The Texas Tech football team played arguably the worst game of the Joey McGuire era Saturday in a 20-13 loss to West Virginia. Here are some rapid reactions to what we saw in Morgantown as Tech fell to 1-3 on the season.
Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough deserves better than what fate has dealt him
Tyler Shough left the game with a leg injury in the first quarter. It marks the third straight year that he will not make it past the fourth game of the season without sustaining a serious injury.
As of this moment, we don’t know what his prognosis is but the way McGuire reacted to the injury and the fact that he was carted off of the field with an air cast on his leg gives everyone reason to believe that this is not a minor injury.
Regardless of how anyone feels about Shough as a QB, there is no one who wants to see him injured again. He’s done everything we could have asked of a Red Raider since he stepped on campus and it is just heartbreaking to see him dealt another awful blow in a career full of misfortune on the injury front. This is not how anyone wanted to see the Behren Morton era begin.
Behren Morton looks awful in relief of Shough
Speaking of Morton, he had an opportunity to play the role of savior on Saturday but instead, he laid an egg. In fact, it looked as if he was playing for the first time as a collegiate instead of taking snaps in his 13th career game.
Perhaps it was the wet conditions, perhaps it was a lack of practice reps with the starters, perhaps it was just a bad day, but whatever the reason, Morton did not give those of us who have been calling for him to be the man any reason to crow. Going just 13/37 passing for 158 yards and 1 TD, he led Tech to only 10 points in three quarters of action.
Time and again he threw balls that were so off-target that they either bounced to the receiver or landed closer to the front row of the stands than his intended teammate. Hopefully, a week’s worth of practice reps with the first team will help him improve because what we saw from him on Saturday was abysmal.
Tahj Brooks is a warrior for Texas Tech
On a day when nothing else worked for his team, Tahj Brooks almost carried his team to overtime. With 149 yards on 25 carries, he accounted for 49.2% of Tech’s offensive output.
Brooks easily outshined WVU’s star RB, C.J. Donaldson, who had just 48 yards on 15 rushes. So the question that must be asked is, why wasn’t it Tahj time earlier in the game?
Texas Tech OC Zach Kittley continues to confound
On a day when you lose your starting QB to injury and your backup is clearly struggling, why do you not turn to your most reliable option, Brooks, early and often? That’s what Texas Tech fans are asking today after another confounding game plan by OC Zach Kittley.
In the first half, Brooks had only three carries, even as the offense struggled to get anything going through the air. Meanwhile, Shough and Morton combined for six carries in that half.
Kittley has continued to rely too heavily on the passing game despite the obvious bass-blocking struggles of his O-line and on Saturday, when he was down to just Morton or true freshman Jake Strong, he still didn’t turn to Brooks until Tech was down by two scores. Kittley needs to have a serious look at his philosophy and consider who is the most reliable player on this team. That’s Brooks and he needs to be the featured player in the offense before Tech falls into a big hole.
Do we need to have a serious discussion about McGuire?
Even though we are not even halfway through Joey McGuire’s sophomore season as head coach, it is fair to wonder if we need to have a serious question about his job performance. With this loss, he’s now just 9-8 overall and 7-8 against FBS opponents.
Of course, he’s also just 1-6 in true road games after losing to the team that was picked last in the preseason conference poll. If he were not recruiting and rallying support among the influential donors as well as he is, his seat would already be getting hot.
I still like McGuire and I don’t think it is time to call for his job to be in jeopardy. However, this season is quickly turning into a dumpster fire before we even reach October. What he is able to coax out of this incredibly flawed team the rest of the year will be telling about his skills as a leader and a head coach.
Penalties doom Texas Tech
One way to make sure you lose on the road is to commit 9 penalties for 96 yards as Tech did on Saturday. Many of those flags were back-breaking as they came on third down and kept WVU drives alive. This is a problem that has been ongoing throughout 2023 and it bit the Red Raiders again in Morgantown.
This season is already a disaster
So much for all the offseason talk of Tech competing for a Big 12 title. That dream is dead and buried after this loss.
Sure, it is still mathematically possible but if Tech can’t beat a bad WVU team that is playing its backup QB, then Tech won’t beat KSU, TCU, BUY, Kansas, or Texas. Heck, it is more likely that this team will miss out on a bowl game now given that a record of 5-2 will be required the rest of the way. What a disastrous scenario for a team that had such high aspirations.