Texas Tech football: Red Raider mistakes costly in 2 OT loss at Baylor

WACO, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Quarterback Jett Duffey #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders passes the ball against the Baylor Bears on October 12, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
WACO, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Quarterback Jett Duffey #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders passes the ball against the Baylor Bears on October 12, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Texas Tech football team lost out on a golden opportunity to pull off a win over No. 22 Baylor in Waco thanks to some crucial mistakes on both sides of the ball.

Anytime a game goes to overtime, there will be no shortage of moments the losing team can point to as times when the game was lost.  That is certainly what Texas Tech football fans are sure to discuss all week in the wake of the team’s 33-30 double OT loss to Baylor in Waco.

It appeared that Matt Wells’ team was about to take down its second-straight ranked foe when RB SaRodorick Thompson put his team up 20-17 with just under two minutes remaining in the game via a 30-yard TD run.

But Baylor answered with a field goal drive that ultimately covered 97 yards to tie the game.  After pinning the Bears at their own 1-yard-line thanks to an Eli Howard sack on the first play of the final drive of regulation, the Red Raider defense allowed the home team to move the ball all the way to the Red Raider 2-yard-line before settling for a field goal.

For most of this drive, Keith Patterson had his defense in what was a version of the prevent that saw the safeties nearly 20 yards from the ball at the snap.  This allowed Baylor to easily pick up huge chunks of yardage over the middle, including a 20-yard completion on the first snap after Howard’s sack, which nearly resulted in a safety.  It will be quite fair for Tech fans to question Patterson’s strategy given that the Baylor passing game had not struck for a huge TD all game long.

In overtime, the Bears and Red Raiders traded touchdowns on the first pair of OT drives.  But in the second OT, Tech could only must a field goal allowing Baylor to win on a 5-yard TD run by JaMychal Hasty.

However, it never should have come down to overtime or even the final drive of regulation for the Red Raiders. But too many missed opportunities and crucial mistakes prevented Wells’ team from ever taking control of a game that was there for the taking.

More from Wreck'Em Red

Three times in the first half, Tech drove to at least the Baylor 21-yard-line but the result was only six combined points.  The most costly of those drives was the one that ended with a SaRodorick Thompson fumble after he had picked up three yards to get to the Bear’s 18.

Though the home team did not put up any points on the ensuing drive, this turnover cost the Red Raiders at least three points on an afternoon when the offense found it difficult to score.  That was the only negative on Thompson’s resume but it was a huge one.

The sophomore finished the afternoon with 153-yards and two touchdowns on 28 rushes.  While he has to be applauded for his best game as a Red Raider, it was his carelessness with the ball that played the biggest role in the outcome of this game.

Of course, on the previous Red Raider possession, Jett Duffey was picked off to quickly kill a drive that started at the Red Raider 45.  That interception came just two plays after Evan Rambo intercepted Baylor’s Charlie Brewer to give his team great starting field position.

It was the first of two Duffey picks, the second of which came in the third quarter and likely cost Tech points as well.  Trailing 17-13 early in the 4th quarter, Tech had driven from its own 25 to the Baylor 21 after a Ja’Marcus Ingram interception of Brewer in the endzone thwarted a threatening Baylor drive that could have made it a two-score game.

On 3rd-and-7, Duffey tired to connect with T.J. Vasher over the middle but did not put the ball high enough to get over Baylor’s Clay Johnston, who came down with the pick.   Again, that play more than likely cost the Red Raiders at least three points given how reliable freshman kicker Trey Wolff has been.

In fact, Wolff was 3 of 3 on field goals again this week to move to 11-12 for the season.  Keeping that in mind, it makes Matt Wells’ decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 on the Baylor 17 an odd choice.

Instead of taking certain points, Wells gambled and lost when Duffey could not connect with R.J. Turner.  This marked the second time in the game that the Red Raiders failed to score after getting into an area of the field where points should be a given.

Though Wolfe was perfect on his field goals, the Red Raider special teams were not.  It started when they gave the Bears life to begin the second half.  Tech allowed Josh Fleeks to return the opening kickoff of the second half 60 yards to set the Bears up at the Red Raider 36.

Five plays later, Brewer was in the endzone after a 4-yard TD run to put his team up for the first time in the game, 13-6.  After being held to just 117 total yards and 3 points in the first half, the Baylor offense seemed to find its rhythm after Fleeks’ kickoff return, a play on which he juked Red Raider corner Dadrion Taylor to break free.

Speaking of Taylor, he was atrocious as the team’s kickoff returner.  After making the mistake to return a first-half kickoff that was about to bounce out of bounds, he bobbled the kickoff directly following Baylor’s first TD setting his team up at its own 9-yard-line.

But Tech would score on that drive to bail Taylor out when Thompson found paydirt on a 4-yard-run.  Still, Taylor was subsequently replaced by Kesean Carter as the kickoff returner for the remainder of the game.

Ultimately, it is difficult to beat a ranked team on the road when you turn the ball over three times and come away with only 13 points on six drives in regulation that got to at least the opponent’s 21.  That’s what cost the Red Raiders.  This felt more like a game Tech lost than Baylor won.  Credit must be given to the victors, and they did not play their best game either, but unlike Tech’s loss to OU, or even the one to Arizona, this game will leave a bitter residue in our collective mouths because of the numerous times the Red Raiders simply shot themselves in the foot.

We often talk about teams and programs having to learn how to win.  I’m not sure I would buy that argument for this year’s Texas Tech football team because most of the key contributors are upper-classmen.

Next. Can Wells' have the same trajectory as Matt Rhule?. dark

Still, this looked like a game that the Red Raiders simply did not understand how to close out.  It should have been in hand long before the final drive of regulation but back-breaking mistakes and poor coaching decisions ultimately proved to be Tech’s kryptonite.  While I don’t think this team needs to learn how to win games, we can all hope that it did take some hard-earned lessons back home after leaving a win behind in Waco.