I have been a Texas Tech football fan since around 1999, my junior year of high school. I am struggling to remember a time I have seen a more lackluster effort by the good guys. I was there when Tech lost to Kansas at home 31-34 in double overtime in 2001. I watched the Red Raiders drop one 15-60 on the road at OU. The only scores that day came on a kickoff return for a touchdown and a 67-yard flea-flicker. P.S. OU tallied two safeties that day. It was bad. On the road at Colorado in 2002, man, Kliff threw 4 picks (including a pick-6) and fumbled into a scoop and score. It was rough. 2003 in Stillwater, Tatum Bell had a 95-yard touchdown run, ouch. Tech posted a 28-point 4th quarter and Joey Hawkins snagged two onside kicks but it was all for naught with a BJ Symons pick to end it. OU in 2008 was a tough one – I’m sure you remember. Then there were the dark days, the Tuberville years. We’re Tech fans, this list could be very long. But last night, the Red Raiders delivered a performance unworthy of the capabilities of this team. The problem is I’m not sure if they underperformed, or if this is who they are.
I haven’t been shy in my breakdowns previously to share that I don’t know who this team is yet. Montana State is a better-than-average FCS team and the performance was pretty good but didn’t feel dominating. UTEP is a bottom-of-the-heap FBS team and it felt even less so than before. So going against a struggling FBS program on the road I had no idea what to expect. I picked the game on what I thought Tech was capable of, a strong offensive performance taking advantage of a really poor defense. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders made them look like world-beaters.
From the beginning, it felt like Tech’s offense had been gutted. I know we’re used to a higher-flying Air Raid offense and knew there would be changes, but man, the constant poorly executed (and often ill-advised) use of the screen felt like a return to the days of the screen and/or the wildcat under Tommy Tuberville and Neal Brown. 2nd and 20? Let’s go lateral. Lots of arguments and hopes have been pinned on the staff keeping things vanilla early and opening up the playbook now. Well, maybe they did a little of that, but it’s hard to go downfield when your quarterback is in a sophomore slump. Bowman struggled to hit open receivers, struggled to make quality reads, and was potentially injured again. If his shoulder was not dislocated or his collarbone broken on the hard hit he took I will be surprised. He gutted it out and had his best drive of the evening to follow. I know a little has been made of Bowman’s delivery and arm angle but at times he slipped into a true sidearm delivery and it burned him.
In writing that list above, I’m realizing the difference between those and Tech’s disappointing road loss yesterday was grit. This team didn’t fight, they didn’t scrap, and it didn’t feel like they’d be able to. They appeared confident and more athletic, but the defense got gassed and suddenly, a seven-point deficit felt like an unsurmountable difference, and then it got bigger.
The defense did their part, Douglas Coleman snagged two interceptions and almost grabbed a third but unfortunately, it hit him right where a defender doesn’t want it – in the breadbasket. Jordyn Brooks tallied 13 tackles, all solo, which is nice. He also fell on a fumble for Tech. But perhaps it illustrates the difficulty this team had with Arizona’s offense when Douglas Coleman is the second-leading tackler with 10 of his own.
I don’t really have any awards. I was intensely disappointed in the football product that the Red Raiders put on the field last night. I’m not ready to say they were poorly coached, I know there are injuries on both lines that hurt this team last night, but overall I’m about as disappointed as I’ve ever been in a Texas Tech football performance. I know, TJ Vasher had a circus catch, McClane Mannix had a nice night too. Your punter looked like the best player on the field, kudos to him but that doesn’t equal a good day. That one hurt my eyes and my heart.
Mike Defee is trash. This is the most butt-hurt, ridiculous, thin-skinned example of football officiating I’ve ever seen.
Just a brutal end to the half for Texas Tech after Douglas Coleman picks off a Khalil Tate pass and subsequently picks up a personal foul for dismissing the head ref mid conversation, taking the Red Raiders out of field goal range
Jordyn Brooks reaction…..well that says it all pic.twitter.com/sXLb9ugawj
— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) September 15, 2019