Harsh reality: Texas Tech football has worse offense than Kansas

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - OCTOBER 26: Running back Ta'Zhawn Henry #26 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders carries the ball as safety DeAnte Ford #27 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LAWRENCE, KANSAS - OCTOBER 26: Running back Ta'Zhawn Henry #26 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders carries the ball as safety DeAnte Ford #27 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends during the game at Memorial Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

In the most embarrassing loss the Texas Tech football program has suffered in recent memory, we were forced to confront the reality that the Red Raider offense can’t even keep pace with Kansas.

They say that without hope, man is nothing.  But without offense, Texas Tech football fans have no hope.  So where does that leave us now?

There is no question that the brunt of the blame for the Texas Tech football team’s loss to Kansas on Saturday night (it’s going to take a while before I get used to typing those words) falls at the feet of the Red Raider defense which gave up nearly 600 yards.  But over the years, Tech fans have become accustomed to seeing their offense save the day and make up for the failings of the defense, especially against teams we considered inferior.

That’s what makes this loss so tough to handle for so many.  It was a sign that we can’t even rely on our long-held identity as an offensive juggernaut to give us hope that we can keep our head above water when our defense is being exposed.

The 37-34 loss dropped Tech to just 3-5 overall and 1-4 in Big 12 play.  But there were opportunities for the Red Raider offense to step up and carry the team to a much-needed win.  Most notably was the failed drive at the end of the fourth quarter.

After Kansas tied the game at 34-34, the Red Raiders began with the ball at their own 25 with just over five minutes to play.  Four snaps later, Tech would punt, never to see the ball again.

On 1st down, Dalton Rigdon picked up nine big yards on a quick pass from Jett Duffey.  That set the offense up in great shape with an opportunity to keep the drive alive and build some momentum, which is so critical for David Yost’s offense.

The next play should have yielded a new set of downs but SaRodorick Thompson dropped a simple swing pass.  Had he caught the ball, he would have been one-on-one with a defender at the sticks, which is a matchup he normally wins.  But he took his eye off the ball for just a moment and didn’t secure the reception.

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On 3rd-and-one, center Dawson Deaton was blown up by KU defensive tackle Jelani Brown who stuffed Thomspon in the backfield for no gain.  On a night when Tech averaged 4.7 yards per carry and Thomspon out-gained star Jayhawk RB Pooka Williams on the ground, Tech couldn’t pick up just a yard at the most critical juncture of the game.

To say that the offense was bad in Lawrence would be unfair.  But to say it was not a problem would be wrong.

This was the fewest points Tech has scored against KU since 2015 and the second-fewest the Red Raiders have managed against the Big 12’s worst program since putting up 30 in 2005.  Keep in mind that in 2005, KU was a 7-5 team that was laying the foundation for a 12-1 season just two years later.

Digging deeper, the 483 yards Tech accumulated Saturday night was the lowest total yardage total for the Red Raiders since the Big 12 went to the round-robin format and the teams began playing on an annual basis in 2011.  The last time Tech had fewer yards against the Jayhawks was in 2009 when freshman Seth Doege got the start for a temporarily demoted Taylor Potts.  That day, Tech still managed to accumulate 42 points, including 28 in the final quarter, which Tech entered trailing 21-14.

Additionally, Duffey’s 271 passing yards were a program-low for a QB that started a game against Kansas since Kliff Kingsbury threw for just 242 against the Jayhawks in 2001, a game that he left because of injury in the second half.  That day, Kingsbury threw for three touchdowns, the same as Duffey did on Saturday, but just like this year, that was not enough to propel Tech to a win.

How odd was it to see Kansas have a more lethal passing attack than Texas Tech?  The Jayhawks outgained the Red Raiders through the air by 144 yards and actually completed three more passes on the night.

This was the first time since Texas Tech went to the spread offense back in 2000 that the Jayhawk passing attack has out-performed the Red Raider passing game.  Much of that has to do with the ineptitude of Tech’s defense but it is also an indictment of the offensive talent (or lack thereof) that the Red Raiders had on the field in Lawrence.

Tech did not have a 100-yard rusher nor a 100-yard receiver against KU, which was playing without its leading tackler Bryce Torneden, who was ejected in the first quarter for targeting.  Dalton Rigdon led the Red Raiders with 76 yards and a touchdown.  The second-most productive receiver in scarlet and black was tight end Donta Thompson who had just 51 yards on two receptions.

Speaking of receptions, Rigdon had a team-high of seven.  Only one other player on the roster had more than two, sophomore Kesean Carter came up with three for a whopping 24 yards.  Meanwhile, the starting outside receivers, T.J. Vasher and R.J. Turner, combined for just three catches for 39 yards and one score.

Compare that to the prolific night by the Kansas pass catchers.  Three Jayhawk receivers had at least 75 yards while two, Stephon Robinson and Andrew Parchment, went over 100 yards with Robinson leading the way with 186 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches.

That’s as sobering of a sign as to where this program has fallen as there could possibly.  It’s one thing to be outgunned by the likes of OU or even Baylor…but to be beaten at the style of play that you made trendy in college football buy Kansas?  That’s truly rock bottom.

In the second half, KU had six possessions (if you combine the last-second game-winning FG with the final drive of the game that saw Tech block KU’s first game-winning field goal).  They managed to come up with 24 points.  Meanwhile, Tech also had the ball six times but mustered just 17 points…AGAINST KANSAS!!!!!

In a game that this program desperately needed to win, not only for the sake of the season but more importantly for the sake of public perception, both in its own backyard and on a national scale, Tech couldn’t even rely on the aspect of the game that has been the identity of Red Raider football for the last two decades.

dark. Next. Texas Tech football suffers unacceptable loss to Kansas

If you want to know just how far Tech football has fallen, just think about the fact that the Red Raiders lost a game…to Kansas…because their offense couldn’t keep pace and was the far less explosive offensive unit in a game that saw the other team sporting the letters K-A-N-S-A-S across its chest.