Unfortunately, the Red Raiders had a Jekyll and Hyde persona this season. The Red Raiders started out the season hot, but things quickly went down hill when star quarterback Alan Bowman was injured. Then, against 21st-ranked at the time Oklahoma State, Texas Tech finally looked to have all facets of the game working. The defense forced five turnovers and Jett Duffey took control of the offense by accounting for five total touchdowns.
The big question on the Tech sideline this week was, what team would show up in Waco Saturday? Thankfully for Texas Tech, the team that took down the ranked Cowboys was the one that got off the bus to play the Bears.
This game started just how we all expected, as a defensive battle. Eleven possessions in the first half resulted in punts, turnovers, or a missed field goal. The remaining three possessions netted three points each: two field goals for Texas Tech and one for Baylor.
Going into halftime, Red Raider fans had to be feeling very good. The offense was moving the ball, slowed by two unfortunate turnovers in Baylor territory. The defense picked up right where it left off against Oklahoma State, forcing two interceptions by Michael Brewer, who didn’t have an interception through their first five games.
The second half opened up about as different as it could, the first three possessions resulted in touchdowns, two for Baylor and one for the Red Raiders, resulting in a 17-13 lead for the Bears. Both defenses found their footing, however, and a string of stops made the game feel like no one would score the rest of the way.
Backed up on their own 12 yard-line, the Red Raiders had one final chance with just over four minutes remaining. Duffey and Co sprung to life going the length of the field in nine plays. A 30 yard run on 3rd and 1 capped off the drive that put the Red Raiders ahead 20-17 with 1:37 remaining.
On the first play of the Bears’ final possession of overtime, a sack nearly resulted in a safety and backed Baylor up to their own one-yard line. Everything seemed to be in Tech’s favor and knocking off their second ranked opponent in two weeks seemed certain. Right when things looked good, the Red Raider defense allowed a twenty-yard pass, then seemed to go into a prevent defense, giving Brewer everything he could want underneath.
A few plays later, Baylor was knocking on the door and a dropped touchdown by Denzel Mims resulted in Baylor playing for overtime and kicking the tying field goal as time expired. Both teams scored matching touchdowns in the first OT leaving Wells a touch decision in the second. A run up the middle on third and long saw the Red Raiders set up with a fourth and two. Wells seemed to consider going for it but ran out Wolff, who drilled the field goal to go up by three.
At this point, the defense was gassed and it took the Bears’ offense four plays to punch the ball in for the winning score.
Things To Work On
Capitalize Inside The 25 – Tech had the ball inside the 25-yard line six times, kicking two field goals, scoring one touchdown, and turning the ball over three times (fumble, interception, downs). The Red Raiders have to find ways to get into the end zone and capitalize when they get the chance, in a game that went to 2 OT, converting any one of these chances could have been the difference of the game.
Get The Offense Rolling Early – The defense came up huge in the first half, only allowing three points. Getting the offense started early would give the defense a chance to rest and take the momentum from the opponent. Allowing the Bears to stick around, only down 3 at half when scoring three points kept momentum with Baylor knowing they were still in the game.
Wells has this team moving in the right direction – After the Oklahoma game, many people, including myself, were worried not only about the rest of the season but what the next few years would look like. It’s hard not to overreact after two very poor performances in a row. Whatever Wells did to light a fire under this team worked. The last two games have looked like a totally different team, the Red Raiders have given two ranked teams all they can handle and more.
This team has five winnable games in a row – This may sound crazy, but looking ahead at the schedule, the next five games are winnable for the Red Raiders. As a team who hasn’t won five conference games in a season since 2009, this seems nuts, but the way Tech has been playing, the next five matchups could go either way.
That loss will hurt for a while – Texas Tech had multiple opportunities to win this game. One stop with 1:37 left was all it would have taken. They also had opportunities to score from inside the 25 that resulted in 3 turnovers. A bizarre penalty call in the first overtime also hurt the Red Raiders (everyone who follows me on Twitter saw me go off on this), but this game came down to a few opportunities that Tech just did not take advantage of.