The last time Texas Tech played a night game in Waco, Bill Clinton was president, and Y2K was on the horizon. In 1999, it was Texas Tech rolling to a 35-7 win and 23 years later it was the Red Raiders taking care of business again with a 39-14 win over the Bears. Here are three thoughts on the game.
Brooks Is HIM
Every season, there is one Big 12 running back who takes the entire league by storm, and this year, it’s fair to say that running back is Tahj Brooks. The senior back rushed for 170 yards and a score, his fourth consecutive 100+ yard rushing game. Brooks’ had the most rushing yards by a Raider since Deandre Washington’s 173 yards in 2015 against Texas.
Tahj Brooks over his last 5 games:— Money Mainville (@RyanMainville) October 8, 2023
548 rushing yards
6.7 yards per carry
I keep waiting for these to get less insane and they haven’t. Texas Tech has an elite running back in the backfield.
With Brooks leading the rushing attack, Texas Tech owned the time of possession and did anything they wanted. Every week, Texas Tech seems to find a new way to use Tahj Brooks. On Saturday, he only caught one pass, but I wouldn’t be shocked if next week, against Kansas State, he has more targets with the same amount of touches. Could Brooks win Offensive Player of the Year?
Right now, I think he has to be in the conversation, especially if this Tech team competes for a conference championship appearance.
Wake Up, Baylor!
Baylor looked like they were sleepwalking through most of the first half, and when they finally did come back to life, it was too late to do anything. It was 17-3 at the half, and Baylor still looked like they might have something up their sleeve. Instead, like a sad birthday clown, Baylor head coach David Aranda pulled out a dirty handkerchief to start the second half. There is a difference between playing aggressively and making bad decisions. Baylor did the latter, converting 1-6 fourth-down attempts and turning the ball over on downs three times in the second half.
It also didn’t help that Baylor was unable to run the ball at all against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had 17 total rushing yards, which wouldn’t be enough yards to beat a good FCS team, let alone a conference rival. The lone bright spot in the loss for Baylor was quarterback Blake Shapen, who looked good in only his third start this season, throwing for 324 yards and a touchdown.
This Baylor team is in dangerous waters now, having to win four of their next six games to get to six wins. They play at Cincinnati, home against Iowa State and Houston, then on the road again for Kansas State and TCU, before ending the season at home against West Virginia. I don’t count four wins.
Revenge was on the Menu
Texas Tech didn’t just need this win for this season, but the Red Raiders likely had last year’s 45-17 loss to Baylor on their minds, giving them extra motivation. But I think that is only part of it. On top of trying to repay Baylor the favor of getting stomped on at home, I think the Texas Tech coaching staff and players were in the mood to flex their collective muscles after some of the conversations people were having when this team was 1-3. I’m just as guilty, having written them off after the West Virginia loss two weeks ago. But now, Texas Tech is 3-3 and very much in the race for the Big 12 Title.
At the halfway point of the season, they look like a team that, at worst, will be bowl-eligible by the first week of November.