Five Hits: Texas Tech Ran Over By LSU in Texas Bowl


Texas Tech Falls in Houston, 56-27.

The Big XII/SEC clash had all the makings of a close game in the first half, but Patrick Mahomes’ unbelievable effort wouldn’t be enough for Texas Tech to overcome another second-half defensive meltdown in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.

Related Story: LSU perspective on Texas Tech from Death Valley Voice editor Josh Criswell

Five Hits from Texas Tech vs. LSU:

  1. Defensive Maladies –The Texas Tech defense that showed up earlier in the season in games against Arkansas and Texas competed well for the majority of the first half. The Tigers’ Leonard Fournette was a handful for David Gibbs from the get-go, but Texas Tech’s success in slowing him down put the LSU offense in third-and-long situations; thus helping keep Mahomes and the Red Raider offense within striking distance. However, like a brittle fence in the west Texas wind, the Texas Tech defense eventually wore down. The same unit that struggled to compete in blow-out losses against Baylor and Oklahoma failed to mount any sort of defensive pressure against the LSU offense. Texas Tech’s main concern was always going to be Leonard Fournette’s rushing attack, however all season long the Red Raiders have somehow managed to make very pedestrian (and downright horrible) quarterbacks look better than they actually are. Unfortunately, this seemed to once again be the case as LSU’s Brandon Harris picked apart the Texas Tech secondary down the stretch; allowing the Tigers to blossom a 22 point lead in the second half. D’ Vonta Hinton and Nigel Bethel II had their bright moments, but far too often it seemed as though Texas Tech’s linebackers were simply bouncing off the LSU ballcarriers. Simply put, the Tigers smelled blood in the water midway through the second half, and at that point it was already far too late.
  2. Overmatched — The SEC often receives flack for the somewhat skewed perception that the conference fields superior athletes on that nation’s best collegiate football teams, in the nation’s best collegiate football conference. Big XII fans will probably not want to hear this, but there actually exists some measure of truth to that statement. Whether it was the grown-man running back that tore through the Texas Tech defense or the faster, better and stronger LSU defensive players that stymied the top-ranked Red Raider offense one thing is for certain; Texas Tech was essentially overmatched from a personnel standpoint. Further complicating things for Texas Tech was the suspension of Devin Lauderdale, one of Texas Tech’s more productive outside receiving threats.
  3. Same Page?  — Nearly all season long Texas Tech as a team has struggled to play in unison when it concerns all three facets of the game. This seemed to be the case again Tuesday night as Texas Tech’s offense seemed unable to capitalize on rare defensive stops. Similarly, when the offense was playing well the defense often gave up back-breaking third downs. When the Red Raiders have played well as a whole they’ve been able to dictate the pace of the game to their opponent. The best example of this came during the second half in the game against Arkansas. For a time the Red Raiders seemed en route to doing something similar against LSU, but the Tigers regained momentum and never looked back.
  4. Magic Mahomes Not Enough— It’s a broken record at this point, but Texas Tech’s offense is at its most efficient level when quarterback Patrick Mahomes II is on fire and in the zone. Although Mahomes spent the majority of the game running for his life, his on-the-fly improvisations and crucial third-down conversions were essential for the Texas Tech offensive attack that was made one-dimensional by the staunch LSU defensive front. The sophomore quarterback played lights out for the majority of the night but was hampered by untimely dropped passes, a sieve-like offensive line, and an overmatched defense. This, more than anything else, should emphasize just how important it is that Texas Tech address its defensive maladies during the offseason. A nationally-ranked top five offense such as Texas Tech’s shouldn’t be handicapped by a lackluster defensive effort.
  5. Bitter Taste? — Texas Tech’s 2015 season record of 7-6 is as mediocre as it is impressive. While Texas Tech ended the season on a bad note, the program managed to notch wins against both Kansas State and Texas; a pair of teams that have beaten up Texas Tech year in and year out since 2009. The season also featured a break out of sorts for Patrick Mahomes and several other young players; Tony Brown, Demarcus Felton, Keke Coutee, Breiden Fehoko, and D’ Vonta Hinton will all be names Tech fans will become familiar with in the coming years. However, the program will only ascend to the next level if they address their issues defensively and start beating the likes of TCU, OSU, and Baylor; all teams that have passed Texas Tech in the pecking order of the Big XII conference.

What do you think of Texas Tech’s finale in Houston? Let us know in the comments!

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