Texas Tech Falls to TCU: The Bigger Picture


The Saturday afternoon matchup versus TCU started off furious and fast for the Texas Tech offense with a 57-yard pass taken to the house by Kenny Williams. Texas Christian responded with a quick touchdown of their own and the stage was set for an epic shootout between the two former Southwest Conference rivals. Unfortunately for Texas Tech, the shootout would never happen; a series of unforgivable mistakes and miscues on all three sides of the ball would stymie Tech, leaving them outscored 58-10 following the first quarter. Sonny Cumbie and Texas Christian never looked back, piling on the yards and points, and in the process setting a Big XII single-game record of 82 points. To say that Texas Tech’s performance against TCU should be categorized as a disappointment would be a massive understatement, TCU didn’t exactly play perfect football and Tech also had their chances early on to stay within reach but the game shouldn’t have gotten away from Tech the way it did.

Simply put, the margin for error with this Texas Tech team has been non-existent, we’ve known this since the start of the season when Tech needed a late-game rally to defeat Central Arkansas. This speaks to a larger issue at hand; Texas Tech didn’t lose to TCU based on the ability or inability of one or two players, rather, they lost because of glaring issues on all three sides of the ball and inconsistency within the program itself. Irregularity at the defensive coordinator position has prevented Texas Tech from establishing depth at the defensive line and linebacker positions, and while Kevin Curtis has done a tremendous job of coaching the highly regarded cornerbacks, the fact remains that those positions are held by inexperienced underclassmen. Offensively, the departures of Eric Ward and Jace Amaro have hurt far more than anyone would have expected; there is talent at the skill positions but Tech lacks any experienced, ‘go-to’ receivers. Furthermore, the reliability of Ward and Amaro may have helped mask the inconsistency of quarterback Davis Webb, a 19 year-old sophomore. The problem of inopportune penalties and glaring fundamental issues speaks to the overall issue of inexperience among the players as well as the coaching staff. Texas Tech is a talented, albeit incomplete team coached by a staff that in some regards may be learning as they go.

There is no excuse for losing by over 50 points to a conference rival, but some perspective is needed. Last year at this point in the season both West Virginia and Texas Christian were in a similar position and look at those teams now. The fan base most definitely has a right to be upset, but this young team is going to take their lumps in a tough conference and be better for it later on. During tough times fans usually show their true colors, stay on the wagon this season win or lose, and hold this team accountable, it just might be worth it later on.

Ten Points from Texas Tech at TCU:

  1. Speeds Kills- Texas Tech started the game at a break-neck speed with a fairly balanced offense that included monster plays by both DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams. The play of the offense seemed to signal that Texas Tech wouldn’t merely lie down to TCU, however after a series of mistakes and penalties the offense essentially played its way out of this game plan and was forced to play ‘catch-up’ to the TCU attack. For a mistake and turnover prone team this was a disaster waiting to happen. After the mistakes began to add up Davis Webb seemed to force his plays and not go through his progressions at times. However, I feel like any remaining question of whether or not he is to remain the quarterback going forward was answered with Patrick Mahomes understandable freshman tendencies. Tech will feast and famine with Webb. Best Option? Depend more on your running offense and play-action.
  2. The Run Game- The four-pack of Washington, Williams, White, and Stockton were conspicuously absent from Texas Tech’s offensive game plan against TCU although they were ruthlessly effective against Kansas a week prior. Whether this was based out of the necessity of needing to play catch-up or just part of the overall gameplay it doesn’t make much sense to me. Early on both Washington and Williams were utilized effectively, keeping TCU honest and gashing them for yardage. It really felt like once Tech moved away from the ground game the pressure of offensive production started to come full bear on Webb.
  3. Injuries- Jakeem Grant, Davis Webb, Bradley Marquez, and Alfredo Morales all came out of the game and some point or another due to injury. With Tech facing Texas and Oklahoma in the coming weeks they’ll need all hands on deck.
  4. Sonny Cumbie- This one hurts, a lot. I know it was a professional decision for Cumbie to leave Texas Tech and accept the position at TCU. I wondered if at any point late in the game he would decide to grant Tech mercy, granted it would have helped if Tech could do their part and stop the Frogs.
  5. The Defense- I felt like the defense played well in some aspects and regressed in others. There were multiple times where Pete Robertson would over-persue TCU QB Boykin, missing the sack and allowing the quarterback to throw for a long completion or touchdown. Also, while Justis Nelson and Nigel Bethel both had bright moments I felt that Bethel in particular was burned by the speedy TCU receivers at key moments in the game.
  6. Tyin’ Shoes- Did anyone count how many times Gary Patterson tied, un-tied, and then retied his shoes?
  7. The Crowd- Even after upgrading their facilities so their capacity could actually be lower TCU seems to be a hard sell to their Fort Worth fan base. Mind you, this is also with a Top 10 TCU team. Also, good showing by the Red Raider faithful, the season isn’t going anything like people expected but the fans haven’t given up.
  8. Underrated- Not abandoning the run game early. While there is no way of knowing whether or not the result would have been different had Kingsbury not abandoned the running attack early on, I have to feel like being more balanced in their approach would have kept TCU honest and kept Davis Webb from self-destructing.
  9. Overrated- Perceptions of loyalty. Tech-TCU is quickly becoming one of the more underrated rivalries in the Big XII, there is no love lost between the schools and with each staff featuring one or more coaches that were once on the other team I don’t expect that to change.
  10. MVP- Texas Tech didn’t play well at all on any side of the ball, however I do feel that Bradley Marquez came through in clutch moments while obviously being in pain from what seemed like sore ribs.