The Texas Tech football program had a disappointing 2020 season and these plays you may have forgotten about were a huge reason why.
Every football season is a wild ride for every fan base. Regardless of whether a team goes undefeated or winless or somewhere in between, there are going to be signature moments that define the season.
For the Texas Tech football program, those moments in 2020 will be easy to recall. Even if we all would prefer to forget most of what happened this past fall.
For instance, we aren’t soon to forget the hit linebacker Colin Schooler put on Baylor QB Charlie Brewer at the goal line. In fact, that hit will likely go down as one of the best individual plays in the annals of Texas Tech football.
But unfortunately, the Red Raiders’ most memorable plays of 2020 will forever be those that had a negative net impact. What else would you expect from a season that saw the team go just 4-6 to nearly cost head coach Matt Wells his job?
In fact, the season began with an infamous play that we will always remember. It is entirely possible that we will be talking about Wells’ decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 late in the 4th quarter against Houston Baptist for the remainder of his tenure in Lubbock, especially if that proves to be a short period of time.
Then, there was the infamous “sky kick” against Texas that allowed the Longhorns to get their eventual 15-point comeback jumpstarted in a big way. That game also gave us the bungled onside kick recovery where the ball simply squirted right through the hands of corner Zech McPhearson, one of the best players on the roster.
Of course, the missed field goal on 2nd down against TCU in the 4th quarter also generated a ton of negative buzz around Raiderland and helped add fuel to the anti-Wells fire that was burning in the belly of a huge swath of the fan base.
But while those plays will live in infamy, there were a ton of plays that we’ve forgotten about that also had a tremendous impact on the 2020 season. So let’s take a look back at five such plays because they also helped lead to the disappointment of a 4-win season.
Bowman’s second INT vs. Texas
We all remember the huge swings in momentum in Tech’s 63-56 OT loss to the Longhorns in Lubbock. We remember the muffed punt Tech recovered for a TD, the 75-yard SaRodorick Thompson TD run, the furious UT comeback, and Tech’s overtime failings.
But when this game comes up, we don’t talk much about the two interceptions QB Alan Bowman threw in the first half. Perhaps that’s because Bowman played particularly well in that game (31/52 for 331 yards and 5 TD passes) or because so many unbelievable things happened in the second half.
However, the reality is that both of Bowman’s first-half picks were momentum-killing plays. The first came after Tech recovered an onside kick thus robbing the offense of what should have been an extra possession. However, the second pick was nothing short of disastrous because it took precious points off the board.
With Tech down 24-21 late in the second quarter, the special teams unit made a play and blocked a punt to set the offense up with the ball at the UT 17. But the ensuing two-play drive would prove to be a parade of follies.
On first down, center Dawson Deaton snapped the ball wide of Bowman forcing the QB to simply jump on the ball for a six-yard loss to retain possession. But on second down, things got worse.
Staring his receiver down all the way from the snap, Bowman simply threw the ball right to UT defensive back Chris Adimora who returned it 71 yards. Four plays later, UT was in the endzone.
Only Alan Bowman knows what he saw on that play that made him throw the ball into triple coverage without even looking at another receiver because none of the rest of us ever will understand his decision. But what is undeniable is that this play took away a prime scoring opportunity for the Red Raiders in a game in which they needed one more score to pull off the upset.