2017 Rewatch: Texas Tech Misses Opportunity For Upset Of Ok. State

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Keke Coutee /

Continuing our rewatch of the 2017 Texas Tech football season, we take a closer look at a disappointing loss to Oklahoma State in which Texas Tech had multiple opportunities to pull off the upset.

In game four of the 2017 season, Texas Tech had an opportunity to make the biggest statement of the Kliff Kingsbury era.  But in a nationally televised night game against No. 15 Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders were unable to make the plays down the stretch falling 41-34.

The game was a blackout in the stands but on the field, Tech sported throwback uniforms in the style worn by the 1970’s era teams.  But while the threads were a throwback, the game resembled so many recent Texas Tech games in that the red Raiders could not pull out a win in a shootout that went down to the wire.

This game haunted Tech fans all season because throughout the evening it felt like Tech was going to be able to pull off one of the Jones Stadium night game miracles we have become so accustomed to.  But after rewatching this game, one thing became very evident; Texas Tech was not in the same class as the Cowboys.

OSU jumped out to an early lead and controlled the pace of the game all night.  But the Cowboys made numerous mistakes that kept Tech in the game.  Had it not been for OSU miscues, Tech would have been snowed under by the end of the first quarter.

Just when OSU was threatening to take a 14-0 lead,  Mason Rudolph threw an awful interception to DeMarcus Fields who returned it 95 yards for a TD that evened the game at 7-7.

On the next possession, the Cowboys missed a 22-yard field goal taking more points off the board.  It would be the first of two chip-shot field goals OSU would miss with the second coming late in the 4th quarter with the game knotted at 34-34.

Had the Pokes converted on three red zone trips in the first quarter, Tech would have been down 17-0 as the Red Raider offense was sluggish and slow to gain its traction.

When we rewatched the Arizona State game, we discussed the fact that Tech had every opportunity to blow the Devils out in the first half.  The same was true of OSU in this game.

In the first half, Tech punted three times and the Red Raider offense crossed mid-field only twice.  Meanwhile, the Cowboys did not punt in the half and saw every one of their drives reach the red zone.

Though OSU led by just four points at the break, 21-17, the stats show how dominant the Cowboys were.  Rudolph threw for 252 yards compared to Shimonek’s 140 and the Cowboys had a 343-172 lead in total yards.

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And in the end, Rudloph (376 yards and 3 TD) was the better of the two quarterbacks and his 16-yard TD run with 1:12 to play was the difference.  Shimonek (330 yards and 1 TD) had one final drive to answer but he and the Red Raider offense stalled out at mid-field turning the ball over on downs.

Tech fell to 3-1 on the season and 0-1 in Big 12 play.  A win would have put the Red Raiders in the top 25 polls and made a statement that they were ready to be a factor in the Big 12 again.

But instead, Tech would lose five of the next six games to fall out of relevance in the conference.  The win was the ninth-consecutive in the series for OSU dating back to 2008, one week after the famous Michael Crabtree TD catch to beat No. 1 Texas.

Mason Rudolph Kills Tech With His Legs

If you would have told Texas Tech fans that OSU would kill the Red Raiders on the ground, most would have assumed that running back Justice Hill would have had a huge game…and he did with 164 yards on 30 carries.

But the Cowboy that broke Texas Tech’s back via the ground game was QB Mason Rudolph.  The statuesque pocket passer was not normally known as a threat to run the ball but he scrambled for 50 yards and two touchdowns on the night.

His 16-yard run on a zone-read option proved to be an improbable game-winning score in a game where he was the best player on the field.  On the season, Rudolph ran for a total of 35 yards meaning that in the other 11 games, he ran for a total of -15 yards, which adds another layer of frustration to this game for Red Raider fans.

In only one other game last year did Rudolph run for at least 18 yards and that was against South Alabama in week-two.  But against the Red Raiders, the big QB dealt Tech a huge blow in a completely unexpected way.

Coutee Injured On Controversial No-Call

A huge moment in the game happened when Tech’s best receiver Keke Coutee was knocked out of the game early in the third quarter thanks to a helmet-to-helmet hit that was not flagged or reviewed.  Officially, Coutee sustained a leg injury but that was because of the award way he landed following the illegal hit.

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With Coutee out, Tech rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter but with the game on the line, Tech needed its big-play receiver and he was not available.  Tech could not find a receiver capable of getting open on either of its final two drives, as the offense sputtered at the worst time without its top playmaker.