Ten Points from Texas Tech’s Loss to Texas


The night after Halloween there was a certain buzz in Lubbock for the game between Texas and Texas Tech. All of a sudden the team’s record didn’t matter, the Longhorns were in town, the fans were ready. The setting couldn’t have been better either, the Jones was in a frenzy, the crowd engaged, players focused, the stage was set for a Texas Tech win.

The Red Raider defense showed tremendous fight early on, pressuring Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and forcing a fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Tech’s defense also kept the Texas’ running game under control, limiting running backs Jonathan Grey and Malcolm Brown to short gains. Pete Robertson and VJ Fehoko played aggressively and were key in stopping the Longhorn offense early on. Also, while Nigel Bethel and the other corners played well for the most part of the game, they were burned by deep throws on a few occasions. Tech’s young corners have been going through a sort of baptism by fire this season and I expect them to be better for it next year, however it is troubling to see the defense put teams in third and long situations only to give up long completions and have stay on the field.

Texas Tech’s offense in the first half was a bit of a mixed bag, Mahomes’ passes seemed to be thrown with more certainty than Webb’s thus far this season, and his ability to rush the ball and extend plays helped keep drives alive. Unfortunately, Mahomes ability to extend the play probably also contributed to his injury and subsequent being forced to leave the game. On what looked like a designed quarterback run, Mahomes escaped the pocket and began to rush upfield when he was blindsided by Quandre Diggs. Mahomes was able to stand up afterwards but it was obvious that the hit had left him disoriented and possibly concussed.

True freshman walk-on Vincent Testaverde would come in after Mahomes departure and lead a touchdown drive of his own. Testaverde played well all things considered, but the offense was never the same after Patrick was forced out. The threat of an effective passing attack was almost nonexistent, and not at all helped by numerous dropped passes. In regards to the running aspect of Tech’s offense, DeAndre Washington was especially effective through the tackles, averaging 6.1 yards per carry for a total of 97 yards. Kenny Williams, Justin Stockton, and Quentin White were also utilized, albeit somewhat ineffectively.

In the first half Texas Tech probably played with the best emotion and rhythm they had thus far this season. Once Mahomes was forced to leave the game the passing offense was never really the same. Playcalling was also confusing at times, especially once Testaverde was in the game. DeAndre Washington and Kenny Williams were underutilized, while Testaverde was tasked with managing key third and fourth down situations, not ideal situation for a young walk-on quarterback in a tense rivalry game. In the second half the defense began to wear down once it was clear the Tech offense wouldn’t be able to sustain drives. This has been the narrative for the majority of the season but was especially hard to watch with how well Tech was playing on both sides of the ball early on in the game.

Texas Tech is now looking at the difficult task of needing to win-out in order to obtain bowl-game eligibility. However, this is probably the least of Kingsbury’s worries as now both his first and second string quarterbacks are sidelined with injury. Testaverde played admirably but would be facing tough defenses in upcoming games against both Oklahoma and Baylor. Tech’s best bet would be to utilize its upcoming bye week and see how either Webb or Mahomes have progressed.

Ten Points From Texas vs. Texas Tech:

  1. Mahomes- Patrick Mahomes began the game with much more presence and composure than I honestly thought he would, especially against a stout Texas defense. He wasn’t perfect by any means but brought a sort of reliability that Texas Tech hasn’t had this season with Davis Webb. Patrick’s throws seemed to come off his hand with much more confidence than Webb’s and the offense reflected that for much of the first half.
  2. The Hit- Unfortunately, Texas Tech lost Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter after a fairly vicious hit by Texas defender Quandre Diggs. From my vantage point the hit looked like it could have been flagged for ‘targeting’, however the example of ‘targeting’ isn’t clear and is rarely consistent. I’ve seen hits that were far less harder that were called for targeting and hits that were ten times worse than the one on Mahomes that weren’t called. However, the biggest reason the hit probably wasn’t called has more to do with Mahomes being a mobile quarterback that was out of the pocket at the time of the hit, the benefit of the doubt is always going to go with the defense in that situation.
  3. The Defense- The defense played tough and aggressive for the majority of the first half but fell behind and wore down significantly after Mahomes left the game and the offense was unable to sustain drives. There’s only so many times the defense can bail the offense out of the bad positions they found themselves in. The biggest negative with this defense is depth, or rather the lack thereof. That isn’t a quick fix but should be helped somewhat with the influx of standout 2015 recruits. Also, Mike Mitchell, former Five-Star linebacker for Ohio State, should be available next year.
  4. The Drops- Even before Mahomes was forced to leave the game Texas Tech’s receivers seemed to have trouble holding on to the ball. It would be one thing if this was an issue with the younger group of receivers but it seemed to be happening with veterans such as Marquez and Grant. The blame for this can go either way with some people blaming coaching and others blaming the players, in my opinion coaching only goes so far and then it falls on the player to just essentially ‘make the play’. Dropped passes have contributed a lot to Tech not being able to sustain drives and put up points on the board.
  5. The Jones- Judging by the level of energy in the stadium and the frenzied crowd you would never guess that both teams going into last night’s game were 3-5 overall. Texas Tech and the city of Lubbock won’t get enough credit for this but the atmosphere was incredible all things considered. I don’t know how many other schools would be able to have a crowd and atmosphere like the one last night if their school was 3-5. Heck, TCU was ranked in the Top 10 nationally and had trouble filling their stadium with their own fans a week ago.
  6. Testaverde- Vinny Jr. played admirably after Mahomes went down but walked into a really tough situation against a good defense. I think the best illustration of this came with Testaverde having to visit the Texas Tech sideline regularly to get the play from Kingsbury. It’s really tough to win with an inexperienced freshman quarterback, and an even bigger task with a true freshman walk-on.
  7. Washington- This could probably be said for all four running backs on the roster but is especially true of DeAndre Washington. The guy has done nothing but do everything he’s been asked to do thus far without complaint, he’s averaging ridiculous numbers on the ground and still hasn’t been utilized to his full potential. It was evident last night and probably will be for the next few games, but Washington was in full ‘Beast Mode’. The guy has been the backbone of the offense and deserves more carries. Feed. The. Beast.
  8. Playcalling- On the fourth down play that went incomplete to TE Tyler Scalzi, Testaverde missed a wide-open Kenny Williams that would have netted a first down. My main concern came with the coaches putting the responsibility of the play into the hands of Testaverde, rather than calling a heavy-formation run and letting the walking semi-truck that is Kenny Williams simply run through for the first down. It wasn’t a good idea to lean on your third-string freshman quarterback for such a pivotal play.
  9. Underrated- Quarterback depth: I thought last year was a bit crazy with Tech playing three different quarterbacks at various times during the season. Unfortunately, Texas Tech is in a bit of a similar situation this season due to injuries. I made the comment last night that for all the grief Texas Tech fans had for Seth Doege in 2011/2012 he would be absolutely killing it right now. Texas Tech has essentially been stuck playing hurt or inexperienced signal callers every game since the first game of 2013. A sure hand would do wonders for Tech and their offense.
  10. Overrated- Stay classy Longhorns, when asked about the hit he deliver to Patrick Mahomes, Quandre Diggs had this to say.