Matt Wells used the bye week to his advantage and the Red Raiders came out hot in Morgantown against West Virginia. Coming off the worst loss in recent memory (both in the opponent and the way the game was lost), David Yost finally opened up the playbook and had success early.
Jett Duffey missed on a couple of deep balls before getting hot and eventually throwing for 354 yards and a touchdown. Fans had taken to social media to express their frustration with the conservative offensive play calling and their plea for a more aggressive scheme was answered.
The way the Mountaineers have been playing on offense, this game was over in the first half. Texas Tech scored on their first five possessions, taking a 35-10 lead with eight minutes left in the first half. If you turned the game off at this point, you should be thankful. The next 38 minutes saw the two teams combine for only three points before WVU connected on a touchdown with five seconds to play.
After a 38-17 win, I expected to feel a lot better about this team, but looking back, the offense had seven drives to end the game that resulted in a total of three points and the defense gave up 498 passing yards. I am hoping the offensive struggles were a result of conservative play calling with the large lead, but the defense has not looked good, needing turnovers to keep Tech in the last few games.
Key Plays Of The Game
11:30 1st [3rd & 10 WVU 29] – In danger of the first drive stalling out, Jett Duffey connected with Erik Ezukanma for 24 yards and a first down that lead to the first score of the game.
9:10 1st [1st & Goal TTU 7] – West Virginia was knocking on the door trying to answer on their first possession of the game when the Tech front seven stepped up and stopped Kennedy McKoy in the backfield for a loss of six yards. The possession ended in a field goal for the Mountaineers.
7:27 1st [1st & 10 TTU 19] – Dalton Rigdon ran unguarded down the seam and Duffey put it on his fingertips for an 81-yard touchdown.
7:22 1st [1st & 10 WVU 33] – West Virginia needed to respond after the quick strike by Texas Tech, only to have Austin Kendall throw a pass that is deflected by a WVU receiver and the ball land in the lap of Douglas Coleman. Coleman’s FBS leading interception lead to a third Tech touchdown in three possessions and took the air out of the stadium.
Key Stats Of The Game
Four Turnovers – The Tech defense forced two interceptions, recovered two fumbles, and held for three turnovers on downs (which I personally think should count as a formal turnover). That is seven extra possessions for the offense, taking scoring chances away from the opponent.
Four Rushing Touchdowns – This team has struggled to capitalize in the red zone on multiple occasions. The ability to finish on the ground and score touchdowns can and did change the game for the Red Raiders.
498 Passing Yards Allowed – Clearly not a positive, the defense allowed 498 passing yards against a West Virginia offense that has not been good. The silver lining is that the defense only allowed 51 yards on the ground, but the secondary is going to need to tighten up down the home stretch.
Texas Tech Players Of The Game
- QB Jett Duffey – 24/34, 354 yards, 1 TD
- RB Ta’Zawn Henry – 22 carries, 67 yards, 2 TDs
- WR Dalton Rigdon – 3 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD
The Aggressive Offense Worked – We should be playing like a team that has nothing to lose. Tech will be underdogs each of their last three games, including two at home. Yost will need to show us what he did the first five possessions against WVU and attack the defense.
Turnovers Have Kept Tech in Games – Against better competition, Tech will need all the opportunities they can get. Defensive turnovers will give the Red Raiders the extra opportunities they will need down the stretch, if the defense can keep that up, good things will happen.
The Defense Needs to Improve – You won’t win many games giving up 500 yards through the air. Something has to click with the defense to start limiting passing yards. Patterson has his work cut out for him.
QB Options – Both Alan Bowman and Maverick McIvor are cleared to play. Bowman has one game left if he plans to redshirt, which Wells has mentioned. McIvor can play in each of the last the games and still redshirt. Wells and Yost will have some decisions to make on how much/little to play the three quarterbacks.