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Recap: Texas Tech Starts The Matt Wells Era With A Win Over Montana State

Texas Tech impressed against a solid FCS team in Montana State.

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Texas Tech Red Raiders running back Xavier White runs with the ball - Getty Images - Icon Sportswire
Getty Images - Icon Sportswire

If you were afraid the Texas Tech offense was going to take a step back this year under a new coaching regime, your fears have been alleviated. At least for one week. The first possession for the Red Raider offense went 85 yards for a touchdown in 11 plays. Bowman slung it around going 8 for 8 in the first drive and capped it off with the touchdown pass.

There were a few hiccups for offensive coordinator David Yost’s group, but that is to be expected in the first game of the season. Up two touchdowns, Tech almost had a third when Xavier White caught a 35 yard pass inside the 5 yard line. However, White fumbled before he could punch it in.

The turnover eventually led to the only touchdown drive of the day for Montana State. They ran a few plays to get out of the shadow of their own end zone before facing a 4th at their own 26. With nothing to lose, Montana State coach Jeff Choate rolled the dice and ran a fake punt play. The gamble paid off and gave them a bit of momentum that carried them the rest of the drive. 

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The momentum would never swing back to Montana State’s side again. The Texas Tech defense made sure of that by only allowing 183 yards the rest of the game.

Tech spread the ball around as 10 different receivers hauled in receptions, and all three of the running backs all had multiple touches. They dominated the trenches and showed an impressive ability to sustain drives that lasted five minutes or more of game time.

Matt Wells has to be happy with his team’s performance. Texas Tech had no issues with their first opponent of the season.

Key Plays

9:26 1st [TTU 2nd & Goal at MTST 5] – Alan Bowman capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to McLane Mannix. For Texas Tech fans everywhere, this was a sigh of relief.

13:34 2nd [MTST 4th & 4 at MTST 26] – Callahan O’Reilly runs for a first down on a fake punt knocking the Red Raider defense off guard. This propelled them to what would be their only touchdown drive of the game. 

9:13 2nd [TTU 2nd & 4 at TTU 31] – Armand Shyne broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run. This was a quick response after the Montana State score, and it quickly and firmly put the momentum back with the Red Raiders. 

7:16 3rd [MTST 4th & 1 at TTU 26] – Jordyn Brooks tackled Montana State ball carrier Casey Bauman for no gain to prevent the 4th down conversion on their first drive of the second half. 

13:13 4th [TTU 2nd & 10 at MTST 45] – Alan Bowman threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Xavier White. This play appeared to be the same 3-vertical route pass play that White had fumbled on earlier in the game. So, it was nice to see the freshman get a second chance and pull through this time. 

Key Stats To The Game

8 Three-And-Outs – The Texas Tech defense seemed to force more three-and-outs this game then the last 5 years combined. That is hyperbole…I think. Regardless, it felt great to see as a Red Raider fan. 

255 Rushing Yards – Texas Tech had their way with the ground game. It was obvious Texas Tech’s lines on both sides of the ball were the superior athletes, and all three running backs for Texas Tech flashed promise for the season. 

Montana State 2-16 on 3rd down – This obviously goes hand in hand with the first Key to the game, but the fact that Montana state struggled to reach the sticks on 3rd down all game really made the defense feel suffocating.

Texas Tech Players Of The Game

  • Alan Bowman, QB – 40 of 55, 436 yds, 2 TDs
  • Jordyn Brooks, LB – 11 Tackles, 4 Solo, 1 TFL
  • Armand Shyne, RB –  11 Carries, 125 yds, 1TD

5 Remaining Thoughts

Bowman Is Back! – It was great to see Allen bowman back on the field. He was slinging it all over, and after today he is the nation’s leading passer once again. He looks to be healthy, enjoying himself, and ready to lead this team.

Texas Tech Tackling – Outside of one play that I can think of, the tackling of the Red Raider defense was extremely impressive. It seemed like all game long the defense was delivering blows and wrapping up the ball carrier. Often it only took one player to bring down the opponent and the missed tackles were at a minimum. What a change from the recent memory and if you are a Red Raider fan cross your fingers this can last all season.  

Penalties – Texas Tech had four penalties for 29 yards. It’s a welcome change if this type of discipline can continue. 

Blitzing – It seemed like Tech defenders were always in the backfield with multiple stunts and blitzes being dialed up even on key downs. Jordyn Brooks was everywhere, and I believe the aggressive nature of the play calling really contributed to the success he and the defense had today. 

FCS Team – While Texas Tech dominated this game in every way, it is important to remember the opponent. Montana state made some nice plays and they are a solid FCS team. They were ranked 15th in the pre-season. However, it was expected that Texas Tech would dominate and it is tough to know how much we can really take from this game. With that said, Texas Tech took care of business and did what they needed to do. It is great to have football back and this team has done nothing to give us to worry about. That is more then can be said for a few of our rival Big 12 teams. 

Game Highlight

Matt Wells Post Game Press Conference

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