considered a little 10-year reunion for Amendola and Crabtree.
They might not be on the field at the same time for more than pregame warm-ups and a postgame greeting, but the meeting in Mexico City will mark the seventh time Amendola and Crabtree have suited up as opponents since leaving Lubbock.
"Danny's like my brother on the field," Crabtree told SFGate.com ahead of a December 2010 matchup. "My first couple combo routes were with Danny Amendola.”
The native Texans, hailing from The Woodlands and Dallas Carter, have taken different paths to NFL longevity since their first couple combo routes.
Amendola went undrafted in 2008 and made stops on the Dallas Cowboys’ and Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squads before heading to the St. Louis Rams and eventually New England in 2013. As for Crabtree, the two-time unanimous All-American, Biletnikoff and Paul Warfield Award winner went No. 10 overall in 2009, and spent six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before resurging with Oakland in 2015.
They’ve tallied 957 catches for 10,527 yards and 67 touchdowns over the course of their NFL careers. Time will tell whether it’s the 32-year-old Patriot or the 30-year-old Raider who accounts for more Sunday at Estadio Azteca.
But, in a Mike Leach offense or not, catching passes from Graham Harrell or not, their 2007 production together hasn’t proved to be deceiving.
It’s just a decade older.