Ten Takeaways From Texas Tech’s Victory Over Arkansas


On Saturday evening, Texas Tech had vengeance on the mind when they went deep into SEC territory and came away with a victory against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The 35-24 Texas Tech victory capped off a perfect non-conference sweep for the Red Raiders, and may be just the beginning of something special for Kingsbury’s team as they head into Big XII conference play.

Texas Tech played at what seemed like a break-neck pace for the majority of the night, starting from their opening salvo on offense to their final game-sealing downs on defense in the fourth quarter. Texas Tech’s sure-handed confidence and solid play came in stark contrast to memories of last year’s matchup where the team’s competitive spirit ebbed with each turnover and defensive mishap. This victory was immensely important for Texas Tech; a rare win on the road against a quality opponent from a Power Five conference. It’s one thing to go on the road and defeat Southern Methodist University or Houston, but an entire defeat story when you can go into the SEC and defeat a program that absolutely throttled your team a year ago.

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David Gibbs’ defense set the tone early on by forcing a three-and-out by the Razorbacks on their first offensive possession of the night. The Red Raiders stacked the box for the majority of the night allowing only 228-yards rushing–a vast improvement over in comparison to last year’s total of 438-yards given up on the ground. The Texas Tech defensive line held their own against the much larger Razorback offensive line, and were augmented in run-support by the secondary keying-in on stopping the run.

Texas Tech’s emphasis on forcing turnovers was heeded by the defense when sophomore Tevin Madison intercepted Arkansas’ Brandon Allen early in the first quarter. Later, redshirt freshman Jah’Shawn Johnson would all but seal the game for Texas Tech when he stripped the ball away from Razorback running back Alex Collins. Concerns remain, particularly in pass-defense, as Texas Tech’s secondary, at times, found itself burned via play-action passes. However, this may have been a “pick your poison” issue facing the defense as they were foremost concerned with stopping the Arkansas rushing attack.

The 2015 edition of Texas Tech’s “Air Raid” was alive and well in Fayetteville on Saturday night, as quarterback Patrick Mahomes II picked apart the Razorback secondary. Mahomes was never rattled by the Arkansas faithful during the course of the game, and his calm demeanor seemed to translate to the rest of the Texas Tech offense. In total, the sophomore signal-caller accounted for 243-yards on 26 out of 30 completions, 58-yards rushing, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

Mahomes’ demeanor on Saturday night seemed to have had a similar effect on the offensive skill positions; particularly the Texas Tech wideouts and running backs. Jakeem Grant and Ian Sadler each continued their solid play on the season while Reginald Davis III had a break-out game of sorts. The junior receiver struggled to stay consistent for much of 2014 with untimely drops and disciplinary issues. However, his play against Arkansas could possibly be an indicator of things to come; he finished with five receptions for 115-yards and a pair of touchdowns, including an absolutely back breaking trick-play reception thrown by Jakeem Grant.

The Texas Tech running game came out strong against Arkansas with 171-yards rushing combined. On the eve of conference play, running backs DeAndre Washington and Justin Stockton may have an argument for being one of the Big XII’s best backfield tandems as they continue to provide a balance to the Texas Tech offensive game plan. The multi-faceted dimension this duo provides to Texas Tech’s offense will be extremely important heading into Big XII play.

This is a huge win for Texas Tech as they prepare to take on two of the Big XII’s best teams in the coming weeks.

With three games in to the 2015 season, the buzz surrounding the Texas Tech program is much different than a year ago when Texas Tech struggled to finish off the lower tier competition in their first two competitions, and later when they were ultimately dominated by Arkansas in their final non conference game. Texas Tech has passed its first litmus test of 2015, but will need to continue to improve with two huge games in the coming weeks against Texas Christian and Baylor.

Ten Takeaways From Texas Tech at Arkansas:

  1. Patrick Mahomes II — Texas Tech’s quarterback remains the steady hand and driving force for the offense. Along with David Gibbs he’s also been that catalyst for Texas Tech’s improvement overall.
  2. Enemy Territory — Conference pride is paramount in the SEC, and for the past two weeks, Big XII teams have gone into SEC territory and walked away with wins. Texas Tech’s victory in Fayetteville will go a long way in improving the perception of the team, as well as conference.
  3. Defense — Texas Tech held the Razorbacks to 228-yards rushing and only three points in the second half. Has Tech’s defense found the confidence needed to finish close games?
  4. Speed Kills — The biggest reason Texas Tech’s offense is so vastly improved over last season’s is team speed. That speed kept the Razorbacks on their heels for the majority of the night with Jakeem Grant and Justin Stockton making defenders look downright silly.
  5. Shots Fired! — Kliff Kingsbury caused quite the stir with his post-game comments regarding Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. I’ll keep it short; don’t mess with Texas high school football coaches…or their sons.
  6. Penalties — Texas Tech routinely self-destructed last season while on the road with untimely penalties, undisciplined outbursts, and just an overall lack of composure. In their first true road test of 2015 Texas Tech was penalized only four times.
  7. Turnovers — Texas Tech’s defense has forced eight turnovers in three games, with the last pair coming against the Razorbacks. Along with cutting down on penalties, this was an area Texas Tech needed to see a real improvement in 2015.
  8. Underrated — Abusing the SEC on their home turf. Nothing better.
  9. Overrated — Ridiculous Affliction-style specialty uniforms. Texas Tech’s best “specialty” look during the Kingsbury era has been Under Armour’s “throwback” uniforms worn against Arkansas. These need to be the standard uniforms from now on.
  10. Final Thought: The Jones will be insane when Texas Tech welcomes No. 2 Texas Christian to Lubbock September 26th, at 3:45 pm CT. The matchup is deserving of a true night time slot, but either way the Red Raiders will have a real chance at the upset.

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