Though the two-point win over Houston Baptist on Saturday was disappointing, the following players deserve game balls.
It wasn’t supposed to come down to the final minute for Texas Tech to put away Houston Baptist on Saturday. We weren’t supposed to be sweating out the last drive of the game before we knew the outcome of a season opener against an FCS opponent. But in the most 2020 manner possible, the Red Raiders kicked off 2020 with a performance that made us all sick.
Because Tech was unable to put away its FCS guest until close to 11 pm, we were actually robbed of some of the annual traditions that the yearly matchup with a team from the sports’ lower level affords us.
First of all, there was no opportunity to see either of Tech’s backup quarterbacks in action. Thus, neither junior transfer Henry Colombi nor redshirt freshman Maverick McIvor had an opportunity to secure the No. 2 job in an actual game setting and gain invaluable experience. That’s especially concerning given the injury history of starting QB Alan Bowman.
Also, we didn’t have the opportunity to see a handful of freshmen make their debuts. Typically, as games against FCS teams unfold, droves of first-year Red Raiders see the field for the first time giving us our first glimpse of the future of the program.
We did see a few first-year players on the field Saturday night such as RB Tahj Brooks, WR Ja’Lynn Polk, OT Caleb Rodgers, TE John Holcomb and DE Philip Blidi. But others like WRs Loic Fouonji, Myles Price, and J.J. Sparkman were all noticeable by their absence.
Perhaps it was a fitting way for this strange season to begin. With only a few thousand fans on hand and a sobering lack of atmosphere inside Jones Stadium, the night was ripe for an upset and Tech nearly fell victim to the same bug that bit Iowa State, Kansas State, and Kanas on Saturday (as all three teams fell to Sunbelt Conference teams).
Now, any optimism that may have permeated the fan base on Saturday morning has dissipated like a West Texas thunderstorm leaving only cynicism and dread in its wake. As such, it might be difficult for fans to find players that are deserving of praise for their performances against the Huskies.
But believe it or not, there are individuals that need to be recognized. So let’s hand out some game balls for the week-one win, ugly as it may have been.