1. Game Links:
2. No Doubt. When Texas Tech entered the game I had doubts that Texas Tech would be able to keep it close. I had come home from work, not real sure that Mississippi State was out so many players and when I was catching up on Twitter and saw this I knew that it would be Texas Tech by 100.
Arriving in style pic.twitter.com/IAoHXwLCZY
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) December 28, 2021
3. Pride. I usually don’t feel that huge sense of pride or suffering after a loss, but it was difficult not to have a sense of pride, at least for me, in this program and Sonny Cumbie and Keith Patterson. This post-game speech in the locker room was more than enough.
Dug deep and were the last ones on the field.
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) December 29, 2021
4. Program Changing? That’s such a big word and I don’t know that I ever believed in a curse or any of those things. I think what happened was that the wrong coaches were hired and then they were fired and that’s life. You can’t make the right or correct decisions all of the time. What this feels like to me is a string of right decisions all coming to fruition at the same time. I think the opportunity is there for the program to change in an upward trajectory, but I’d dismiss the thought that a win against a beleaguered Mississippi State team missing a ton of players changes the program. Changing a program involves a significant amount of additional work that lies ahead of where we are at right now. The opportunity is right here for the taking and I think that Joey McGuire probably recognizes that.
5. Started Up Front. I don’t think it mattered that Mississippi State had a depleted defensive and offensive line, Texas Tech seemed intent on dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Texas Tech would end up running for 260 yards on 44 carries averaging nearly 6 yards a carry. Tahj Brooks had 109 yards on 16 carries, with SaRodorock Thompson running for 80 yards on 14 carries. Simply dominant. Defensively, that’s a bit more difficult thing to judge as MSU wasn’t a team that really ran the ball. Overall, the Bulldogs ran for 54 yards on 20 carries, but 27 of those yards were lost yards from sacks. Where Texas Tech won was eventually the pressure on the MSU quarterback, 4 sacks on the evening with a couple of quarterback hurries to boot.
“Our players all along, man, they just never stopped believing. Just excited for our program, the administrations at Louisiana Tech and Texas Tech to allow us to come back and finish this season. And the way we did, with these players, has been a lot of fun.”
7. Nit-Picks and Pick-Me-Ups.
- Just big plays in so many places. Seeing huge chunks of yards from Myles Price, Jerand Bradley, Travis Koontz, and Xavier White changed the game in the second half. Mississippi State simply couldn’t keep up with the big plays coupled with being able to stop the run.
- The offense ran for 260 and passed for 252. That’s about as balanced as you’ll see.
- The Texas Tech defense held MSU to 5.5 yards per attempt while Texas Tech was at 9 offensively.
- On a yards per play? Texas Tech 7.1 and Mississippi State at 4.7.
- In the red zone, Texas Tech was 6 of 6 scoring and 4 of 6 scoring touchdowns. that’s what good teams do. Mississippi State was only in the red zone 2 times, which is a problem.
- No special teams coach? No problem. I thought the entire special teams unit played amazingly, Austin McNamara was great, Jonathan Garibay was accurate, Trey Wolff didn’t allow for any significant returns. And Tommerdahl was the one coach that left the team and is at TCU.
- Deuce McAllister doesn’t have a ton of personality, but he sure does know his football. His ability to recognize what was happening was absolutely terrific. He’s deadpanned and that’s probably why he’s not doing bigger broadcasts, but I found him knowledgeable without being annoying. He doesn’t have a ton of energy and the broadcast felt like a baseball broadcast at times with the quiet, but I was good with that.
8. Smith Is Going To Be Alright. The most encouraging thing about yesterday was how Donovan Smith got better as the game progressed. He struggled to find receivers early, but eventually the clouds opened a bit and he found his way. I absolutely loved the way that Cumbie coached Smith as we all saw how Smith didn’t make the right read on that 4th down and he learned from him, making the right play later in the game. Smith was 15 of 28, which isn’t great, but had 252 yards and a touchdown. I don’t know how Zach Kittley will utilize Smith, but it will sure be interesting to find out.
9. You Love to See It.
— Derek Jones (@CoachdjCheetah) December 29, 2021
10. Players of the Game
Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Donovan Smith was pretty terrific and it would be difficult not to give this to him. The 252 yards passing plus 30 opportune rushing yards and a touchdown and MSU had a difficult time stopping him.
Swiss Army Do-It-All Defender of the Game: Colin Schooler with one more terrific game. 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for a loss.
Player Finding His Way: I’ve been waiting for that type of game from Tyree Wilson all year. He had 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. His second half was terrific.
Road Grader of the Game: The offensive line, I think particularly Dawson Deaton or Caleb Rogers, standing up for Smith after his touchdown run.
Eraser of the Game: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson had 3 pass breakups and was generally all over the place. Rayshad Williams, and Adrian Frye also had good games, as did DaMarcus Fields and Reggie Pearson. A huge game from the secondary overall taking away so much from Mississippi State.