1. Game Links:
2. Perfect. From the opening play, the wide splits, the delay of game, the decline of the penalty, the tough offense and tough defense, it was just the perfect game. Oh, and the contract extension announced before the game for Joey McGuire and him mentioning after the game that he also made sure that the strength and conditioning staff were on two-year deals rather than one-year deals and that he’d tell Kirby Hocutt that he’d work every day to accomplish his goals. Not perfect play, there were mistakes and plays made and it wasn’t perfect in the sense that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen, but it was just sort of a fairly tale ending in the sense that Texas Tech hoisted a trophy, celebrated 8 wins and the team heads home to Lubbock after a terrific season.
This 10 Things will be shortened because of time constraints, but it feels good to bask in the the afterglow of a win.
3. Turnovers. That was maybe the theme of the game, Texas Tech had 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 recoveries, and despite Texas Tech’s 3 turnovers, it wasn’t 5.
4. Stifling Defense. Though 3 quarters, Ole Miss averaged 3.3 yards a carry, had only 111 rushing yards and 274 total offense yards including 1 of 6 on 4th down. The defense bottled up Ole Miss pretty much the entire game and never really let them develop a rhythm and that was key. It helped a ton that Ole Miss essentially punted on 4th down 5 different times, but without the benefit of the yardage because the Rebels were 2 of 7 on 4th down. The defense held so many times during critical times and they made plays when it mattered.
5. Converting 3rd Downs. It happens so many games, but Texas Tech’s ability to convert third downs was what kept Texas Tech’s offensive machine rolling. Converting 6 of 10 3rd and shorts (but going 0-6 on 3rd and longs) so keeping the short field and converting those 3rd downs were key to the success of the team.
It also helped that the defense held Ole Miss to 5 of 13 and they had some weird stat lines in that they converted 4-5 3rd and longs, but went 0-4 on 3rd and shorts. Again, the defense showed up and stopped Ole Miss when they usually convert.
6. Advanced Stats. Some interesting advanced stats. Texas Tech ran 61% of their plays in Ole Miss’ side of the field while they only ran 40% of their plays inside Texas Tech’s side of the field . . . Texas Tech had a sack adjusted 5.3 yards per rush to 4.7 for Ole Miss, which was supposed to be the better rushing team . . . the sack adjusted play-calling was 52 runs to 48 passes . . . Texas Tech gained 5.8 average yards on 1st down, while Ole Miss was 7.5. How they didn’t have a better game I’m not sure . . . Texas Tech ran the ball for 6.3 yards 16 times on 1st downs . . .
7. Not Critical. You’ve probably read more critical 10 Things and I’m not going to do that here. Yeah, there were mistakes, but there were a lot of big plays, enough to finish with 42 points, however they happened, and enough to only allow Ole Miss to have 25. There were misfires on offense, maybe getting too cute, and the defense was maybe gassed in the 4th quarter, but they held it together. The game wasn’t perfect (despite what I wrote above), but the result was.
8. Idle Thoughts. I loved seeing Loic Fouonji catch 7 of 9 passes, he’s had a tough time this year and for him to catch 7 of 9 was huge . . . Jerand Bradley’s 8 for 88 and a touchdown is just going to mean big things for the two of them, I’m all but sure of that . . . the offense ran for 242 yards, 111 of them was by Tyler Shough who was hit late multiple times and for the officiating crew not to call both instances was not correct. Regardless, the offense ran for 242 and passed for 242 and I’m pretty sure this is the offense that Joey McGuire wants . . . . I loved SaRodorick Thompson getting a touchdown in his last game, love his smile and his effort . . . the defense played their rears off . . . Kosi Eldridge in his last game, led the team with 9 tackles . . . interceptions by Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Marquis Waters, and Tyler Owens were all just perfect. Yes, DTD should have just dropped his, but I’m glad he got a pick . . . Isaac Smith is making plays and he’s going to be a factor next year, 4 tackles, a sack, 2 TFL, a forced fumble and a recovery . . . Myles Cole showing up for 2 TFL was huge . . . absolutely loved Fouonji returning that kickoff 44 yards for a touchdown and putting this thing away . . . Tyler Shough announced he was coming back so get ready . . .
9. Coach Comments.
Texas Tech Head Coach Joey McGuire Opening Statement:
I’ve been doing this 29 years. I’ve had some special moments in my career, but tonight was really special to finish off this with these guys. The reason it was because you know it’s hard whenever you get a new coach come in and you do things so different. You get a new staff that comes in, you do things so different. I always tell everybody, different is not good or bad; different is just different.
For them to accept us the way they did and just play the way they do every single game, how hard they play, it shows that they believe in what we’re doing, but more than anything they love each other and they believe in each other.
And tonight just showed that. Crazy game. We got the ball, took the ball away on defensive and that really set up some short fields in the first half. Couldn’t be more proud of this football team.
Q. Could you talk about that first offensive play? Why you did it and why it was important to honor Coach Leach like that?
COACH MCGUIRE: Really appreciate Coach Kiffin, we’ve talked about it. I know they were close friends. I’m a football geek. I really am. I’m really a high school football geek especially. And there’s very few people in this game that have changed the game the way he did.
And we just wanted to come out and honor him, tip our hat to him, say thank you for what he’s done. I guarantee you, guys, especially guys my age that coached high school football, some of the stuff he did in the passing game totally changed the offenses that were being run in the state of Texas.
So just wanted to show our appreciation and especially do it on a big stage, last game being played and do it in the red and black.
Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin Opening Statement:
LANE KIFFIN: Okay. So you guys that cover me know I don’t speak coach speak. When I say this I mean this. I thought that their staff and players did a great job. I thought they had them ready to play.
I thought — we knew they played hard, you know, kind of overachieving model of team that talk from people in the conference how hard they play. It happens a lot at home. We were hoping maybe they didn’t do it as well today, but those guys had some good plans.
I think you’re going to — as a coach you break down the game and say, okay, yards, points, all that stuff. There’s a lot of similarities in the running and throwing of the ball by the teams, but, you know, you’re going to look really glaring at fourth downs and turnovers.
So, you know, they did a great — both were very aggressive. You know, we were 2 of 7 on the fourth downs. They were 5 of 6. I thought they had really good plays and speed options and checking on different things. I put that on coach. I thought their fourth down schemes were better than ours, and ours were short of yardage sometimes and weren’t able it move them.
So I do, I give them a lot of credit for how well they coached and how hard they played. After the fourth down and turnovers and, you know, do some analytic chart, and you’re going to be 99.9%. If you don’t make five fourth downs and you turn over, what, five times, that’s 10.
One of those fourth downs is a turnover, so it’s really nine times, right? If I just did the math right, that’s nine times you give them the ball back without kicks going or scores going on. So that’s not going to bode well, and it didn’t tonight.
I thought we had a little rally there in the second half. Jaxson had a really poor first half, and he would tell you. Some critical plays. Obviously, the turnovers. Fourth down with the guy in the flat, and he thought it was a different play and took a shot deep, which killed some momentum there on a fourth and one.
It’s a shame because this would have been a great game to win down here versus a very good team and go out for these guys that were the last game.
So, again, credit to them. I thought they did a great job stopping the run for a team that’s run the ball extremely well most of the year. For our backs to be four yards and 4.6 and Jaxson 6.0, that’s a really good job for those guys that had really struggled against the run without their pass rush and defensive end.
10. Tortilla Tossin’ Players of the Game.
This first tortilla goes to the entire defense, they held an Ole Miss offense that was traditionally a road-grading machine pretty much all night to minimal damage and Texas Tech doesn’t win that game without them stepping up.
Tyler Shough’s performance was tough as nails all game long, continuing to do what the defense allowed him to do. 242 passing yards on 62% completion for a touchdown and a pick along with 25 carries for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Joey McGuire, Zach Kittley, and Tim DeRuyter along with the entire staff and players for putting together and implementing a heck of a game plan. Kiffin said it best, despite what you might think, that Texas Tech had better plays last night and for the defense to hold was impressive. Congrats on a helluva year.