Texas Tech football: Trying to find positives from close call vs. SFA

There’s no sugar-coating it.  Saturday night was an ugly performance by the Texas Tech football team.

Any time a team from a Power 5 league ends a game by sweating it out while an FCS opponent is throwing into the endzone for the win, it’s not going to sit well with that program’s fan base.  And that’s the case for Texas Tech football fans.  But the point of a football game is to win and that’s what Tech did so let’s do our best to try to find positives from this close call.

Hey…at least we didn’t lose

In recent years, it has become more and more common for teams from the FCS to score wins over FBS teams.  And it seems like 2021 has been the year of the FCS upset.

Just this weekend, Jacksonville State notched a last-second win at Florida State thanks to a Hail Mary on the game’s final play.  It was the latest in a growing line of FCS triumphs over teams from the upper level of the sport.

What’s more, in week one, such FBS programs as Washington, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Tulsa, and UNLV all fell to FCS foes.  Thankfully, the Red Raiders don’t find themselves on that list and that’s perhaps the greatest positive that we can take from Saturday night.

But let’s stop and consider the other side of the coin here.  Each of the FBS programs mentioned above is dreadful.  That’s not the company that Texas Tech wants to keep.

Now, technically, Tech isn’t in that woeful club of programs that have lost to an FCS team this year.  However, taking solace in that fact is far from wise.  After all, the thought of losing to an FCS program should be one that Texas Tech football programs should never have to entertain.

Brooks continues to shine

Tahj Brooks had his second-straight big game for the Red Raiders on Saturday night rushing for 115 yards and two TDs on just 11 rushes.  That came just a week after he galloped his way to 134 yards and two more scores against Houston.

What’s been fascinating to watch is how Brooks has all of a sudden become a home run threat.  Three of his four TD runs on the season have gone for over 40 yards including his career-long 67-yard scamper against SFA.

That’s not the type of player he was reported to be when he signed with Tech out of high school in the class of 2020 and that’s not the type of player he was last season.  Rather, he was supposed to be a tough, physical runner who could pick up dirty yards between the tackles and who could pound away at defenses using his 5-foot-10, 220-pound frame.

While he can still do that, so far this season, Brooks has proven to be a big-play threat.  He’s averaging 9.6 yards per carry to rank third in the Big 12 while also leading the conference in total rushing yards at 249.

They say that the jump a player makes from his first to his second year on campus is the greatest he will make as a collegiate and so far Brooks is proving that to be the case.  He’s only six yards shy of surpassing his rushing total from all of last season and he continues to be one of the greatest positives on the Red Raider roster.

The defense won another game for you

There were some frustrating moments from the Texas Tech defense on Saturday but in the end, that side of the football saved the day once again.  In fact, for the second straight week, the defense was the driving force behind a Red Raider victory and that’s a refreshing change of pace.

Sure, we all want the Red Raiders to get back to their high-flying ways on offense, and, without question, this season won’t be a success if they don’t.  But to see the defense be the reason why you are winning games and not being a liability is something we’ve all been dreaming of for far too long.

So far, the Red Raiders are allowing just 21.5 points per game.  And seven of those points came on Saturday’s pick-six by Tech QB Tyler Shough meaning that the defense is allowing just 18 points per game.

In years past, with other versions of the Texas Tech defense, the Red Raiders would have lost Saturday’s game.  That’s because the defenses around Raiderland have not been the type to bow up and come through when a game is on the line.  Yes, it was Stephen F. Austin but Tech did get a stop from the defense when it needed and on a night when the offense was abysmal, at least the other side of the football came through to take up the slack.