1. Game Links:
2. That’s Not Fun. I didn’t think that Texas Tech would win, but I thought they’d play better. I think Joey McGuire thought that Texas Tech would play better. The first half was nearly a waste except for the last minute and the inconsistency of the offense is sort of magnified a bit when the defense plays well enough to hold the Wildcats to just 13 points in the first half. And in a way, the defense was pretty inconsistent too. For 80% of the plays (this is just a guestimation) the defense was good, but for 20% of them, Kansas State absolutely had their way.
3. Turnovers Continue. Before the game, I thought that turnovers would be a big deal to winning this game and I think that was pretty critical. Texas Tech could have taken advantage of a very rare Kansas State turnover, but then turned the ball over 4 times (really 3 times that Texas Tech could have taken advantage of something, we’ll talk about that last turnover in a bit). Kansas State plays pretty mistake free football and that would be a fantastic lesson to take with you. And this isn’t to say that McGuire isn’t acutely aware of how important turnovers are, he’s preached all year that the team that takes 3 turnovers has a 97% chance of winning the game. When you are on the other side of that, like Texas Tech was yesterday, then the Red Raiders have a 97% of losing that game. And despite those turnovers, Texas Tech was close, oh so close to making it more interesting than it was.
4. Special Teams Continues to Be a Problem. The special teams continue to be not so great. A missed field goal, which is fine, but you just hate to see Trey Wolff miss one that he’s capable of making and in a critical spot when the game was within grasp and then that field goal missed turned right around and became a 1:16 touchdown drive. Another kick out of bounds that resulted in good field position as well as only 2 touchbacks. A running into the kicker that could have been worse had it been roughing (the penalty was declined). Special teams is probably more top of mind for me because there are so few opportunities and when those opportunities aren’t handled competently then the spotlight really gets the spotlight that it probably doesn’t completely deserve. To give credit, to recover an onsides kick was huge.
5. The K-State Offense Was What I Thought It Was. I thought that the Kansas State offense would be Adrian Martinez not passing a ton, only 116 passing yards for 6 yards an attempt, with a huge dose of Martinez and Deuce Vaught running all over the place and that’s exactly what happened. K-State ran for 376 total yards, of which Martinez and Vaughn were responsible for 370. That’s hilarious in a way, but also emphasizes the importance of what they do. I thought that Ryan Leaf did a great job of pointing out that Kansas State just took advantage of numbers when Martinez ran, the high safety couldn’t do much and all that the line had to do was get a hat on the man in front of them. The defense knew that Martinez and Vaughn would b the stars and they still couldn’t do much to stop them, however, it seemed as if they did stop them some times, but when a team averages 8.8 yards a rush, ultimately that wasn’t what happened.
6. Shoring Up the Offense. If you would told me that Donovan Smith threw for 359 yards and would have balked because it certainly didn’t seem that way. It is definitely the negative plays that are a killer. The 6 sacks by just 2 players, Khalid Duke and Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Felix was a pre-season All-American so the line knew about him, but couldn’t stop him, add in 4 quarterback hurries, plus the 2 interceptions, and that’s 12 pass attempts that ended up in likely not the best play. I can’t say for certain about the hurries, but we can for certain say that 8 of the 48 pass attempts ended in a negative play or a turnover. Add in the 2 fumbles that were lost and that’s the killer right there.
Smith’s 7.4 yards per attempt isn’t bad, but it is one of those deals where the lack of a big play, which was clearly evident with K-State, requires the offense to be perfect in its drives and when that doesn’t happen, the offense only puts up 28 points. Put it another way, Texas Tech averaged 5.8 yards per offensive play compared to 8 for Kansas State. That’s the effect of big plays and it is something that I think Texas Tech has generally lacked this year.
7. No 4th Down Magic. Texas Tech only had 3 4th down attempts, but had 14 3rd down attempts, which means that there were 9 4th down opportunities that Texas Tech didn’t take, whether it be because of field position or otherwise. I thought that McGuire would be more aggressive, but both times that Texas Tech turned the ball over on downs, K-State did capitalize, 2 field goals, so they were certainly gifted points. And when we talk about the yards not being as effective, the fact that the offense wasn’t in K-State’s end of the field to be more aggressive, I think this sort of speaks to the lack of 4th down opportunities.
8. Idle Thoughts. The tight ends were completely shut out, neither had a catch and Mason Tharp, Henry Teeter, and Baylor Cupp each had 1 target each. That’s probably not nearly enough . . . I hope that Myles Price and SaRodorick Thompson are okay and whatever injuries sustained are minor in nature . . . Kansas State averaged nearly 9 yards a rush . . . Kansas State was 6 for 6 in the red zone, 3 touchdowns and 3 field goals . . . Krishon Merriweather continues to lead this team in tackles, something I think he does every week, this week with 7 . . . . Robert Wooten got the start (I think) . . . Trey Cleveland and J.J. Sparkman got the start at the wide receiver spots . . . I think I’d love to see Jerand Bradley and Loic Fouonji be bigger part of the offense, but they maybe have to start making big plays . . . [Ed. Note] I said that I would write about the interception that should have been and I sort of forgot. I definitely think that the whistle was whistled and I definitely think that the play was wrong and I definitely think that Texas Tech could have made things a lot more interesting, but I don’t know if it would have ultimately mattered. I suppose it could have resulted in a Texas Tech win, but I think that was highly unlikely. I absolutely think the Big 12 refs got it wrong and that’s abundantly clear that they are sometimes really bad at their jobs . . .
9. Coach Comments.
“The biggest thing that I told the guys is that I was proud of them because there’s a lot of fight in this team. The biggest thing we’ve got to figure out, what needs to be fixed, and figure that out real quick because we got another one right off the bat. Next week we have to find a way to play better on the road. We have got to find a way to play better early on the road. This is the second time, North Carolina State was the same way where we got behind and the guys fought right back. We got scored on, tied, but we just have to do a better job of playing cleaner early on the road. In the Big 12, everyone we play is a really good football team, so you can’t come in and do that against a really good K-State football team and we’ll have to figure it out and get ready for next week after these 24 hours.”
On staying positive on offense…
“We were more effective, I thought Donvan was more poised against this defense. Today we caught the ball better than we did last week and got a feel for Trey Celeveland’s second week in a row. He made a huge catch and didn’t end up scoring off of it, so we are just as proud as Donovan. We should have run the ball earlier in the first quarter because I thought we ran the ball effectively in the second quarter to really get us back into the game. I was proud of the offense to just go and keep fighting. We got down 13 and fought our way back to 20-20 and then made it 23-20 and didn’t do it.”
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
Trey Cleveland maybe had one of his best games I can recall, 98 yards on just 3 catches, with a long of 58 yards, he’s certainly making tough catches and I think Texas Tech certainly needs that.
Xavier White led the team with 120 yards on 9 catches including a touchdown. It always seems like it is someone new in the receiver room that’s stepping up, but maybe the fact that there aren’t dominant players is an issue.
Tyree Wilson finishing with 2 sacks along with 6 tackles, a forced fumble and 1 quarterback hurry, it is clear that this will likely be his last year as a Red Raider. The NFL will come calling and he’s pretty good at what he does.