1. Game Links:
2. All Hail the Defense. The defense was just spectacular. Without question, the best game thus far I think and they’ve played some good games. The defense ended up yielding only 2.8 yards per rush and 5.5 yards per attempt. That’s all sort of insane and then pile on 4 turnovers, 3 picks a forced fumble, and holding West Virginia to just 4 of 14 on 3rd downs. For the game, Texas Tech allowed WVU to rush for 25 yards in the 1st quarter, 11 in the 2nd, 38 in the 3rd, and -1 in the 4th. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
I really thought that the Mountaineers would play with some heart, but that may have been taken away at the end of the half when Dadrion Taylor-Demerson picked off WVU to end any sort of scoring threat. And when WVU couldn’t score to start the second half. that was game over I think. they had no juice left.
3. #. #
4. 6 Yards Away. Just 6 yards away from 600 yards of total offense, also insane, but I really thought the defense deserved top-billing. Behren Morton passed for 325 yards and the other end of the offense ran for 239 and 3 touchdowns. What kept the offense rolling in the 1st half was 6 of 7 on third downs to keep drives alive. Fun stat? Texas Tech attempted zero 4th downs in the 2nd half, but went 6 of 8 on 3rd downs. 4th downs were not necessary in the second half.
And let’s add in the idea that the offensive line and the running game, it was spectacular, and that was with a new starting right tackle, Matt Keeler got the start for an injured Monroe Mills, and that’s 600 yards of total offense (nearly) without Myles Price. That’s including 49 rushing yards from Bryson Donnell the true freshman from Tyler. 103 total plays. That’s a lot of plays and a lot of yards.
5. Numbers. Let’s dive into some numbers. Texas Tech limited West Virginia to just 1 red zone opportunity, which they converted, but to be in Texas Tech’s end of the field just 1 time is pretty great . . . West Virginia’s average 3rd down was 7.9 yards to go and like a lot of teams, was 0-5 on 3rd and long (9+ yards) and were just fine in 3rd in short (1-4 yards) . . . the other key was that West Virginia was 1-8 in passing for 3rd downs and that’s another issue, which is just WVU simply missed on a lot of long passes and short ones too . . . Texas Tech was 1-5 on 3rd and long and 5 of 8 on 3rd and short and their average was 6.6 yards to go . . . on 3rd downs, Texas Tech rushed 11 times for 103 yards . . . I was a bit shocked that WVU averaged 5.1 yards per 1st down, compared to 4.3 for Texas Tech, which means that theoretically, the average 3rd downs of 7.9 means that WVU was continually shooting themselves in the foot . . .
6. Defensive Stars. Again, I thought the team played really hard, same thing for the offense, which we’ll get to in a second. There were some missed tackles, but let’s not remember item #2 above. Muddy Waters was really one of the best players today for me, 7 tackles and 3 tackles for a loss. Kosi Eldridge is a guy that I pretty well overlooked this offseason, but he had 7 tackles, and half a sack. The stats don’t always show this, but Tyree Wilson continues to be a terror to opposing offensive lines. Jacob Rodriguez and Dimitri Moore played helluva games.
The effort is high and it is fun to watch the players fly to the ball and when you can count and remember the missed tackles after a game, that’s pretty good progress from years past when you couldn’t count all of the missed tackles.
7. Offensive Output. We talked a bit about Morton, but Morton was decent getting the ball down the field, 7.2 yards per attempt, completing 62% of his passes, again, this was fine, but maybe the biggest improvement was the lack of turnovers at the position and that Morton threw the ball away when there was nothing there. That’s pretty big improvement.
I thought the running backs ran hard. Like running into people. Tahj Brooks was hot today and that’s absolutely great, averaged 6.3 yards a run, 17 carries and 107 yards with 2 touchdowns. SaRodorick Thompson was really good too, 15 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown, which he tight-roped the sideline on a play that looked like he might have lost yards.
There were 11 receivers who caught a pass. Interestingly, Nehemiah Martinez and Xavier White are targeted the most, White had 9 targets and Martinez had 8. Of all things, they are both producing a ton of yards after the catch, 82 YAC for White and 139 total yards and I don’t know how the mat works out on this, but 60 YAC and 52 yards.
The hard running wasn’t exclusive to just the running backs, Mason Tharp did grown-man things on one of his catches and I was happy to see Loic Fouonji get a touchdown along with Brady Boyd.
8. Idle Thoughts. Before the game I got the television station wrong for the entire week and I’m sorry about that. No excuse, just messed up and will do my best not to let that happen again . . . more stats . . . Texas Tech had 14 big plays, which are runs of 10+ and completions of 15+ for 310 yards . . . on plays with 2 yards or less to go, Texas Tech was 10 of 11 . . . no big special teams issues, but also no big special teams plays as Austin McNamara averaged 52 yards a punt, which is great . . . Trey Wolff knocked down a 46 and 26 yard field goal . . . I’m hopeful for a long return . . .
9. Coach Comments.
Head Coach Joey McGuire Opening statement
“Complete game from tonight for our team. Four turnovers. It was really good to get that going. We’ve been talking about it. Y’all hear me talk about it every week. To get four of them really dictates the score that we had because of limiting their opportunities. We had our right tackle get banged up during the week. Matt Keeler started off the season at left tackle and then we moved him over to right tackle. We’ve been shifting guys around. After the game in the locker room, I told the players how proud I was of the way he fought. That’s really the nature of our team if you think about it. Whenever Myles (Price) isn’t here then either (Xavier White) or Nehemiah (Martinez) steps up. You know, J.J. Sparkman’s hand and you see Trey (Cleveland) take more of a load. That’s just how these guys are. They play for each other; they play so hard for each other and it was a lot of fun. I’m so proud of this team for bouncing back. If y’all would have been in here Sunday after that OSU game, it was not a lot of fun. We had a lot of guys that poured their heart out that game and we didn’t come out on top. Then you have a bye week and that’s not fun going into a bye week after a loss. I was really proud of the way they responded and how fast we played. It just shows what kind of shape our guys are in. Then, how about rushing for 239 yards. That’s a lot of fun. I always go over to the offensive line whenever we rush for a touchdown and tell them how much I love that cause I really do. I think we had at least three rushing touchdowns.”
Q: On what helped make a big step in the right direction after a loss and a bye week
“I think the belief in what we’re doing. We’ve played well at home and we’ve gone on the road and played well at times throughout the game, but we haven’t put a game together that we could win. I just think there’s a belief with this team. They believe in each other. They believe in what the coaches are trying to get them to do. It did help. There is no doubt that the bye week helped.”
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
I loved the way that Muddy Waters played, thought he played so well.
It would be real easy to give this to Behren Morton and he’s getting a mention here, but what Xavier White has done in Myles Price’s absence is nothing short of amazing, 17.4 yards per catch and grabbing 8 of 9 from your quarterback with a touchdown is just spectacular. I always thought he was mis-cast as a running back and he’s proving that correct this year.
I don’t even know if it is fair to ask 3 guys to share these three tortillas, but a tortilla for each interception, the biggest one was Dadrion Taylor-Demerson’s to end the first half, but Malik Dunlap and Rayshad Williams both had beauts as well.