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Questions have been surrounding Texas Tech since last year’s sloppy 4-8 campaign. One of those has been answered, but many more remain.

Tech has found their QB in Patrick Mahomes. He lived up to expectations by completing 33 of 53 passes for 425 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. The defense however, did not. David Gibbs is supposed to bring a new identity to the squad in his first year as defensive coordinator, but it looked like the same ol’ Tech we’ve come to expect of the years. Sam Houston State decimated the Red Raiders for 637 yards and six touchdowns.

The Red Raiders got a 59-45 win, however head coach Kliff Kingsbury was not all too thrilled.

I thought Pat moved around, made some plays, protected the ball fairly well, but a lot of those young receivers, just no killer instinct. When we had a chance to put them away, didn’t do it.” coach Kingsbury said.

Game Stats

Sam Houston

Texas Tech

1st Downs  34 29
3rd Down Eff 9-15 9-16
4th Down Eff 0-1 0-1
Total Yards 637 611
Passing Yds 320 437
Pass Comp 36-52 34-57
Yds Per Pass 5.9 7.7
Rushing Yds 317 174
Rush Att 46 31
Yds Per Rush 6.9 5.6
Penalties 5-47 10-69
Turnovers 4 1
Fumbles lost 2 0
Picks Thrown 2 1
Final Score 45 59
1st Qtr 14 14
2nd Qtr 17 28
3rd Qtr 0 17
4th Qtr 14 0

 

Key Point In The Game

One positive for the Red Raiders defense was their ability to generate turnovers against the Bearkats. On Sam Houston’s opening drive of the second-half, Tech DB J.J. Gaines nabbed a Jared Johnson overthrow and took it back 47 yards for a touchdown. It was just the jolt of confidence the struggling defense was looking for, and from that point on TTU had full control of the game.

Positives For Texas Tech

Offensive Production – Patrick Mahomes had a field day through the air, but Tech also racked up 174 rushing yards on the ground. DeAndre Washington averaged 5.7  yards per play and ended up with 74 yards on 13 carries. In short, Tech’s offense looks sharp thus far. Patrick Mahomes did have an interception but he also had two blatant drops for touchdowns in the second half.

Turnovers – Texas Tech ranked last in the Big 12 and 116th in the nation for turnovers in 2014. It was a focus throughout the offseason, and while not much else worked on that side of the ball, turnovers was an area of improvement. They forced two fumbles and picked the ball off twice.

Negatives For Texas Tech

Same Ol’ Defense – This Red Raider defense simply could not tackle or defend on Saturday. While Tech defenders did seem to be more disciplined in holding their respective gaps and assignments than last years squad, there were an extremely high number of missed tackles. The Bearkats did a great job of shedding one Red Raider after another for extra yards after initial contact. There are real concerns lingering after giving up 637 yards and 45 points. Although 14 of those points did come after the game had been decided.

Dropped Passes – Tech had it clicking against SHSU but there were many drops throughout the game that will, no doubt, give the young head coach nightmares. Particularly one from Justin Stockton and one from Reginald Davis. Both would’ve been easy touchdowns and both were in the second half. This was the first game of the year and there is an expected “rust factor.” However dropped balls in an Air Raid offense is very problematic and can really kill the tempo which is vital to an offense like Kingsbury’s.

What The Win Means

Like most opening wins for FBS schools, this one doesn’t mean much more than a 1-0 record. Before this game, the Red Raiders had many reasons to be both optimistic and concerned for their 2015 season. I would say that both of those factors still remain.

Red Raider Players Of The Game

Patrick Mahomes – The sophomore’s ability to extend plays was seen all throughout the game. He was also able to spread the ball around. Ten different Red Raiders had catches. In addition to Mahomes’ passing performance, he has some wheels, and added 48 rushing yards to his overall day. He was in full command of his offense, looking more like a senior than a sophomore.

Jakeem Grant – Grant was thought by some to have performed below expectations last year. The word coming out of Spring practice, however, was that the college football world should get ready to hear Grant’s name a lot more. So far, so good for the senior. He finished with six catches for 71 yards. On top of that, half way through the second quarter after a Bearkats field goal, Jakeem took the ensuing kick off up the right sideline. He was seemingly contained but Grant slipped out of two tackles, found another gear and was off to the races for a 94-yard return for a touchdown.

Emptying The Notebook

There were two key aspects Red Raider Nation would be looking for in this game.

One was turnovers. Could they generate them and could they not give them away? Tech won the turnover battle 3-1 which was something they haven’t done in well over a season.

Another was David Gibbs’ new defense. Tech didn’t get the performance on that side of the ball they were hoping for and it looks to be a major concern. To put it in perspective, Tech scored 59 points yet the Bearkats still had 26 more total yards than the Red Raiders (637 to 611). A seemingly scary thought when you think about the Big 12 offenses that await Tech.

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