Ten Takeaways from Texas Tech’s victory over UTEP


During Saturday’s “White-Out” – themed game, Texas Tech absolutely dominated a home opponent for the first time since early 2013.

The team performance against the University of Texas–El Paso came as a welcome relief, as last season’s non-conference woes remained fresh in minds of many Texas Tech fans. However, similarly to last week, first-half defensive struggles were once again excruciatingly evident early on. The Texas Tech defense struggled to bring down UTEP’s ball carriers in space, particularly stand-out running back Aaron Jones. By the second quarter Texas Tech would regroup and put on quite the show for the 2015 Celebrate Cotton “White-Out” game.

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Saturday’s matchup could best be described as a tale of two halves. For much of the first half Texas Tech’s defense struggled to find its “killer-instinct,” and allowed Miners’ Aaron Jones to run roughshod through the Red Raider secondary en route to a pair of highlight-worthy touchdowns runs.

However, the offense was a completely different story in the first half; quarterback Patrick Mahomes began the day white-hot and racked up 361-yards on 18 of 33 passes. In total, Mahomes would throw four touchdowns through the air and would also account for a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant, Devin Lauderdale, and DeAndre Washington would have great days offensively, accounting for over 300-yards as a trio. The Texas Tech offense relied on a pass-heavy attack for much of the day as they sought to exploit a weak Miner secondary. However, rushing production would increase as Texas Tech began to pull away in the second half with DeAndre Washington averaging 11.5-yards on twelve carries and a break-out run of 51-yards. Justin Stockton’s speed continues to bolster the one-two punch of the Texas Tech rushing attack and even second-team quarterback Davis Webb joined in on the fun with a pair of rushing touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, Texas Tech seemed to be stuck rehashing last week’s performance against Sam Houston State for the first two quarters of the game on Saturday. However, things really began to heat up for the Red Raider defense once true freshman Breiden Fehoko absolutely abused the Miner offensive line and buried the ball carrier for a huge loss. The defense shored up and began to dominate the line of scrimmage in the second half by pressuring the Miners’ signal caller, and keying on the run and play-action throws. David Gibbs’ defense also added a few more notches to the turnover ratio by forcing the Miner offense to cough the ball up twice in the game.

Patrick Mahomes II continues to provide Texas Tech’s offense the spark that it was largely missing during the 2014 campaign. Mahomes has thrown for 786-yards in his first two starts of 2015, and has led Texas Tech to second in the nation in total offense behind a veteran offensive line and a stout running attack. Texas Tech will need to continue to improve defensively, but if Mahomes and the offense can maintain their level of efficiency as the season goes on, making a post-season appearance may not seem so far-fetched.

Ten Points From Texas Tech vs. UTEP:

  1. Patrick Mahomes II: QB1 for Texas Tech continues to be the difference maker so far in 2015. His elusiveness and steady style of play has brought a high-powered efficiency to the Texas Tech offense, and may even have an effect on the Texas Tech defense, which seemed to play with a reinvigorated passion in the second half on Saturday.
  2. Defense: The aforementioned group began the day shakily, but rebounded and locked down a UTEP running attack that mauled them a year ago.
  3. Receiver Production: Perhaps it’s the “Mahomes” effect, or the young receivers are benefitting from another year under the Texas Tech system, but receiver production has so far increased tremendously. Drops plagued the wide-outs last year in El Paso, and seemed to effect the confidence of the receivers. However, save for a few early drops, the receiving corps maintained confidence and seemed to put the game out of reach for the Miners.
  4. Explosive Play: Another facet of the Texas Tech offense that seemed to disappear last year was the amount of explosive plays. DeAndre Washington’s long runs and Justin Stockton’s screen reception to the house were just a few of the many will-breaking plays Texas Tech executed on Saturday.
  5. Turnovers: The Texas Tech defensive rebound this season has placed a substantial emphasis on increasing turnovers, and the defense did just that by forcing a pair of turnovers against UTEP. Time will tell if the Red Raiders can keep this up once conference play arrives, but already David Gibbs’ presence has had an effect.
  6. Celebrate Cotton: Fashion faux pas aside, Texas Tech’s Celebrate Cotton “White-Out” game is a good look on the field, in the stands, and is also very important to the West Texas region.
  7. Mortal Kombat: Texas Tech struggled to put Sam Houston State away when they had the opportunity last week. That was not the case on Saturday where Texas Tech’s offense piled on the points in a blow-out victory against the Miners. Texas Tech’s ability to put opponents away when they have the chance will go a long way to winning close games during conference play.
  8. Underrated: The “fun” factor— routing an opponent at home is always fun, especially when there is an obvious improvement on all three sides of the ball. There wasn’t a lot of fun last year for Texas Tech in general, but especially against UTEP. It was good to see the fans and team enjoy the victory.
  9. Overrated: Day games in Texas during mid- September. It’s still hot out there folks, bring on evening games at The Jones. 
  10. Final Thought: Coach Kingsbury will need a full team effort next week when Texas Tech visits Fayetteville, Arkansas September, 19th at 6:00 p.m.  to take on what will likely be a very unhappy Arkansas Razorback team.

Next: Texas Tech Football vs. UTEP: Comparing 2014 and 2015