1. Game Links:
2. Win for Joey. Going to sound a bit strange, but I was getting very caught up in this game from a standpoint that I wanted to win one for Joey McGuire. From the entrance to the flyover to just wanting the team to look good for my sake or the sake of the blog. That’s not to say that there weren’t issues. And the opening statement from McGuire he talked about how proud he was of the team.
3. Quarterback Differences. When Tyler Shough played, I thought he absolutely played in the middle of the field and took advantage of the seams that Murray State presented. Donovan Smith definitely stuck to the sidelines for the most part and thought that he picked apart the secondary that way. Behren Morton definitely looked more tentative and unsure as to where to go and maybe held the ball longer than he should have. I thought they all played differently and good in their own ways. When Shough threw the ball I was seeing what he was seeing because guys were wide open, do you credit Kittley or credit Shough for seeing it. Smith sticking to the sidelines wasn’t a bad thing, but maybe that’s the next step that Shough took that Smith will eventually need to take. He’s probably getting close and made a couple of efforts across the middle, but you absolutely have to trust your pass if you’re going to do that.
4. Secondary Issues. McGuire did address how the secondary lost the ball, the sight of the ball, and he was diaappointed that they didn’t do what they had been coached. I think the other part of it was that Tim DeRuyter sold out and told his corners that they would be on an island and the safeties would be be covering the run. McGuire also mentioned the defensive line lost containment with the quarterback, a play extended longer than it should have, but still said the defensive backs needed to have their eyes in the right spot.
5. Defensive Line Performance. Really thought the line played incredibly well. Very much a collective effort, but Tyree Wilson getting 6 tackles with 2 TFL, Philip Blidi had 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL. Murray State had 50 net rushing yards and averaged 1.2 yards per rush on 41 attempts. The Racers gained 98, but lost 48 on tackles for loss and sacks so even if you given them credit for the 98 yards, 41 carries that’s still 2.39 yards per carry. It was clear that the team sold out to not allow Murray State run the ball at all.
6. Offensive Explosion. The quarterbacks were 27 of 36 for 472 yards, 13 yards per attempt, 75% completion percentage, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. The lone pick was a Morton throw where he threw the ball knowing he had one-on-one coverage but the defensive back made a fantastic play. It was pointed out that 14 receivers caught a pass. Jerand Bradley caught 6 on 7 targets for 108 and 2 touchdowns while Loic Fouonji caught 4 on 5 targets for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The running backs were really good, 133 yet rushing yards, but Morton lost 15 on that one sack, so 148 was closer to what the running backs ran rather than what the quarterbacks lost. I thought Tahj Brooks and SaRodorick Thompson looked absolutely terrific, 48 running and 30 receiving for Thompson, while Brooks had 50 rushing and 7 receiving. A total of 4 touchdowns between them, 3 running for Brooks and 1 receiving for Thompson.
There wasn’t an offensive set that Zack Kittley didn’t use, everything from 5 wide to 2 tight ends. That’s a lot to prepare for with opposing defenses.
7. Notable Stats. Texas Tech was 6 of 10 on 3rd downs . . . had 9 penalties for 65 yards . . . “lost” the time of possession 25:49 to 34:11 . . . averaged 9.9 yards to go on 3rd down . . . I was able to find a fancy stats page and according to the advanced stats there Texas Tech was 7 of 11 on deep passes (passes 15+) . . . Texas Tech had 4 runs stuffed while Murray State had 13, which was 32% . . . the average yards gained on 1st down for Texas Tech was 10.5 and 4.4 for Murray State . . . Texas Tech had 6 1st down touchdowns [that’s a crazy statistic] . . . Texas Tech averaged 9.3 yards per play . . . 36 pass attempts to 29 rushing attempts . . .
8. Idle Thoughts. I don’t know that I noticed the linebackers at all, that’s largely because the defensive line was absolutely all over it and the linebackers were really supporting the line . . . three different tight ends caught a pass, combined for 65 yards and a touchdown, that’s pretty good from your tight end group . . . Nehemiah Martinez caught 2 for 43 and had 51 yards after catch (I can’t explain that) . . . Shoutout to Tyler Owens for that terrific tackle on the deep punt that just got dropped . . . Tyrique Matthews had 1.5 tackles for a loss which you won’t hear a ton about I bet . . . Drew Hucutt looked returning punts, but thought Miles Price, Xavier White, and Adrian Frye all looked good and made positive yards, something we haven’t seen in a while . . . Austin McNamara punted 4 times for 45.8 yards, a longest of 56 and all 4 he pinned inside the 20 . . .
9. Coach Comment.
10. Stars of the Game.
Donovan Smith was absolutely great in relief, 14 of 16 for 221 yards, an 286 quarterback rating, 4 touchdowns and 88% completion percentage.
Philip Blidi dominated the line and looked like a guy that wished he had played more last year. He just couldn’t be stopped.
McGuire gets the 3-stars for his first collegiate win. Congrats!