I am not entirely sure to start with this one, so I am just going to put this out there:
I don’t think it would shock anyone to learn that Tech is considered the most unlucky team in college football. I am not sure if “blown fumble calls” were used in calculating this metric, but can only assume it would have furthered Tech’s “lead.” Can you be the leader of being unlucky?
The first half of this one was a snooze-fest with both teams scoring a combined nine points on three field goals. The game took a complete 180 after half as the first six drives netted a combined 34 points, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Kansas State that seemed to sum up Tech’s season. As soon as the Red Raider offense found any life and cut the deficit to three, defense/special teams gives up a big play.
Outside of the Oklahoma State game and the first half of West Virginia, Texas Tech has had a really hard time matching up all three facets of the game. The defense has forced turnovers or gotten big stops, just to see the offense fail to capitalize. A few possessions later, the offense will put together a drive and the defense will just look lost.
This season has done its best to fit in with the last decade of Tech football being just one play away and playing the what-if game. The Red Raiders have managed to lose five games by one score or less, including four games of three points or less.
Key Plays Of The Game
6:52 3rd [Kickoff] – Texas Tech had put together a 12 play 75-yard drive to cut the lead back to three before Joshua Youngblood fielded a kickoff on his own goal-line and proceeded to 100 yards without much resistance for a touchdown.
3:58 4th [4th & 8 TTU 42] – On a do-or-die possession, Jett Duffey found R.J. Turner streaking down the right sideline for a 58-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to three points and giving the Red Raiders new life.
2:23 4th [3rd & 11 KSU 24] – After gaining all the momentum, the Tech defense just needed one stop for a chance to win this one. With all three timeouts, the Red Raiders held KSU to -1 yards on two running plays. After playing solid cover defense all game long, Patterson brought pressure and put his defensive backs in man coverage, letting Skylar Thompson scramble for 17 yards and effectively end the game.
Key Stats Of The Game
Besides losing the turnover margin this game, Texas Tech looked pretty good, outgaining KSU 512 to 372, converting 26 first downs to 21, and having a fairly even time of possession. The Red Raider defense held KSU to 4/13 on third down, just not the one that mattered for one final chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the only statistic that really matters is points scored, which saw Tech 3 down when the clock hit 0:00.
Texas Tech Players Of The Game
- WR R.J. Turner – 7 Receptions, 141 Yards, 1 Touchdown
- RB SaRodorick Thompson – 21 Carries, 84 Yards, 1 Touchdown
No Bowl – I am not sure how many people really care if Tech makes it to the SERVPRO first responder bowl, but the team could have really used the extra practice this first year.
Wells Recruiting – A bright spot for the Red Raiders this week was landing 4-star receiver Loic Fouonji over Baylor, UT, and Oklahoma State. The best news from his commitment was his quote on Matt Wells:
“It is unique to have the head coach so involved in my recruitment, he has stressed how much they want me to join the program and has made me feel like a priority.”Loic Fouonji
After the known issues with Kliff Kingsbury on the recruiting trail, it’s reassuring to hear this straight from the mouth of recruits.
Losing Close Games – As frustrating as it is dropping close game after close game, the Red Raiders have played the majority of the conference tough. We know there are no moral victories, but I can’t help make comparisons with Baylor in 2017. A 1-11 team that dropped a ton of close games is now playing for the conference title two short years later. If anything gives Tech fans hope, this should be it, that good coaching and recruiting can turn a struggling program around faster than you might imagine.