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TCU’s Defense Shuts Down Texas Tech in Lubbock

The Horned Frogs shut down the Red Raider offense as they pick up a road win in Lubbock.

Getty Images - John Weast

TCU’s Defense Shuts Down Texas Tech in Lubbock

It was a cold and windy day in Lubbock, with gusts getting as strong as 40 miles per hour during the game between TCU and Texas Tech. This certainly made it a much more difficult day for the offenses. However, the biggest difficulty faced on the day was Texas Tech’s offense against TCU’s defense. TCU held the usually potent Red Raider offense to three points on the day, their lowest total since 2006.

TCU won the toss, and elected to defer to the second half. Tech received the kickoff and proceeded to set a national record on their opening drive. Texas Tech’s opening drive was 21 plays long, and took 8:52 of game time to culminate in a Clayton Hatfield 22-yard field goal. The 21 plays is a national record so far this season for most plays in a single drive. With over half of the first quarter already gone Texas Tech was up 3-0.

The following drive saw true freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson get his first start at the collegiate level. TCU had to be pleased with what they saw from the freshman. Robinson orchestrated a 10 play, 63 yard drive that was finished off with a bit of misdirection.

From the Texas Tech two yard line, Robinson lined up under center with Kyle Hicks lined up behind him. Robinson put KaVontae Turpin in motion and snapped the ball. Robinson faked the hand-off to Hicks, and then gave it to Turpin who walked into the end zone untouched towards the pylon.

Earlier in the drive Robinson was able to highlight some of what has TCU fans excited for the future. After an illegal chop block by the TCU offensive line, the Horned Frogs were looking at first and 25 from the TTU 48. Robinson took the next snap, raced around the offensive line, and was up field for 41 yards. It’s this kind of explosiveness that had Robinson so highly sought after coming out of high school.

After both teams got points on their opening drives, things began to stagnate. The TCU touchdown was followed by four consecutive punts, a missed 47-yard field goal by Texas Tech, two more punts, a TCU 43-yard field goal by Cole Bunce, and one final punt before half by Texas Tech. The score was 10-3 TCU heading into the half.

The second half started much the same way with four consecutive punts to open the half. Things got interesting on the next drive with TCU having the ball. On the second play of the drive from the TCU 25, Shawn Robinson took the snap and rolled to his left. After deciding to run he was met by a gang of Tech defenders. Justus Parker knocked the ball away from Robinson, and it was recovered by Vaughnte Dorsey on the TCU six yard line.

Texas Tech was now in prime position, just six yards away, from tying the game. Texas Tech’s first play went for zero yards on a run by Desmond Nisby, followed by an incomplete pass from Nic Shimonek. On third and goal, still on the six yard line, Justin Stockton was able to pick up four yards to get to the TCU two yard line.

In a seemingly uncharacteristic move Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury decided to kick the field goal. What followed can only be described as one of the worst 20-yard field goal misses you will ever see. My words won’t fully do it justice, so take a look:

TCU capitalized on the miss by driving 80 yards in 8 plays following the miss. On second down from the Texas Tech 12 yard line, Shawn Robinson found fellow true freshman Jalen Reagor wide open for a 12-yard touchdown reception. Reagor leads TCU in touchdown receptions with five on the season.

Things would start to really go downhill from here for Texas Tech. After putting together a really nice drive Shimonek fumbled the ball on a quarterback keeper. It came on an incredible well designed play where the middle of the field was cleared out and Shimonek got free following his center up the field.

Following the fumble TCU drove 78 yards to the Red Raider 8-yard line, and would settle for a field goal. The score was now 20-3 TCU, and there were seven minutes left to play in the game.

Once again, Texas Tech started to put together a drive. Driving all the way down to TCU’s 11-yard line it looked like Texas Tech would finally be able to score their first touchdown of the game. On 1st down Shimonek looked towards Dylan Cantrell, who was being covered by TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney. Gladney went for the swat, but was able to trap the ball against his body, and secure the interception.

From there it was a foot race that Gladney wasn’t going to lose. Gladney went 93 yards untouched for the score. The Horned Frogs were now up 27-3 and that would end up being the final score.

TEAM STATS

MATCHUP TCU TTU
1st Downs 17 21
3rd Down Eff 4-12 9-20
4th Down Eff 0-0 1-2
Total Yards 289 327
Passing 85 153
Comp-Att 6-17 18-36
Yards Per Pass 5.0 4.3
Interceptions 0 1
Rushing 204 174
Rush Att 42 41
Yards Per Rush 4.9 4.2
Fumbles Lost 1 1
Penalties 6-55 5-55
Possession 30:00 30:00
PASS LEADERS C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
TCU – S. Robinson 6/17 85 14.2 1 0 74.1
TTU – N. Shimonek 17/33 137 8.0 0 1 12.4
RUSH LEADERS CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
TCU – S. Robinson 10 84 8.4 0 41
TTU – J. Stockton 21 124 5.9 0 32
RECEIVING LEADERS REC YDS AVG TD LONG
TCU – S. Olonilua 1 28 28.0 0 28
TTU – D. Cantrell 7 55 7.9 0 16

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

The Saddle Trophy, the recently brought back to life trophy, will now reside in Fort Worth for the year. I said in my preview piece, but I think this trophy is actually pretty cool looking. I’m glad that TCU and Texas Tech are leaning more into their rivalry.

Shawn Robinson looked very much like you might expect a true freshman to look in his first career start on the road. He flashed moments of brilliance, but also had a lot of moments that showed his inexperience. Particularly, Robinson needs to take care of the ball better. Robinson was fortunate to only lose one of his three fumbles.

On the pick-six by Jeff Gladney, he actually dropped the ball before crossing into the end zone, but recovered it himself before any damage was done. So in one play Jeff Gladney had an interception, fumble, and fumble recovery. I’m sure he will get an ear full from Gary Patterson about handing the ball to an official, and not even risking it.

Justin Stockton was great on the day for Texas Tech. The senior running back averaged over five yards per carry, and finished the day with over 100 yards rushing. With how good TCU’s run defense has been this year, this performance was a testament to just how good Stockton is.

On the other hand it was surprising how little Keke Coutee was involved for Texas Tech. Their leading receiver on the season was held to two receptions for 10 yards. Give some credit to TCU’s defense, but Kingsbury needs to figure out a way to get Coutee more involved. He is just too talented to only have two receptions.

TCU moves to 9-2 on the season, and is currently in sole possession of second place in the Big 12. TCU plays Baylor this upcoming Friday, and if they win that game then they will face Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship. There are still paths to the Big 12 championship with a loss, but a win would leave no doubt.

If TCU wins on Friday it will also be the third time in the last four seasons that TCU will have had a 10-win season.

Texas Tech is now 5-6 on the season, and will have to win their final game of the season to get to bowl eligibility. Texas Tech will face off against Texas on Friday night in Austin. Not only will this game determine bowl eligibility for the Red Raiders, but some are speculating that it could decide Kliff Kingsbury’s fate as head coach for Texas Tech.

TCU and Texas Tech have now split the series 3-3 against each other since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012.

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