If anyone happens to know if this Texas Tech team is a bowl contender or a bottom-of-the-barrel Big 12 team, please feel free to share. Last week in Norman was one of the worst offensive performances I can remember. After two games against Power 5 opponents, the Red Raiders and the “Hair Raid” offense averaged just 15 points a game.
Tech fans on social media had all but written off the season, and some went as far as calling Matt Wells Kirby Hocutt’s worst hire yet; four games into his first year. To be honest, I had also chalked this year up to a rebuild. If you caught this week’s Ten12 Podcast picks, our guys were a little confused on the OSU -10 line, and so was I.
Oklahoma State was bringing in one of the top offenses in the nation and the Tech defense looked less than stellar against Oklahoma. Not to mention backup quarterback Jett Duffey struggled all game long in his first start this year replacing Alan Bowman. This game had all the makings to get ugly for the Red Raiders which was evident by having approximately 15 students in the stands just 20 minutes before kickoff.
I’m not sure anyone could have predicted this. The Texas Tech defense set the tone from the very first possession and the offense followed their lead. The Red Raider front six was in the Oklahoma Stare backfield all game, including both a tackle for loss and sack-fumble during the first three plays. Texas Tech’s offense also started slow, after a three and out forced a field goal after the turnover, the next three possessions of the game resulted in punts.
On the Red Raiders’ third possession, Duffey and the offense found life. A six-play eighty-yard drive sparked the offense for the remainder of the game. Aided by two Spencer Sanders interceptions, Texas Tech jumped out to a 20-0 lead with ten minutes left in the half.
Sanders looked rattled the entire game as the Pokes weren’t able to get the offense moving until the final possession of the first half. After a shanked punt, the Cowboys took over on the Red Raider side of midfield. OSU fed their bell-cow running back Chuba Hubbard, who took things into his own hands, carrying the ball five straight times and scoring a touchdown with thirty seconds before the half.
Any momentum gained by the late-half OSU touchdown was quickly stifled as Duffey led the offense down the field 75 yards in 7 plays and 1:58 for a touchdown to start the third quarter. The Red Raiders fired on all cylinders and a late push by the Cowboys made the 10 point victory look closer than it was most of the game marking the first Big 12 wins of the Matt Wells era.
Key Plays of the Game
13:55 1st [OSU 3rd & 8 at OSU 27] – Eli Howard and Tony Bradford Jr. combine for a strip-sack of Spencer Sanders, recovered by Broderick Washington. After a TfL on the first play of the game, the defensive front got into the backfield once again, setting up a Tech field goal.
11:37 2nd [OSU 3rd & 7 at OSU 29] – Douglas Coleman III steps in front of a Spencer Sanders pass, forcing the third turnover of the first half for the Texas Tech D. This was the story of the first half and the second interception of the day which lead to a Red Raider touchdown to go up 20-0.
13:02 3rd [TTU 1st & 10 at OSU 21] – Jett Duffey throws a strike to T.J. Vasher for a 21-yard touchdown, capping a 75-yard drive on the first possession of the second half. After OSU scored with 30 seconds left in the half, Tech took the momentum back to start the second half with a long scoring drive to go back up 20 points.
8:26 4th [TTU 2nd & 7 at TTU 44] – Jett Duffey finds Erik Ezukanma who breaks free for a 56-yard touchdown. This was the nail in the coffin, putting Tech up 24 points with eight minutes left after another defensive stand by the 806 D.
Key Stats Of The Game
0 Offensive Turnovers – Everyone who has seen Duffey play knows he has had issues with decision making and plays a little loose with the ball. With the exception of one pass in the first half that probably should have been intercepted, Jett and the rest of the Red Raider offense did a great job with ball security.
5 Defensive Takeaways – The defense was the key to this one, consistently getting pressure on Sanders and forcing him into off-balance and quick throws. The defense also swarmed to the ball and tackled much better than what we saw in Norman
424 Passing Yards – One game removed from throwing for 120 yards, Duffey put up Mahomes-like numbers throwing for 424 yards against the Pokes defense.
Texas Tech Players of the Game
- QB Jett Duffey – 26/44, 424 Yards, 4 TDs, 5 carries, 16 yards, 1 TD
- WR T.J. Vasher – 5 Receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD
- LB Jordyn Brooks – 19 Tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 Sacks, 1 FF
- CB Douglas Coleman III – 4 Tackles, 2 INTs
The defense showed up in a big way – Just looking at the box score it might not seem impressive giving up 509 yards and 35 points, but the Red Raiders gave up 14 points and over 100 yards after going up by 24 points and switching to a soft defense mid-fourth quarter.
Jett Duffey can run the offense – I have been a Jett Duffey doubter, but he showed us today he can command this offense and take care of the ball, which has been a concern. With the exception of a few deep overthrows, Jett looked great behind center.
I have no idea what team is going to show up next week – I can’t figure out if Oklahoma is just that much better than the rest of the Big 12, if Yost and Wells were sandbagging last week, or if this week’s offense just came out of nowhere. Whatever it is, the Red Raiders gave fans a reason to be excited for the rest of Big 12 play.