Texas Tech football: Hidden moments in heartbreaking loss to Oregon

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Texas Tech fans react to a touchdown against Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

There will always be plays we remember from games as tightly contested and intense as Saturday’s showdown between the Texas Tech football team and Oregon.  In many ways, it was reminiscent of a recent big-time non-conference basketball game the university hosted; one that is still talked about by Red Raider fans despite not going our way.

Think about how similar this year’s visit from Oregon was to the 2020 Texas Tech home basketball game against Kentucky.  Just two months prior to when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports for several months, the No. 15 Wildcats came to United Supermarkets Arena in the most anticipated game that arena has ever hosted.

Just like Saturday’s football game, it was an electric atmosphere from the tip as one of the premier programs in college sports made its first trip to the South Plains.  Unfortunately, that game was also a winnable contest that Tech couldn’t close out.

Tech trailed by just one point with 18 seconds to play as 94% free-throw shooter Davide Moretti toed the line.  Unfortunately, he would miss his first attempt before sending the game to OT by making his second.

In OT, the game was tied at 74 before two Kentucky free throws and a subsequent Moretti turnover would send the Red Raider faithful home disappointed.  Also, there was a signature moment earlier in the game when the Wildcats hit a half-court heave to beat the first-half buzzer, a play that would loom large for the remainder of the afternoon.

Plays that like are easy to remember.  There were plenty of unforgettable moments in Saturday’s football game against Oregon as well.

The overruled Malik Dunlap interception in the endzone and the Tyler Shough pick-six at the end of the game are plays we won’t soon stop talking about because they were defining moments of a game against a national brand that may not ever come to Lubbock again.  Those were also instances that everyone will point to as being when this game got away from the Red Raiders.

However, there were several hidden moments on Saturday night that tipped things in Oregon’s favor.  Those plays are also worth analyzing because they helped contribute to the disappointing loss, even if we didn’t know it at the time.  So here are five hidden moments in the 38-30 loss to Oregon that played a huge role in what was an agonizing night for Red Raiders everywhere.

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