The pick for many to win the Big 12 before the season began recorded their first win of the season, albeit against FCS Tarleton State. Texas Tech scored 21 points in the first quarter on their way to a 41-3 home win that could get the ball rolling as the Red Raiders get ready to open up conference play next week.
Here are three thoughts on the game.
Red Raiders Get Right
Texas Tech Head Coach Joey McGuire spoke in the pregame about “getting right,” something the Raiders needed after everything going wrong in the first two weeks. That included back-to back losses to Wyoming on the road and Oregon at home, where in both games Texas Tech had the lead, McGuire’s team had to get right if they wanted a chance to compete (and win) the conference championship this season. Out of the gate, Tech looked better than they did in either game against their FBS opponents.
The Raiders forced three turnovers, all on interceptions thrown by the Texans’ Victor Gaballis. The first pick went for six points to get the Red Raiders on the board after Malik Dunlap took it to the house. Texas Tech allowed only 145 yards on the ground and fewer than 200 yards in the air while getting pressure all night, led by Myles Cole’s two sacks. The bottom line is that if Texas Tech’s defense plays well, it elevates this team to a level that might give other teams trouble in the conference.
Ground and pound
In Tech’s two losses, the running game was nearly nonexistent, with quarterback Tyler Shough having to do much of the heavy lifting with his own legs. While Shough didn’t look great in the passing game (10/20, 123 yards, and a TD), the running game was working. Tahj Brooks rushed for over 100 yards for the first time this season (158 yards on 19 carries). While Brooks wasn’t able to put any points on the board, McGuire and offensive coordinator Zach Kittley want the running game to set up the passing attack. While I still have questions about how consistent Tech can be with their game plan, showing that it’s possible to use Brooks effectively is a good sign.
Country roads to conference play
Texas Tech has one of the worst road trips in the Big 12 coming up, having to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers. WVU is coming off an impressive win of its own after taking down rival Pitt at home. The question mark around junior quarterback Garrett Greene’s health could be a game changer after Nicco Marchiol finished it out for West Virginia. Head Coach Neal Brown could also be coaching for his job for the rest of the season, so you know he will throw everything at Tech.
WVU has a good rushing attack and likes to chew up the clock. Next week’s match up could be low-scoring and a gutted-out effort, if Texas Tech wants to start their Big 12 season with a road win.