1. Game Links:
2. Winning is Better Than Losing. That is one of those truths and it is true from the standpoint that this certainly felt better, but I also realize the competition wasn’t great. The nice thing was that the the offense asserted itself and the defense held Kansas for a near-shutout. I should just go ahead and mention that the 14 points scored late are just unimportant to me and yes, Kansas scored, but it was against third teamers and stuff happens. The challenge is upcoming and we all know that as the backend of the season winds to an end. And it’s difficult for me to take a huge breath here, this is what was supposed to happen, but I was honestly on pins and needles as to whether or not it would. I did expect the Kansas offense to be better, but they were stymied pretty much all day.
3. An Offense Based on the Ground. Texas Tech has Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor upcoming and how does a team with a shakey quarterback situation make sure that they can keep things close against teams that are as good, if not better, than you? Maybe you figure out how to be a running team that can assert themselves to the point of being a real threat so that you don’t have to rely on any given quarterback as much and attempt to keep games close and/or pull away from teams? Kansas has a terrible front 7, just terrible, so this isn’t the game to maybe judge this question, but it does make me think a bit in that maybe this game-plan by Sonny Cumbie was absolutely intentional and intended to take advantage of a Kansas weakness and an attempt to be something a bit different than who Texas Tech is.
Texas Tech ran 42 times for 244 yards and averaged 5.8 yards an attempt while only attempting 25 passes for the day. Passing wasn’t really necessary. It just really wasn’t and you also run for 244 yards without having one player over 100 yards and you spread the wealth to 10 different runners on the day and you have 4 players score a rushing touchdown, including your back-up quarterback, your starting quarterback, an inside receiver, and an outside receiver.
4. The Defense Played Good, But Am Definitely Holding My Breath. The coaching staff is pretty adament with this 3-man and 2-man front stuff. One of the things said after the game and one of the things said during the week was that you should pay no attention to the down linemen, but rather pay attention to the down linemen and the linebackers who end up on the line. That’s your 4-man front and that’s just not true. Of course, the coaches could say to just look at Kansas or some other terrible team that runs a 4-man front and they were just run the damn hell over. I’d probably state that when you have teams that are dominant or good running teams, bringing up linebackers to take on linemen and expecting good results is where that plan ends up creating defensive issues. After the game, Wells praised the versatility of the defense, being able to play with 2-down linemen and 4 or 3 linebackers to fill the gaps and let’s see that plan against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? That’s the litmus test for me, not Kansas.
5. Credit Where Credit is Due. The defense did play really well. The first half, I think Kansas had 72 total yards, which is absolutely dominant, and Kansas couldn’t muster a significant positive play for the most part. Kansas had 52 total yards in the 1st quarter, 20 in the 2nd quarter, 72 in the 3rd, and 122 in the 4th. That 4th quarter makes those defensive statistics look a lot worse than how dominant they really were and for the most part, to hold a team to just 72 1st half yards is a significant accomplishment. Kansas’ starting quarterback averaged 3.8 yards per attempt and the back-up was better, but by that time the dogs had largely been called off. Kansas converted 1 of 5 3rd downs and to only have a handful of third downs means that they didn’t really have the ball and when they did, they couldn’t do anything with it.
6. Everyone Gets a Jet Sweep. Everyone gets the ball. That was the mantra of Cumbie, which was to make sure that your best playmakers had the ball in their hands. Erik Ezukanma didn’t disappoint, you sort of forget how good he is when he doesn’t get the ball, but Cumbie remedied that. I’m not a huge fan of running horizontally, but if the receivers block and you know that there’s a bad open-field tackling team in front of you, then sure, why not. Most of these good teams are going to be significantly better at pursuit, but at the very least, you sort of allow for the opportunity to force an opposing defensive coordinator to prepare for something different. This philosophy is better than doing what you normally do, which is attempt to pound a square peg in a round hole and I’m happy to see it.
7. Nit-Picks and Pick-Me-Ups.
- There were zero punts today by Texas Tech.
- That should be Kansas’ full-time uniform and logo. It’s just better than that KU.
- Landon Peterson got his first start maybe at left guard. I know Landon’s brother, lives in the same town as me, so congrats to the Peterson family. If that was the first start, that’s a huge accomplishment.
- Is Mason Tharp the best tight end on the team? That’s not a knock against Koontz, but I think Tharp is already there.
- Myles Price is another guy that I think they wanted the ball in his hands, 3 carries for 25 yards and 2 for 20 receiving.
- Rayshad Williams had 2 pass break-ups and caused the lone pick I think.
- Two more made field goals by Jonathan Garibay, and he’s made all 9 of them thus far this year.
8. M.A.S.H. Unit Continues. I had forgotten about some of the injuries in my 7 Point Preview, but some good news is that Malik Dunlap did return, so that’s more cornerback depth. Reggie Pearson also returned at safety. Left tackle T.J. Storment, center Dawson Deaton, defensive tackles Tony Bradford and Troy Te’O, cornerback Adrian Frye, running back Tahj Brooks, and receiver J.J. Sparkman were all out for yesterday’s game. Wells said that Deaton was day-to-day and could have gone if needed. That’s a lot of injured players. Concerning for sure.
9. Welcome to the Donovan Smith Era.
Volume up on this one 🔊
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) October 16, 2021
This was fun and I would like to see more of this. Donovan, welcome to the show and whoever #19 was, I’m sorry about the collateral damage. I would just tell you to wrap-up next time and this won’t happen. Smith was 4 of 5 for 70 yards and letting Smith throw the pigskin around a bit was perfect for yesterday. In fact, Smith had the longest completion of the day to Ezukanma for 47 yards and a near-touchdown.
10. Players of the Game
Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, come on down. An interception plus 2 pass break-ups and what should have been 2 more picks to go along with 3 tackles, he was the best player yesterday.
Swiss Army Do-It-All Defender of the Game: Tyree Wilson showed up today for sure. Only 3 tackles, but of them, 2 were for a loss. Being only 1 of 2 down linemen he really didn’t have much of a choice. True yeoman’s work there with Devin Drew who had 4 tackles on the day and Jaylon Hutchings with 2 tackles.
Player Finding His Way: I’ve given Eric Monroe a lot of heat for not-so-great play and I thought that yesterday’s was Monroe’s best game that I can remember. Only 3 tackles and a pass break-up, but that’s still okay.
Road Grader of the Game: Let’s give this to Peterson for his first start.
Eraser of the Game: Both Colin Schooler and Riko Jeffers were both solid, 6 tackles for Jeffers and 5 for Schooler. They had to be good.
Lighting a Fire: Erik Ezukanma with 76 receiving yards on 5 receptions, with 2 rushes and 13 rushing yards and a running touchdown. He’s electric when he gets the ball in his hands.
Choppin’ Wood: Much love to SaRodorick Thompson who had 13 rushes for 83 yards and was exhibiting some waggle to his game. Normally a straight-line runner without a bunch of missed tackles, he definitely had Kansas defenders missing.