Football

Monday Morning Quarterback : Oklahoma State

The STP staff look at where this team fell apart, the second half performance, and how many points is enough.

This week, Micheal, Brian and I wax philosophical as we discuss the team’s mid-game breakdown, the second half performances and how many points is enough for this team.

Let’s learn something from this disaster and get that much-needed 6th win. #WreckEm

Turning Point

Micheal_LSRR – A lot has been said of Jah’Shawn Johnson’s non-existent targeting call, and rightfully so. The only way that contact could’ve been avoided was if Johnson was about 8 inches taller. I really felt the air leave the stadium after that. I’m going to try not to complain about the call, but it did have an immediate and direct impact on the game and turned the tide a bit in OSU’s favor. I see a call like that and instantly think that Tech will no longer get the benefit of the doubt on any questionable calls. I think the rest of the Jones felt the same way.

But, to get back to a more logical moment, I would have to say the goose egg the offense laid in the 3rd quarter just about handed OSU the win with the punt return touchdown being the deciding factor.

 
Brian DonCarlos – So, the play that comes to mind immediately is the needless Jah’Shawn Johnson ejection. However, I feel that the answer for me lies in the first few drives of the 3rd quarter, and the 4th downs to be exact. The Tech offense was humming in the 1st half, converting all of their drives except one into points. However, in the 3rd, something changed. The defense forced a punt on Oklahoma State’s opening drive, and it seems like the offense is going to increase their lead again. However, they get to a 4th and 2, and decide to punt. It gets blocked. However, the defense again does its thing and forces a punt. The offense promptly goes 3 and out on 4th and 3, and punts just to have that punt returned for a touchdown. However, that still didn’t break it for me. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that next 4th and 1 that Tech found itself in. Instead of running the offense that worked so well in getting yards in the first half, Mahomes lined up under center. The snap gets fumbled. The ball gets turned over. OSU scores again. It was that sequence, and play in particular, where the bottom dropped out for me a bit. I was stunned at how that played out, and it was crushing to see how lost the offense seemed all of a sudden.

Meestah Rogers – It’s difficult for me to pinpoint where things started to fall apart. I guess the best I can come up with is the targeting call on and ejection of Jah’Shawn Johnson. For the record, I HATED the call. I can almost talk myself into understanding why it was called initially, but not why the ejection was upheld after review. Up until that point, Tech’s drives had all ended in points and the first two drives were especially exciting to see, as the offense had been lackluster and the explosiveness absent. It all came back; first drive took :45 and 3 plays, second drive 2 plays and 97 yards, a great interception from the defense and an eventual field goal and then this horrendous call.

Having said all of that, I still can’t comprehend how that call could have affected the team to the point where they performed the way they did on Saturday. And don’t get me wrong, Johnson is a good player for Tech, but he’s not a seasoned veteran and heart and soul of the defense. His absence (really, nobody’s absence) should have decimated the team. I’ve got to be honest, following that, there seemed to be that 2013/2014 “Here we go again” mentality setting in. This team just can’t seem to get over the hump.

Second Half Performance

Micheal_LSRR – About that goose egg, my goodness. What an awful quarter of football offensively. Being outscored 42-15 in a game would not be an easy pill to swallow, but Tech managed it in just half the time. The defense, as gashed as it was, came up huge in the 3rd quarter with three consecutive stops that the offense couldn’t convert to points.

I’m all over the place with how I feel about this game. How can you put up 53 at home and lose? Tech ran back a kickoff, converted a crucial 2-pt conversion late in the game, and lead until late in the 3rd. How do you allow 70 points at home (which may be a new Jones Stadium record for points allowed)? Why couldn’t Tech have won so that Jakeem Grant’s unbelievable play could be celebrated a bit more?

Texas Tech has allowed an average of 63 points in its four losses. The only silver lining I have for this is that those four losses come from teams with a combined record of 30-1. The next three opponents are 9-13. Maybe the worst is over.

Brian DonCarlos – For as maligned as the Tech defense has been, it should be noted that they did force 4 punts in the second half on Saturday, and the offense didn’t convert any of those chances into points. Counter to that, however, is the fact that this is a complaint when the offense still scored 53 points (more on that soon). The offense just can’t be expected to score every time it gets a touch, but at the same time it hurts to not see the few chance the defense generates not get capitalized on. And when the offense goes off the field fast, that just means the defense is on the field that much more. There’s not enough depth for that to happen, and teams will start to roll in the 2nd half . It’s incredibly tough to watch, but so it goes it seems this season. We played yet another undefeated ranked team, and Oklahoma State is both of those for a reason.

Meestah Rogers – Tech was outscored 42-15 in the second half, with the Tech offense putting up a goose egg in the 3rd quarter. And looking at the stats just baffles me. On paper, this game was almost dead even. If you throw out that last interception and subsequent return for a score, you’ve got two teams that racked up ~650 total yards (475/175 pass/run), similar 3rd down efficiency, similar penalties (7 for 65 for OSU, 7 for 66 for Tech), and both teams scored a special teams touchdown. Tech had 1 more turnover (excluding the pick six) but was down by 10.

Oklahoma State scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters and 28 in the fourth (21 if you still want to exclude the garbage time pick). They were consistent throughout the game, whereas Tech scored 24, 14, 0, and 15 going 1st through 4th quarters. Maybe all this means is that the game was inexplicably closer than it appeared, but going from a 17 point lead to losing by 17 feels like Tech just got stomped.

How Many Points Does Tech Need

Micheal_LSRR – Thanks to a friend, I was able to go see this one in person. We all talked out a best case scenario before the game started: what if TTU gets the ball first, scores, make a few stops and keep scoring at every opportunity? How great would it be to be up 14 or 17 points? It was kind of a pipe dream at the time, then we turn and look at each other while the offense is driving up 14-0 and know that getting this win could actually happen.

I knew any sort of lead like that in the 1st quarter was something to be taken with a grain of salt. I didn’t forsee the full-on collapse in the 3rd quarter coming, but I just don’t trust any lead until it’s much closer to the end of the game. In order to put someone away, I would add time to that equation. When Tech is up by two scores with about 3 minutes left in the game, that is when I start feeling like they can put the game away.

 
Brian DonCarlos – As stated above, if the offense doesn’t stay on the field, it exposes the defense and leaves them hanging to a degree. That said, I’m not sure there is a safe enough lead for 2015 Texas Tech. When you blow that many 17 point head starts. . . man that’s demoralizing. What does it do to this squad psychologically? Again, I think the blowing the lead isn’t all on the defense, but blame can lie partially on the offense as well. Lulls like what happened in the 3rd just can’t happen. Downs were wasted consistently throwing deep, when Pat hasn’t hit one of those passes in what seems like ages; whether that’s on him or the outside receivers is another question. But why did the play calling seem to change so much after the half? That haste and urgency was lacking, longer developing plays were employed, and that OSU defensive line had a chance to do what they do best because of it. No more quick releases, many more tackles for loss. For any lead to be safe, the offense must be more consistent. They won’t score every time, but I think the defense has shown that it does have the ability to make a stop on occasion. Those 3rd quarter offensive lapses just can’t happen though.

Meestah Rogers – Texas Tech had as much as a 17 point lead at three separate times in the game, from going up 17-0 early in the first, 24-7, and 31-14 nearly halfway through the second quarter. At that point, the rest of the game very well could have been considered garbage time, statistically, considering the margin and the time left. But no, no lead is safe apparently.

I’ll be honest, once Tech got up 17-0 and seemed absolutely in control of the game early on, I was feeling pretty confident about everything being right in the Red Raider world. OSU starting scoring and early on, Tech was keeping pace, maintaining that 17-point lead. But something happened, psychologically, to where Tech just melted away. And for me, this was much worse than a 17-point loss. This had the feeling of being blown out, especially when I consider the 34-point swing from mid-second quarter to the final whistle. Another point where the stats are so baffling because of how close everything seemed on paper. Nothing there tells me that OSU played a game 5 TDs better than Tech, but that’s what happened.

I don’t know how many points is enough for this team. I think this can go back to the lack of killer instinct that was talked about early on this season. Tech wasn’t able to maintain their lead and put the Cowboys away. That’s a mental problem with the team and I don’t have the answers on how to fix that. Maybe the large graduating class this year helps correct some of these issues.

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