Saturday was a disappointing afternoon for a record crowd at Jones AT&T Stadium, to say the least. The most beatable Texas team that Texas Tech has played in over a decade came in and attacked the Red Raiders with the play action game against a wounded secondary while the offense made mistakes at critical times.
Crowd: The record crowd of over 60,000 was loud when the team gave them something to be loud about. I thought the 3 and out to start the game with the subsequent Texas TD on their first drive subdued the crown for the rest of the first half.
Stadium Operations and sound booth: Whoever is responsible for playing "Jump Around" before kickoff is an idiot. It's not ours. It's not original. It's not funny. It needs to stop. If it doesn't, I will make it my personal mission to find the party responsible and bring them to justice.
Game Ball: I thought Eric Ward and Darrin Moore played extremely well. Moore was singled up against Quandre Diggs and Ward fought a lot of zone coverages bracketed by Kenny Vaccaro and Carringotn Byndum. Over half of Seth Doege's completions and 2/3 of the passing yards came from Moore and Ward.
Offense: Usually, I have to break it out running game and passing game, but I think I have to do it by position groups here.
QB: Doege did what he could, but wasn't able to overcome the mistakes of others. Completion percentage was lower than usual. I thought he also was smart on when to try and run and when to stay in the pocket. No INTs for Doege also, which is what was needed in this performance.
RB: Kenny Williams ran hard and played well. Sadale Foster was second in carries and yards and I wonder if this is the beginning of those two being the 1-2 on the depth chart.
Outside receivers: See above with regard to Moore and Ward.
Inside receivers: No receptions for Jakeem Grant. The other time this happened was the OU game. Torres and Zouzalik caught one pass each. Torres had two early targets that he could not come up with. Amaro's absence plays a factor in the lack of production of IRs, but this has to improve over the course of the end of the season.
Offensive Line: Worst performance of the season. Untimely penalties, coupled with inconsistent run blocking really hurt this team. Waddle and McDaniel having penalties on the same drive as Tech was attempting to tie the game at 14 kept the offense from getting into a rhythm and while the offense overcame those penalties from a downs standpoint, it certainly affected the yardage standpoint.
Playcalling: There has been a lot of talk about the playcalling in the red zone and the decisions when to attempt a field goal, or go for it on fourth down. I think when the offense went three and out to start the game coupled with Texas driving for Touchdowns on their first two drives should have affected the approach offensively and it didn't. Kicking a field goal trailing 14-7 is a mirror image of kicking a field goal against OU trailing 14-10, which after that game Tuberville said deflated the team versus the Sooners. I've said before and say again that the coaches calling plays are well compensated to do so and are more qualified to make those decisions. What I do not understand, is the decision process to run the ball on 3rd down and long if there was not a plan to attempt to go for it on 4th down. The mid range passing game was there all day, and when Tech did decide it was time to attack on 4th down, it was probably too little too late.
Defense: Linebacker play is the biggest weakness on the defense right now. Smith has been a little more sure of himself in recent weeks, which has helped, but there is not much production from the other two positions. Terrence Bullitt was pulled in the th quarter after getting turned around on a Johnathan Gray run. Linebacker play may also be affecting the way Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson are playing run first in most situations, which is also part of why the Texas play action game was so successful.
Special Teams: I've said what I'm going to say about the field goal attempts, but it also has to be said that Ryan Bustin has had field goals blocked in consecutive weeks. If this team is intent on kicking field goals at the end of drives, then that needs to be fixed.
Officiating: There were some bad calls, but this one's not on the refs. Texas Tech didn't do enough on either side of the football to complain about the officiating.
In all, this game goes down as a missed opportunity. A 10 win regular season and Cotton Bowl is off the table, but there is still plenty to play for as Kansas will be in town this Saturday.