Saturday night was a much-needed win for Joey McGuire and the Texas Tech football team. The Red Raiders defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 43-28 and once again did it with a different man under center. For the first time since the 2021 Florida International game, Tyler Shough started and finished a game for the Red Raiders. The senior overcame his fair share of setbacks to have his moment to lead the offense.
Shough threw for 246 yards and a touchdown to Mason Tharp. His confidence seemed to return on every throw he made throughout the night. He did not hesitate and he did a nice job of setting the tempo for Zach Kittley’s offense. The quick passes and play action set up by successfully running the ball gave Shough all he needed to make it possible for Tech to win that game.
The most standout statistic for Shough on Saturday night? He led the team in rushing. Shough ran the ball 12 times for 76 yards and had a nine-yard touchdown run on what can be described as nothing but tough.
When receivers failed to get separation, Shough showed no fear in pulling the ball down, finding an opening, and running. He picked up key first downs all throughout the night with his legs that kept the chains moving. For a player returning from two collarbone injuries in back-to-back seasons, you can’t ask for much more than what Shough showed McGuire and everyone else on Saturday night.
Shough spoke to the media after the game about finally starting and finishing a game for the first time this season and had this to say:
"“I prayed and dreamed for it just because I knew I was going to get an opportunity regardless and I feel confident in how I played and I feel confident in my teammates now matter who’s in and it’s a testament to how we practice and how we come back to work no matter the previous result of the week before. I have so much confidence in my teammates and it gives me confidence to go out there and that comes with preparation too.”"
Winning always brings confidence and right now Shough seems to be a far cry from the same player who threw a pick-six against Baylor in his first pass since the week one injury. With a full game under his belt for the first time under his new offensive coordinator, Kittley can now tailor the offense to suit Shough’s best skills moving forward. A balanced attack with the running game will also continue to take pressure off of whoever is behind center.
There’s no question Behren Morton is the future of this program and he deserves to be. McGuire said during his Monday media press conference that Shough will start again this week against Iowa State, but Morton will be available as an “emergency” with Donovan Smith as the backup. With only two games left, McGuire may consider keeping his quarterback of the future healthy by letting Shough handle the reins for the rest of the season.
Even if Morton returns and Shough is benched in favor of him, the fanbase got to see what he is capable of when healthy at least for one game. With his college career winding down and his future very much in question at the next level, Shough proved he still has plenty to offer this program since he committed almost two years earlier. The fanbase should feel confident in Shough if he is the starter for the rest of the season.