Tahj Brooks was a one-man show for Texas Tech
It’s too bad Spike Dykes couldn’t have seen this game in person because he would have loved seeing the Red Raiders grind out a 16-13 win by running the ball 33 times with a featured back and relying on the defense and kicking game to squeak by. That was the formula Tech often used during the 1980s and 90s and this game certainly felt like a throwback to the old Southwest Conference days.
However, Brooks can’t continue to be a one-man show for the Red Raiders. Someone else is going to have to help him carry the ball.
It was obvious in the second half that he was wearing down. Of course, Kansas started to load the box and made life harder on him as well but as the game progressed, Brooks lost some of the explosiveness and elusiveness that we’ve come to take for granted from him.
Tech simply doesn’t have another running back that the coaching staff trusts. Cam’Ron Valdez had only four carries for 14 yards and no other RB played.
Only the coaches will know why players like Nehemiah Martinez or Xavier White don’t get a few carries if Valdez isn’t able to be trusted with consistent workloads but Tech would be wise to find a way to give Brooks some respite during games. For the year, the senior now has 225 carries, an average of 25 per game.
That’s only eight fewer than Deandre Washington’s career high in 2016 and more touches than Taurean Henderson had in three of his four seasons as a Red Raider. He’s on pace for a 300-carry season which puts him in line with players like Byron Handspard and Bam Morris, two RBs who played at Tech long before the “Air Raid” era of the program.
At some point, Tech’s horse is going to wear out and it appeared that he came close to that on Saturday. Still, he gave the team 133 yards and its only TD on a day when everyone in the state of Kansas knew where the ball was going.