Three statistical areas where Texas Tech football must improve in 2024 season

These three important areas of the game are places where the Texas Tech football program needs to be improved in 2024.
UCF v Texas Tech
UCF v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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The Texas Tech football program is in an interesting spot heading into 2024. Now in the third year of the Joey McGuire era, it is time for mediocrity to give way to national relevance.

The first two years of McGuire's tenure have been solid but far from spectacular. Yes, he's rehabbed the program after the disastrous Matt Wells fiasco and he's gotten the Red Raiders to two-straight bowl wins, however, the effervescent head coach has yet to make Texas Tech football a contender in its own conference, much less on the national scene.

Of course, there were plenty of people who expected 2023 to be a breakthrough campaign for McGuire and the Red Raiders after an 8-win debut season in 2022. That didn't happen leaving many national and local pundits skeptical about the state of the Red Raiders heading into 2024.

On the other hand, it does feel as if McGuire has this program as close as it has been to contending since the end of the Mike Leach era. He's made tremendous strides on the recruiting trail and his teams have, by and large, played competitive football, even in defeat.

Therefore, if the Red Raiders can improve in just a few critical areas of the game, they could be a surprise contender for a Big 12 title. So let's look at three statistical areas where McGuire's squad needs to imrove just a bit in 2024.

Texas Tech must improve its turnover margin

The most important stat in the game, turnovers, was an area where Tech struggled in 2023. If that changes this fall, it could mean the difference in a handfull of extra victories.

Tech ranked just 110th nationally in turnover margin last year. Giving the ball away 0.46 times more per game than they took it away, Tech was second-to-last in the Big 12.

Last year, Tech had 18 interceptions and five fumbles lost. That's not a terribly high number of giveaways, especially considering all of the QB issues the program had to deal with last season. (Remember that six of those interceptions came from true freshman QB Jake Strong who only played in six quarters last season.)

The problem is that Tech didn't take the ball away nearly enough. In fact, Tech had only 17 takeaways all season. The stated goal of the program is to get three per game, which would have been 39. Defensive coordinator Tim DeRyuter's unit didn't even get to half of that total last season.

In losses to Oregon, Kansas State, and BYU, Tech lost the turnover battle a combined 12-0. That included five giveaways against the Cougars. Each of those games was winnable but the Red Raiders failed to close out those games thanks in large part to giving the ball away and failing to take it away. If those types of performances don't happen in 2024, the Red Raiders could significantly improve their season win total.