We saw some of Texas Tech’s plagues creeping back in after four weeks of improvement from previous years. We’re “roundtabling” the rushing yards, penalties and turnovers.
Michael_LSRR – Tech’s running game was just not working. Washington was unable to get through Baylor’s defensive line, and Tech’s offensive linemen were outmatched. I was really impressed with how well they held up on passing plays, allowing some of the playground throws that Mahomes was able to make, but there was no traction on the ground. It also doesn’t help when you’re down by two touchdowns ten minutes into the game. By that point, I think Tech had started to abandon the ground game and try to catch up through the air (see 530 yards passing). This makes me feel somewhat better about the run game, but not about the fact Tech couldn’t stop Baylor.
Brian DonCarlos – I give full credit to Baylor’s defense here, because I was not expecting them to be able to lock down the line of scrimmage like they did. I knew that Billings was going to be a monster in the middle and it was going to be tough going between the tackles, but Tech couldn’t get anything on the edges or the screen game either; Baylor was quick getting to the ball and they wrapped up when they made contact. If I may digress, I felt our offensive game plan was a little disjointed while watching, as we would have effective drives just slowly picking apart the middle of the field on intermediate passes, which would loosen up the defense for DW a little, then the next drive we would start chucking the ball deep, and waiting for those plays to develop let Baylor have time to pressure Mahomes a bit more than he’s used to. I would have liked to see more of what Tech did on Davis’ first drive, a bit more methodical with easy pass & catches for the receivers (which contracted an awful case of the “dropsies” before the game).
MeestahRogers – Texas Tech just couldn’t get the ground game going against Baylor, which may sound a little strange with Tech rushing for 4.4 yards per carry. However, with untimely drive stalls and turnovers, Baylor jumped out to a big enough lead that Kingsbury couldn’t lean on DeAndre Washington like we would have liked to have seen. Tech rushed 24 times for 106 yards. That, at times, was a good day for Leach’s playcalling days. But we’ve been spoiled lately with stellar performances from Washington.
Baylor did what they wanted to offensively. They ran the ball at will and found success on the legs of Shock Linwood. And if that long run in their second offensive drive didn’t set the tone, I don’t know what did. That Baylor offensive line is talented. LaQuan McGowan is bigger than the earth, apparently. There are other teams in this conference that have similar talent, but I don’t think Tech will give up nearly 400 yards on the ground again.
Michael_LSRR – And there it is. During the summer, this is the type of penalty-riddled game I was expecting the majority of the year. I was so pleasantly surprised with how disciplined Tech played through the first 4 games that I started to believe we had most of that sort of thing nixed. Seeing false starts, blocks in the back, pass interference calls all brought back bad memories of yesteryear. The false start at 4th and 6 during Tech’s second drive killed our momentum. I chalk some of the 17 penalties to our guys playing behind for the first time all year. Sure, they played behind against TCU, but it didn’t feel almost hopeless at times. Frustration leads to mistakes. Having an ineligible receiver too far down field might be on the coaches, though. That one came late in the game when our fate was all but sealed, but it did cost us a huge gain. The back-to-back false start/delay of game combo was a head scratcher, too.
Brian DonCarlos – Again, that was like the 2014 team. 17 penalties for 142 is just bonkers, and I don’t feel that it’s indicative of what this team is, based off of what we’ve seen in the previous 4 games. I also think that at least one, if not both, of those Bethel PI calls were completely bunk due to the catchability (probably not a word) of the ball. Of course, Bethel didn’t help himself by not turning around, but it was his 1st game back so maybe those penalties will serve as a wake up call for him. As for all of the OL gaffs, I don’t know if it’s just hangover from last year or what, but they were big momentum killers. Pat can’t be expected to make magic on every 3rd & 10+. As Kliff said since he came home, you can’t have that many penalties and turnovers and win the game. You can’t. And coupled with the drops we had throughout the game, it’s easy to see why the score was the way it was.
MeestahRogers – I mentioned this to other staff during the game, but I hate the ref crew led by Reggie Smith. It seems like every time they call a Tech game, weird things happen. For example, the first game they called for Tech was the home game against TCU two years ago, and references to that game still come up all the time. And no, I’m not saying that this crew calls against Tech and it has some to do with Tech being outmatched on Saturday and playing reserve players, but going from 4 or 5 penalties per game the past 3 weeks to having 17 called on Saturday is eye opening. I was trying to pinpoint which penalties or situations where the penalties were most frustrating, but they all were. They all seemed to happen at the worst time. It seemed like every punt return had a block in the back call. The offensive line calls were frustrating. It was apparent Tony Morales was a little rusty having 3 false start calls and Kaster had his hands full with Billings. And for more evidence of Oakman being over hyped due to his size, he was neutralized for the second year in a row in this game and that devastating block by LeRaven Clark where he absolutely destroyed Oakman was awesome. I know it’s not really a time to boast, but I smirked thinking back on Oakman’s comments about being Clark every play.
Michael_LSRR – Tech came in at +5 and left at +2 after two lost fumbles, two interceptions from Mahomes, and one defensive interception. The Mahomes interceptions were both poor decisions out of sheer desperation, but as Brian pointed out on Twitter, one of them was essentially an “arm punt”. The fumbles were a bit troubling only in the sense that they were both while attempting to get extra yardage. It seems like it would always be a better idea to just go down instead of pulling for that extra yard or two. I know that’s not necessarily the case, and that in the moment, gaining more ground is all that is going through a player’s mind.
Brian DonCarlos – Welp, the good news is we’re still in plus territory with turnovers. The bad news is we may not stay that way for long if the secondary doesn’t start pulling in more interceptions. It is somewhat encouraging to see Tech’s defense actively try to strip the ball, though sometimes I wish they’d try to secure the tackle a bit more first. I also haven’t been too wowed by the zone coverage, but maybe that will start to tighten up with more experience and some non-elite offensive opponents.
MeestahRogers – I think we’ve seen a dip in forced turnovers these past few weeks due largely because of the caliber of team Tech has played. No body else on the schedule threatens the Tech defense like the past three teams have. I think Tech can start building on the turnover margin these next couple of weeks against some of the weaker teams in the conference.
Losing fumbles while the runner is fighting for extra yardage is irritating, but not something I feel comfortable condemning. The interceptions Mahomes threw were on some of the least advisable throws he’s made. And for some reason, maybe his health issue is still lingering, there were some throws from Mahomes that just hung in the air forever. Mahomes should continue to improve in decision making.