1. Game Links:
2. 7-5, 5-4. That means a lot to me as a fan. I’m not sure if it means as much to others. In fact, you go to other programs and it’s a disappointment. Heck, even for people who are fans of Texas Tech, I’m sure that 7-5 is a disappointment, but to win 7 games within the season and to have a winning record in conference play, first conference winning record since 2009, yes, that 2009, the year of the “curse” and everything that went with that year seems like forever ago. And it seems fitting that it was 2009 was the last year that there was a winning record, I’ve been begging for things to come full circle for a long time and for the first time in a long time, I feel like that’s where this program is at. And you can add into beating Texas and Oklahoma in the same year, boundaries are broken. This is the place that the program is supposed to be at a minimum.
3. Reactiveness of Fandom. Almost all of this year, I’ve been watching the game on delay and last week and this week were the first times that I’ve been able to watch the game live and like a lot of people, I’ve got Twitter open and I’m sometimes surprised, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the reactiveness of fans. I know that it’s just part of the game, but college football will always be an imperfect mess. The offense, the defenses, the special teams. The imperfectness is why you love this dumb sport, because absolutely insane things will happen without explanation. When Texas Tech was down there were so many people ready to throw Zach Kittley out with the bathwater. Hell, after the first play fans were ready.
As a long-distance runner I absolutely get that the first two miles are not the race. Running that ultramarathon in Oklahoma, I absolutely had people pass me as the race started. Mostly young people tend to pass you, doing a bit much early and not really ready for the difficultness of what lies ahead for the next 30 miles. And slowly but surely, you start catching people you start passing people. But you have to stick with it and continue being who you are.
And I get that this is a cumulative thing, but games are not sprints. Zach Kittley is a really good offensive coordinator and he’s never going to be the perfect offensive coordinator, but I can guarantee you that he’s better than 95% of offensive coordinators out there. There are few teams that have had to run through as many quarterbacks as Texas Tech did this year and there was never an excuse made by the entire staff.
Coaching tenures are not sprints either and whatever you think about the situation, I’d tell you to run your race and it will be flawed and it will be imperfect and it will be fun as hell when you get to the finish line.
4. Offensively Offensive. I loved games like last week. Defense is and can be fun and it seems like it has been ages since Texas Tech has been on the right side of a good old fashioned shoot-out. Oklahoma had 672 yards of offense and before the game, I said that Oklahoma had run for 200 yards for every game all year and they ran for 210 yards, right on cue.
Texas Tech’s offense was so good despite the two turnovers. Averaging 6.2 yards per play, 8.5 yards per attempt, and although the offense only averaged 3.9 yards per rush attempt, Kittley continued to pound the rock, 47 running attempts and 59 passing attempts, that’s a ton of plays and although it’s not 50/50, it was clear that getting the ball in the air was huge.
I won’t even get into Oklahoma’s numbers because they are ridiculous, but the offense never quit. It wasn’t perfect, but they never quit.
5. Numbers. This is the last time I get to do this, but let’s dig into some numbers from the game.
- The turnover statistic is going to be in favor of Oklahoma, 2 turnovers to just 1 for the Sooners. HOWEVER, Oklahoma was 1 of 4 on 4th downs and if you want a key statistic as to why Texas Tech won the game, I’d point right there, the Sooners essentially turning the ball over 3 times without points and without a punt are huge and should be accounted for in those turnover numbers.
- Texas Tech converted 41% of their 3rd downs, 39% for OU. The average down and distance was also in favor for Texas Tech, 6.2 to 7.5.
- Oklahoma was in a lot of 3rd and longs (9+ yards) and went 1 for 6. I know that Oklahoma fans won’t want to hear this, but it wasn’t that they were bad on 3rd downs, it’s that they put themselves in bad situations.
- Meanwhile for Texas Tech, the offense converted 4 of 5 on 3rd and short (1-4 yards) and was only in 3rd and longs twice, going 1 for 2.
- OU killed it on 1st downs, averaging 10.5 yards a play, that’s some big passing plays that they had that were on 1st down. Texas Tech averaged a much more modest 6.2 yards every 1st down.
- Oklahoma ran 46% of their plays in Texas Tech’s side of the field compared to just 38% for Texas Tech.
- The Texas Tech defense stuffed 18% of OU’s rushing plays.
- Texas Tech went 6 for 6 in the redzone and had 38 points, while Oklahoma went 4 for 5 for just 24.
- The penalties were a killer, a lot on the offensive line, but they were under tremendous pressure. 9 penalties for 62 yards for Texas Tech and just 4 for 31 for Oklahoma.
- Texas Tech had the ball for 32:34 compared to just 27:26 for Oklahoma.
- Would you be surprised if Texas Tech had more yards after catch than Oklahoma? 210 for Texas Tech and 193 for Oklahoma.
6. Offensive Standouts. Let’s dive in.
- The offensive line gave up 3 sacks, and given the amount of pressure they were under because it felt like OU was bringing heat every single pass play, to only give up 3 sacks seems like a win, with 1 of those sacks probably being Shough holding onto the ball too long or a coverage sack, whatever you want to call it.
- Shough probably had the best and most significant game of his career, 31 of 50 for 436, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, while running 9 times for 44 yards (it would be even more because he lost 9 yards on 3 sacks).
- Best receiving game in a long time from a wideout, 8 receptions for 173 yards for Jerand Bradley and a helluva touchdown.
- I was also very encouraged by Loic Founji, who caught 4 of 5 for 61 yards. He’s had difficultly holding onto the ball, so really happy to see him have a high catch rate.
- Myles Price and Nehemiah Martinez were so great inside, combined 10 catches for 118 and they were tough yards.
- Tahj Brooks like to bounce, make a cut and go, and Oklahoma wasn’t having any of that. He averaged just 2.2 yards a carry, 12 for 26. It just wasn’t his night.
- SaRodorick Thompson, one of my favorite players was having a day, 22 for 86 yards a rush, 2 touchdowns and averaged 3.9 yards a run. Him getting the ball and being productive was one of the reasons the offense got back on track.
- The mere presence of Donovan Smith has been terrific and Kittley’s use of him has been fascinating and fantastic. A 15-yard touchdown grab along with a rushing touchdown to start the comeback. He probably affected plays more than his stats would indicate.
7. Defensive Standouts.
- Texas Tech played most of this game without their 2nd best pass rusher. Jesiah Pierre went down early with an ankle injury maybe, so that left Texas Tech without their best pass rusher in Tyree Wilson and now their 2nd best goes down.
- Dimitri Moore filled in really well and although he only made 1 tackle, Texas Tech needed someone to step up when Pierre went down.
- Reggie Pearson has two of the biggest hits I’ve seen since this side of Darius Slay, but he also had 11 tackles.
- The cornerbacks and safeties had a rough game in coverage. There’s no way to sugarcoat that.
- Kosi Eldridge maybe also had his best game as a collegiate football player, 14 tackles and a sack. He was everywhere.
- Despite not having their best two pass rushers, the defense had 3 sacks, Eldridge, Joseph Adedire, and Tony Bradford to go along with 7 quarterback hurries.
- Bradford, Hutchings, Adedire, and Waters were constantly in the Oklahoma backfield. They all played their rears off.
- Vidal Scott, Jr. with two huge plays behind the line of scrimmage. I did not have that on my bingo card. And I don’t remember this, but Robert Wooten along with Scott each had a tackle for loss.
8. Idle Thoughts.
- I’m pretty sure I caught some heat for liking Ryan Leaf as the color analyst and give me 100 out of 100 times over Devin Gardner. And I think Gardner could be good, but he’s got to slow things down a bit. I get that he’s high energy and I’m good with high energy, but he and his play-by-play guy are both high energy so there’s just a lot happening and it can be a bit overwhelming. Sometimes you’ve got to let the play breathe just a bit.
- A lot was made regarding Oklahoma’s trick play late and in overtime, of all of the times to run a trick play and having your quarterback likely concussed as a result didn’t seem like the smartest play.
- Now compare that to the trick play that Texas Tech’s trick play to start the game and give me Texas Tech going for it to start the game every day of the week. And I don’t get everyone thinking that Kittley just dialed that up in a vacuum. Let’s bet $1 that McGuire, who is an aggressive coach, was all on board with that play to start the game.
- Special teams was great again. Austin McNamara averaged 47 yards a punt and pinned 2 inside the 20. Before Trey Wolff’s missed extra point, he was 34 of 34. He was due to miss, but loved seeing Xavier White get that 2-point conversion.
- Pretty terrific to see Wolff get 2 walk-off’s in overtime against Texas and Oklahoma. Wolff was 18 of 21 for the year for 86% of his field goal makes. Last year, Jonathan Garibay was 15 of 16, which was insane as well. There was a point in Wolff’s career when he was 1 of 5 in 2020. It’s a marathon and not a sprint.
- Texas Tech ran 96 plays, 87 for OU.
- Despite the low yards per carry, Texas Tech still ran for 172 yards.
9. Coach Comments.
Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire opening statement:
“First, so fired up for our seniors. You know, I love those guys and whenever we have a new coach and a new staff takes over, you try to go in a certain direction. Sometimes it takes the older guys longer, because of what they have been through. Man, credit those guys for jumping in day one and getting behind us. It was big for their last game at Jones AT&T to come out on top and be in history books and do something no team in the history of Texas Tech has ever done. Beating Texas and OU in the same year. We talked all week long about how we want to be remembered. We still have stuff left to do. Cannot say enough about those guys. Proud of the young guys. We have some who stepped up tonight. I know there will be questions about those young guys, but I’m just proud of them. One thing I said, and I will continue to say, is one thing about Red Raider teams, you will never question how hard they are going to play and how long and how much fight they have in them. If we need extra football to win games, we will go into overtime and we will win it. I am just proud of those guys.”
Q: On the turning point of the game
“It was a crazy start because we popped that kickoff return, Jordan Brown had a really good return. We had a reverse pass called and OU played it perfectly. We couldn’t even get it out and so we had that first drive with them getting the ball. I think that first touchdown whenever we were able to get on the board and just kind of settle down you know, that was a big turning point in the game. I felt like the guys were going to settle down a little bit. I said on headset, it kind of felt a little like Baylor from the standpoint of in that game and this game, I felt like there were guys who were trying to do too much. You know, you talk about it, but whenever it’s senior night, a lot of times the seniors are very emotional. But then the young guys want to play so hard for them. I think there were some guys that were trying to do too much. We settled down once we got into the endzone.”
Q: On his thoughts on this year’s team
“I’m proud of our guys. One thing that we wanted to do was create a team that was really going to fight. We talked about ‘The Brand’ all the time, “the toughest, hardest working, most competitive team in the country” and I think that’s who we are. We talked about that all the time, just being that, be The Brand.”
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
Tyler Shough gets this first football for me, such a huge game with 436 in the air and 44 on the ground. I thought he was really good for 99% of the game, save that 1 interception where he just forced the issue.
My bias is going to show here, but these two footballs go to SaRodorick Thompson. He’s one of my favorite players and he wears my favorite number. Just a tough performance and he played until he couldn’t play any more. Mi Corazón.
It’s hard to pick defenders here. Kosi Eldridge gets the call for me, 14 tackles is huge. Those 2 huge hits plus 11 tackles for Reggie Pearson. And let’s add in Hutchings for 4 tackles and a freaking rushing touchdown and his partner Tony Bradford, Jr. because I like him so much too.