Tech’s offense must continue to excel on 4th down
Thanks to the analytics revolution that is sweeping across the game, 4th down is now where many games are won and lost. Of course, no team in the nation was more aggressive on 4th down in 2022 than Texas Tech.
Fortunately, the team that led the FBS in 4th-down attempts was also one of the best at converting those gambles. Ranking 16th nationally and 3rd in the Big 12 with a 63.5% success rate on 4th down, Tech’s philosophy paid huge dividends in 2022.
Of course, the Texas win is what comes to mind in that regard. Going 6-8 on 4th down, Tech’s ability to come through on this due-or-die down was what got the game to overtime. That day, on each of the last two drives of regulation, McGuire’s team successfully picked up a 4th-down conversion eventually leading to ten points on the scoreboard.
Interestingly, Tech was also very aggressive in last year’s 48-10 home win against a bad West Virginia team. Going 6-7 on 4th down, McGuire’s team picked up 14 early points on two drives that saw the team convert on 4th down four times with three of those conversions coming on the same possession.
Even in the bowl win over the Rebels, a game Tech won 42-25, McGuire saw his team go 5-6 on 4th down. That night in Houston, 24 of the Red Raiders’ points came on drives that included a 4th-down conversion.
McGuire believes in relying on what his analytics experts tell him to do on 4th down. There’s even a literal book that the coaching staff uses during games to help them decide what to do in such situations. But for that strategy to pay off, the offense must continue to be efficient when everything is on the line. If that happens, this fall could be even more fun than we expect.