THE RESULT | QUITE PLEASING | Geez. Not really sure what to say about an almost perfect performance by QB Seth Doege. Seriously, 40 of 44 for a 90.1% completion percentage for 401 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. The curious thing about Doege, that we'll get into a bit later, is that for the first two games I've been somewhat nervous about whether or not the Seth Doege that was hurried and rushed when he was in the game that would make bad decisions would show up and that Seth Doege isn't around any more. I think that Doege threw one, yes, just one, questionable pass against Texas St. and I don't recall any questionable passes yesterday. And a defense that gave up a total of 337 yards (228 passing and 109 rushing) and you've got yourself a blowout. And if you want to get nit-picky, then you could also say that the last two drives by New Mexico, 30 yards and 47 yards, were in garbage time and had the Texas Tech defense not played so far off the receivers and playing so many second and third team players, then you'd be talking about holding an opponent to less than 300 yards.
INCREDIBLY EFFICIENT OFFENSE | The first two drives took up all of ten plays, all being pass plays, and resulted in two touchdowns. The first drive, four plays total, I think, showed what Doege and Brown wanted to do against New Mexico, which was I think OC Neal Brown wanted to exploit what he thought was going to be a mismatch for New Mexico on the outside receivers as both WR Darrin Moore and WR Eric Ward both had two big days. Ward was targeted the first two plays and then Moore came up with the 56 yard reception for a touchdown. The second drive, which was so much longer, with five plays, initially focused on IR Jacoby Franks and IR Alex Torres, but it was Moore that ended up catching a 7 yard touchdown, which was really a result of the defensive back giving an 8 yard cushion when there was only 7 yards (or so) to go until the goal line. The third drive, which we'll dissect later this week, was a thing of beauty: 17 plays (excluding penalties) of clock-churning production, 8 running plays (one of which included Doege taking a sack as a result of a bad snap) and 9 passing plays. It was really something to behold.
CLEAN JERSEY AND BIG YARDS ON THE GROUND | We'll get to the defense here in a minute, but the offensive line was stellar. I really can't remember one time where any offensive lineman struggled to keep his man in front of him and Doege and the line made New Mexico pay on the first two scoring drives as the Lobos brought a blitz, but the Texas Tech offensive line (and RB Eric Stephens) would pick it up and Doege would deliver. And the line is getting credit for keeping Doege clean almost the entire game, and they should, but the line was also responsible for over 178 yards rushing on just 35 carries for a 5.1 YPC average. Stephens almost rushed for 100 yards, but he had 155 yards (92 rushing and 63 receiving) in offense from the line of scrimmage. Big props to the entire offensive line.
VERY SURE WHAT THE DEFENSE DID | When I thought about the game, really just an hour or so after the game, I couldn't think of anything spectacular that the defense did. Don't get me wrong, the DT Kerry Hyder tipped pass that resulted in a LB Blake Dees interception was great and then there was the Texas Tech offensive drive that resulted in turning the ball over on downs, the Texas Tech defense came up with another huge play as DE Jackson Richards is doing a terrific job of occupying the tackle with one hand, reaching out to grab New Mexico QB Tarean Austin with the other, causing the fumble and then DE Dartwan Bush recovering that fumble. So my initial statement seems silly after writing about those last two events, but the defense still seemed quiet, but in actuality, the defense had 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, and 1 interception. That's not a bad days work and as of this morning, Texas Tech is #4 in the nation in turnover margin at +2.5, which means that thus far, the defense has 7 gained turnovers to just 2 turnovers on offense. That's how you win football games.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT | I really like Jackson Richards at defensive end and he seemed to be the most consistent defensive end on the field that played assignment based football. He didn't over-rush the quarterback and he really does have the size and strength to be a very solid defensive end for Texas Tech for a handful of years. Fellow DE's Dartwan Bush, Aundrey Barr and Kindred Evans are okay, but they're one-trick ponies, which is why the coaches recruited DE Leon Mackey and have DE Scott Smith waiting until his suspension is lifted (after 4 games). Evans is okay, but he's not ready for prime-time. There were times that he struggled and there was one play that I recall where he and the DL were stunting and Evans was looping back inside of the line of scrimmage behind the DL and it just so happened that the NM plays was a delayed handoff and the running back would be running right where Evans was. Evans seemingly paused and the NM running back ran right past him and Evans was behind the play. I understand why Evans is getting playing time and I think he should continue to get time in blowouts, but he's not ready for Big 12 play. I'd also add that I think that Barr and Bush may be given different assignments than Richards and its possible/probable that they're being told to rush up the field, but I'd like to see a little more patience with them.
Additional Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
One other thing to add, which is something that was obvious to everyone, was the thought that I appreciate DC Chad Glasgow being aggressive, bringing a corner blitz with CB Tre' Porter, but that corner blitz ended up costing Texas Tech a long play that resulted in New Mexico's only touchdown for the day. The idea was really fantastic, but here are the problems with that play. Porter hesitated on the blitz. He needed to be going full speed and I think that had he been going full speed, he would have gotten to the NM quarterback, but he just looked hesitant. S Cody Davis should have started backing up a bit more knowing that it would take a perfect pass from the NM quarterback to complete something on the sideline and had Porter really blitzed, then Austin would have had almost no time to actually do much, if anything, with that pass. I think the secondary is going to struggle and they will have their tough games this year. Thus far, they've had two good games, but those two good games are a result of the opposing quarterback over-throwing their receivers for most, if not all, of the game. It's a weakness and I'm thinking that as the games continue, Glasgow knows he's got to do a better job of covering that up.
STUNTS FOR EVERYONE | I think we saw some of this while Ruffin McNeill was the defensive coordinator and I've blacked out everything that happened with James Willis, but the way that the defensive line is stunting and causing pressure is really something to watch. I shouldn't do this here, but I'm going to let you know that DT Kerry Hyder is my defensive MVP for the game. His stat line from the game is unimpressive. Two tackles, one forced fumble and one tipped pass, but he's really good and he's not getting near enough praise for what he's doing on the field. Sure, he may be a bit undersized, but he's bringing it each and every play. He's truly quick enough to create issues while stunting with a defensive end in that he's not lumbering up the field at all, he's very quick to his spot, whether he's looping or whether he's diving to proper spot. He's been really good. I'd also add that DT Chris Perry looks like a completely different player. You're missing out if you're not watching him. Yes, he's not starting, but he's pretty good. I can't say that I noticed much from Langley yesterday, but I still love what DT Dennell Wesley brings (i.e., a 300/+ pound defensive lineman with some athleticism) and in second half action, DT Delvon Simmons was all over the place, finishing with 5 tackles, 1.5 TFL and 1.0 sacks.
SPREADING THE WEALTH | Fourteen different receivers. A few of those receivers can thank QB Jacob Karam, but there were 14 different receivers that caught a pass yesterday. Moore led the way again with 9 catches, 118 yards and 3 touchdowns, but I absolutely loved the play of WR Eric Ward, who finished with a workman-like 8 catches for 87 yards and was the recipient of 2 touchdowns. That's the Eric Ward that I've been wanting to see since he arrived on campus. He is a physical receiver and I think he's really learning the nuances of the game. In Ward's first touchdown, the announcers said that the NM defensive back cut off Ward's initial move inside on a slant and forced Ward outside. That's bullsh. Ward made that move and it was a designed play. I wasn't in the huddle, but that was Ward stepping hard inside on the slant and then going to the corner for the endzone for a terrific catch. If I had to guess, that's the biggest reason why Ward hasn't played to this point and if he's going to continue to learn the nuances of the game, it's only going to get better. And if you want to talk about learning the nuances, how about TE Jace Amaro's touchdown? Texas Tech was in 12 personnel in the Pistol formation (1 RB and 2 TE). Amaro sold the block, Doege sold the play-action, Amaro goes into the flat and you've got yourself a wonderful first touchdown for Amaro as New Mexico was thinking they had to defend the run.
MORE RUNNING BACK INVOLVEMENT | The running backs had 182 yards rushing on 33 carries for 5.68 yards per carry and 67 yards receiving on 11 catches for 6.09 yards per catch. Eric Stephens carried the bulk of the load and if there is one noticeable difference between this year and last year, it's that Stephens seems much more thoughtful about fumbling the ball. There were numerous times yesterday where I thought that New Mexico was trying to knock the ball loose on Stephens, but he was solid all game long. I loved seeing RB Ronnie Daniels getting his first touchdown of his career in his hometown and you can tell that he truly is a more physically imposing running back than what Texas Tech normally has on their roster. I also do like how RB DeAndre Washington is quicker than Stephens and he also learned that no matter where you're at on the field, you have to think about ball security. The one player that seems to be suffering as a result of the talented freshman class is Ben McRoy, who is just getting mop-up time, but I do like him as a kick returner and I think he's going to be a threat there as he had 2 returns yesterday for 56 yards and a 28 YPR average.
DOEGE'S NEAR PERFECTION | I don't know what to write about near perfection. The only thing that I haven't mentioned that we usually talk about is the fact that Doege averaged 9.11 yards per attempt, which is Doege's second straight straight yards-per-attempt game as he had 9.87 YPA last week. That is a quarterback that is not only completing a high percentage of passes, but he's also getting the ball down the field on a regular basis. You don't get 9 YPA by just dinking and dunking, and credit should certainly go to Doege's receivers as Moore juked his way to his 56 yards touchdown, but Doege was incredibly accurate. He was decisive. He didn't hesitate. He let the game come to him. He saw the entire field. He involved at least 12 receivers into the passing game and he was unstoppable.
OFFENSIVE MVP | QB SETH DOEGE | I can't think of any more things about how awesome Doege was yesterday, but he was like a bear riding a shark with a wolfpack t-shirt.
DEFENSIVE MVP | DT KERRY HYDER | So good yesterday doing the dirty work that's required of a defensive linemen.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVP | KICKOFF COVERAGE | The entire kickoff coverage unit deserves some props. New Mexico had 7 possible returns and had 141 yards for a 20.14 average. Anytime that you can limit your opponent to just 20 yards and there were many times that New Mexico was starting inside their own 20 then I think they deserve some credit for keeping the Lobo return team in check.