At times, bad luck has befallen Texas Tech on the road
There is no doubt that breaks typically don’t go the way of the road team. To win, road teams usually have to overcome some adversity but frequently during the McGuire era, Tech has been unable to rally after bad luck reared its head.
For instance, there is no denying that the gruesome broken leg Bryce Ramirez suffered early in last fall’s NC State game took an emotional toll on his teammates. Seeing a friend carted off the field and taken immediately to the hospital has to be stunning and difficult to overcome for any team.
Mother Nature played a cruel game with Tech prior to last year’s TCU game. What should have been a flight of less than an hour turned into a nine-hour ordeal as the team plane was stuck on the runway in Lubbock for eight hours waiting for storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to clear. That meant that the Red Raiders’ Friday routine was completely altered as the team didn’t get to the hotel in the Metroplex until Friday night.
What’s more, once that game kicked off, an egregious officiating call would turn the tide against the Red Raiders. With Tech leading 17-13 with about a minute to play in the third quarter, Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson sacked TCU QB Max Duggan to set up what would have been a 3rd-and-14.
However, as Duggan dipped his head to avoid Wilson’s grasp, an official threw a flag for a facemask foul. Replay would clearly show that Wilson did not grab Duggan by the facemask but rather, by the shoulder pads. However, the penalty would stand giving TCU a first down. Seven plays later, the Frogs would find the endzone to take the lead for good.
This season saw another bad break go against Tech on the road at Wyoming. When inside linebacker Jacob Rodriguez was lost for the game with a foot sprain in the first quarter, it completely changed the complexion of that game.
Prior to that point, the Cowboys had picked up only one first down while turning the ball over twice. The second of those giveaways was a fumble forced and recovered by Rodriguez himself, but on that play, he would be injured.
It is reasonable to suggest that had he remained in the game, Rodriguez would have made a difference. Wyoming attacked his replacements who were unable to step up in Rodriguez’s absence as the Cowboys would score all 35 of their points after he left the game.
Sometimes misfortune turns the tide against a team on the road. While bad breaks happen at home too, it is easier to fight through them when there are 60,000 fans helping pull you through.
On the road, teams find out what they are made of when bad luck springs a trap. It is likely that something unexpected will go against Tech again this weekend, be that a blown call, a bad bounce, or an injury. The hope is that the Red Raiders will finally prove to be good enough to rise above those circumstances this time around.