After last season’s bowl game victory vs. Minnesota, Spike Dykes described the win as “uglier than buzzard puke” on Twitter. I wonder what he had to say about last night’s 33-7 Red Raider victory over the Texas State Bobcats in Lubbock?
For the second week in a row, the Tech defense came to the rescue of a struggling offense. The defense held on two goal-line stands with the Bobcats threatening inside the five-yard-line; one ended in a Pete Robertson interception, the other a turnover on downs. The defense forced three turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown by linebacker Will Smith to keep the Bobcats at arms-length.
Freshman starting quarterback Baker Mayfield got the hook early in the game and was replaced by backup Davis Webb. That should give a since of the struggles on offense. On 48 attempts, Webb completed 19 passes for 310 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. That’s the definition of a gunslinger. Three of those completions went for more than 40 yards and one for 39. Webb chucked the ball downfield all night trying to make big plays.
Some of the biggest plays of the night came from short passes to receivers who did the rest of the work, including a quick slant to sophomore wideout Derreck Edwards who went 46 yards after breaking a tackle and getting a bone crushing block from tight end Jace Amaro. Incidentally, Amaro tied his own personal record with another nine-catch performance last night, giving him 29 receptions on the year.
The running game showed some signs of life as all backs turned in 118 yards on 33 carries, including five for 8+ yards. Sophomore DeAndre Washington would’ve had a touchdown on one such run were it not for a, you guessed it, holding penalty that negated the run and score.
The offensive line really struggled to protect the quarterback early, and things only got worse once starter Alfredo Morales went down with an apparently serious leg injury and was replaced by true freshman Baylen Brown. The right side in particular never got a good push.
If this team can ride the defense to six wins this year, great. Lots of senior leadership on that side of the ball, so this is their time. But if the offense continues to struggle scoring touchdowns and the defense takes a step back once competition improves, things could get bad for the Red Raiders in a hurry.