The Red Raiders are going to have to continue to win close games
In the game of football, one-score games are often considered 50/50 bets at best. One strange bounce of the most oddly-shaped ball in sports can tilt the course of a game and a season. Just ask the 2015 Texas Tech football team which saw a deflected 4th-down pass fall into the hands of No. 3 TCU for a game-winning touchdown in the final minute robbing the Red Raiders of what could have been a season-defining win.
However, last season, a number of close games fell Tech’s way. In fact, half of 2022’s wins came by four points or fewer. Will that trend continue for the Red Raiders this fall?
That’s tough to imagine given that three of those games were decided in overtime. Furthermore, in two of those OT games (against Houston and Oklahoma), Tech needed field goals of over 40 yards to tie the game in the closing moments of regulation.
Of course, don’t forget that the season’s first OT win required Tech to convert a 4th-and-20 in the first OT period to keep the game alive against Houston.
What’s more, in the OT victory over Texas, the Red Raiders got a fortunate break when Longhorn running back, Bijan Robinson, lost a fumble for the only time in his NCAA career setting the Red Raiders up for the win. Then, in the regular-season finale, the Red Raiders benefitted from a missed Oklahoma field goal of 34 yards, a kick that OU fans still contend went right over the top of the right upright.
The point is that a lot of breaks went Tech’s way last season. They were the kind of breaks that had evaded this program for what felt like a decade or more. Also, there is something to be said for the notion that a team that plays as hard as the 2022 Red Raiders did will create its own fortune.
However, it must be acknowledged that Tech escaped doom on a number of occasions last year, whether that be through fortune or a never-say-die culture. Either way, that trend will likely have to continue in 2023 if McGuire’s squad is going to be a championship contender because just about every elite team has to survive a few nail-biters during a special season.