* Box Score
1. Hello Friend. I’m going to be a bit shorter and sweeter than I normally am. A busy Saturday and I didn’t get to watch the game until Sunday morning at around 4 in the morning, knowing the result (I’ve never been able to hide that sort of thing for such a long period of time). On Friday, I thought that Oklahoma State would win and Texas Tech would cover (the line was Oklahoma State by 11), but I didn’t think we’d see a game in the 40’s and 50’s, I thought it would be about 20 points lower as both offenses were struggling to put up points. Of course, that’s when teams zig, when I zag. Either way, this game pretty much played out like every other loss, a couple of huge coaching mistakes that probably cost Texas Tech the game and we’re left wondering what could have been.
2. Defensive Issues. I know that the offense takes a ton of crap, and they’ll get their fair share here as well, but statistically speaking, I don’t know that the defense has gotten any better over the last year. The defense gave up 539 yards, over 6 yards a play, allowed 5.6 yards a rush, and 235 yards to an Oklahoma State running back who had hardly played all year. The pass defense is going to look good, but before the game I didn’t think that Sanders was a very good quarterback and I still think that (it’s like having a good showing against Charlie Brewer and Baylor). My main issue is that the defensive line is still struggling to put things together, and this song and dance of not really having a line that can consistently stuff the run and put pressure on the quarterback is going to be this defense’s biggest issues until it’s not. And I like Bradford and Hutchings and Wilson as a group, but maybe that’s my personal feelings for just liking those players rather than liking their play. The linebackers have been good I think, but I think they need some help along the line and that’s about development and being patient.
3. Special Teams Gaffe-Again. An onsides kick, up by 3 when you’ve been down for a large part of the game, with over 7 minutes left in the third, just seems risky, and that’s saying something as most fans really aren’t all that risk averse, but why? Why? Well, here is head coach Matt Wells’ explanation:
On the onside kick returned for a touchdown by Jason Taylor
“It was a look that we had seen on tape that we thought we could take advantage of. We practiced it all week. We got it confirmed on several kicks in the first half and made the decision at halftime that when we come out and score and take the lead, that’s the best time to try to do it. We just didn’t execute it well.”
On the change in the game plan in the second half and the decision to onside kick
“It was something by scheme and by where their guards were playing, we felt like we had it. We just didn’t execute well. That’s a point where we bring in those things, and you have times to call them in a game. From a football standpoint and a space standpoint, we just didn’t execute well enough.”
This was mentioned in the staff Slack, so I won’t take credit, but deciding to do something when circumstances change then maybe you shouldn’t do that thing (i.e. maybe if you are down by a couple of scores, then take a chance, but you weren’t, so why not just play it straight because you’re up).
4. Offensive Inefficiency. It just seems like the offense is somethings feast or famine, the first half seemed like a lot of nothing. The offense would muster 120 rushing yards, which was great, a large part of that being SaRodorick Thompson’s excellent cut-back moves, and 89 passing yards. That’s just not going to cut it, in fact, of those first half drives, 3 were 3 and outs and gained a total of 15 yards (3/9, 3/3, and 3/2). That’s the definition of ineptness.
The second half was better, but an interception for a touchdown, a fumble, losing a possession on downs, a safety, etc. Just can’t get out of your own way a lot of times.
5. Individual Offensive Performances. Erik Ezukanma is an absolute stud, 7 catches for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s going to earn an NFL paycheck sooner than later. I’ve already mentioned Thompson, but 17 attempts and 133 yards with 2 touchdowns, and I wonder why he didn’t get the ball more in the second half. I’m okay with feeding a guy that’s breaking big plays. And that’s not to say that I’m disappointed with Xavier White, but if Thompson has the hot-hand, why not? I’d also like to shout-out to Loic Fouonji with his first collegiate touchdown (I think) and Myles Price continues to be a whirling dervish of excitement (both good and bad . . . got to hold onto the ball). And Texas Tech isn’t in this game without Alan Bowman, but when he makes a mistake, it’s like compounded interest, it’s just brutal. Still, he did throw for 384 yards on 8.3 yards an attempt with 3 touchdowns is generally pretty good and acceptable.
6. Defensive Standouts. I thought that Damarcus Fields and Adam Beck were your players of the game. I thought that Fields, even though he had a couple of penalties against him I think, he was still really good. 9 tackles, a tackle for a loss, 2 pass break-ups, and a forced fumble. Beck at safety had 9 tackles for the day and he’s been really good at safety. Colin Schooler didn’t have a huge tackle game, only 6, but also forced 2 fumbles.
7. Continue to Fight. I do appreciate how this team continues to fight. Despite the mistakes, this team really doesn’t quit and that’s a hugely important quality. This sort of thought obviously has its flaws, namely that this means that you are consistently down in terms of score and that you’re always having to punch up. And this should be a given but teams that don’t fight have typically given up on their head coach, but I don’t think that’s happened. And I totally get that this is not something to really brag about, but I think the player effort is there. They’re not dogging it and as a guy sitting on my couch watching them, I appreciate that they continue to dig in.
8. Some Stats.
- Third down was pretty terrible on both sides of the ball. Texas Tech only converted 4 of 16 (25%) and the defense allowed Oklahoma State to convert 12 of 20 (60%). That’s probably the ball game right there.
- But wait, the other huge stat was points off of turnovers: Texas Tech 0, Oklahoma State 13. Another bad indication.
- Texas Tech had 0 red zone attempts. That means they are only scoring off of big plays, but consistent drives? Not so much.
- Texas Tech was 4 of 5 on 4th downs, so that’s sort of good (the lone 4th down not converted though was terrible and Texas Tech was trying to catch up, most likely because of the onsides kick and pick-six).
- The offense averaged 7.6 yards a play, which is insane and if it weren’t for the turnovers, this game is completely different.
- Of the third downs mentioned above, Texas Tech was 8 for 11 passing and converted 3 of them, but only converted 1 third down by running the ball.
- Texas Tech scored 3 first down touchdowns and Oklahoma State scored 4. I don’t think that happens all that often.
9. Quotes. Head coach Matt Wells opening statement:
“Well, it’s a tough loss for us. You know we got behind in the second half, got behind by three scores and continued to fight. That was the thing I was most proud of, nobody on that sideline ever thought we were out of it. We continued to play to win, coach to win; obviously, we came up short. Credit to Oklahoma State. We came here to win the game, to play aggressive, to call an aggressive game and play to win, and we came up short. That’s not what this program is going to be about. The effort, the intensity, the vibe all the way through is what we will be about. Credit to those guys in the locker room for continuing to fight. That’s what we’ve got to have as we continue to change this culture and turn this program around. So, for that, I’m proud.”
On mistakes that resulted in big plays for Oklahoma State:
“The biggest thing is that we are playing through that. Bad things happen. A sign of a team not playing through it is a team that doesn’t play hard. I don’t think anybody saw that. When things happened, either good or bad, I think you saw us rally together. Whether it was offense in the late-third quarter or defense with the turnovers after that, that’s how I would evaluate it. I would look at our guys, their reaction and the play that happened afterward.”
10. Up Next. A revenge game? Yeah, a revenge game. Texas Tech hosts Kansas for the last game of the year. The game time is TBA, but the opponent is not.