Reports: Texas Tech football loses QB Alan Bowman for 6-8 weeks

TUCSON, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback Alan Bowman #10 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders warms up before the start of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TUCSON, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback Alan Bowman #10 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders warms up before the start of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

It is being reported that the Texas Tech football program will be without starting QB Alan Bowman for 6-8 weeks after the sophomore suffered a left shoulder injury in Saturday’s loss to Arizona.

As if this weekend’s 28-14 loss to Arizona was not bad enough, it now appears that the fallout from that disappointing performance could derail the remainder of the Texas Tech football season.  It is being reported that starting QB Alan Bowman will miss up to eight weeks with a left shoulder injury, putting first-year Red Raider head coach Matt Wells in an unenviable position at the game’s most important position.

The news was initially reported on Twitter by Preston Johnson, an ESPN sports betting analyst.   Since then, 100.7 The Score in Lubbock has been confirming the news as well.

Bowman was injured in the second half of Saturday’s game when an Arizona defender hit him and drove him to the turf on a play that has become increasingly likely to be called roughing the passer.  Of course, Texas Tech did not receive the benefit of such protection from referee Mike Defee (the most despised Big 12 among folks in West Texas).

Though he went to the locker room for treatment between series, Bowman did not miss any snaps.  He finished the game completing 30 of 55 passes for 311 yards with one touchdown and one interception, his second-straight uncharacteristically below average game in a row.

Make no mistake, even prior to the injury Bowman was having one of his worst showings as a Red Raider.  His two interceptions in the first half put the brakes on promising drives and on numerous occasions, he missed his receivers so badly that the only people in the stadium with a chance to catch the ball were the cheerleaders on the sidelines.

But regardless, Tech could not afford to lose its starting QB for any length of time this year.  That’s because there is no Pat Mahomes or even Steven Sheffield waiting in the wings.

We might have had hope for such a savior if true freshman Maverick McIvor were healthy.  But in the second intrasquad scrimmage of fall camp, the San Angelo native broke his foot and is not expected to return to action until November at the earliest.  But by then, the season may be beyond salvaging.

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That’s the harsh reality facing this program now as the only viable options at QB are junior Jett Duffey and senior grad transfer Jackson Tyner, neither of whom have very many skins on the wall.

Last year, we saw Duffey underwhelm when thrust into the starting role following each of Bowman’s two collapsed lung injuries.  For the season, he went just 1-2 as a starter and in his lone win, he threw for just 190 yards and a TD while also throwing an interception.  He did run for a team-high 83 yards and the game-winning 36-yard score in the 4th quarter.

The problem with Duffey is not his talent.  He’s a career 68% passer who does have a 400-yard passing game to his credit.  It’s that he’s a terrible decision-maker.

In 157 career pass attempts, he’s been picked off six times.  That’s an average of one pick for every 26 pass attempts.  Considering that Tech usually attempts around 45-50 passes in a game, that’s dangerously close to two picks per game.

The other option, Tyner, is no more reassuring.  In three years at Rice, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder put up a mere 1,048 yards and four touchdowns while being intercepted seven times.  (And you thought Duffey was interception-prone.)  He’s never appeared in more than six games in a season and has a career single-game high of 222 yards.  Even worse, he’s been just a 46.5% passer.

That’s it, folks.  Those are the options Wells and OC David Yost have at their disposal.  The only light at the end of this tunnel may be the fact that this news comes on Tech’s bye week meaning there is an extra week to get the next starter reps in practice and build a game plan around his strengths.

But given that Tech opens Big 12 play with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Iowa State, you could say that the light at the end of the tunnel is just a freight train barreling towards the Red Raiders ready to flatten any hopes of a solid first season under Wells.  (Thanks to Metallica for that analogy.)

If I had to choose between Duffey or Tyner, I would reluctantly give the ball to Duffey.  His legs are the only elite asset either QB has (he led the 2018 team in rushing despite playing in only eight games) and Yost built a rather successful offense around a dual-threat QB last year at Utah State, Bryce Love.  What’s more, it seems like this offense may be a bit more simplistic than Kingsbury’s, which might help Duffey in the decision-making department.

Still, this is the worst-case scenario for 2019.  Without Alan Bowman until potentially the final two games of the year, we find ourselves in QB injury hell for the second-straight year.  Maybe we should all just take up a collection at the next home game and send Mike Leach his 2009 salary so that whatever curse has been put on this program can finally be lifted.