Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
Post game thoughts on Texas Tech's thrilling 56 to 53 triple-overtime victory over TCU, including stars of the game on offense, defense and special teams.
THE RESULT | BREATHLESS | I was out of pocket for all of the first half, but was there for all of the second half and all of the overtimes. Texas Tech is not in this game last year. They're just not. Texas Tech doesn't even compete in this type of game last year. This is a better football team and now this team has wins over three ranked opponents, although Iowa St. may not be ranked much longer, and has two road game wins that we can all say weren't flukes. These were real wins. I was positive that this game was going to be close and I think a lot of you felt the same way, but we weren't probably so sure as to how close it would be in the end. Although it is probably not any consolation, the Texas Tech players and coaches were incredibly complimentary of TCU after the game and how great of a game this was. For what it was, it was a terrific game and I'd hate to be on the losing side of this game. I'm glad that as a fan I wasn't.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | We love the guy that grows his hair long during his senior year. I wanted to be that guy, but could never embrace it. Torres has embraced it. So happy for WR Alex Torres, two touchdown catches and only 5 catches for 53 years, but they were meaningful. Should go ahead and tell all Big 12 teams, don't try to cover Torres with a linebacker with the game on the line.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | You could go with S Cody Davis again who had 11 tackles and 1 interception, and I don't know how I feel about D.J. Johnson's game. I hated the hit to the defenseless receiver, but the reason why Texas Tech was in that game was because of short field and turnovers. Johnson's early interception setting up a short field was huge and Johnson was actually very good in coverage. I didn't get to take notes on this game, but he was significant as the free safety. Not perfect, but significant.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | How about Kramer Fyfe and Summitt Hogue. Heck, you should also credit Tuberville for calling the onsides kick, Fyfe for executing and Hogue for recovering. Texas Tech doesn't win this game without this play and so as conservative as Tuberville can be, there are plays like this that put them in the game.
HOW THE QUARTERS FLIP-FLOPPED | Football is a funny game and this is a team that is working together. Texas Tech couldn't muster any offense in the first and third quarters. I am convinced that had this been last year, Texas Tech loses this game by double-digits because once they got down, they gave up. Again, this team was resiliant, when the offense was down, the defense stepped up their play. The defense forced six field goals for the game. We talk about stops on defense and last year the defense gives up touchdowns, not field goals. And then the offense would click. The problems with the offense were solved for the second and fourth quarters and it just magically clicked (it wasn't magic) and kept Texas Tech in the game.
COACHING DECISIONS | I get that you're frustrated with the coaching decisions, but the neat thing about football, at least from my perspective, is that there isn't a right way or a wrong way to do things. The biggest coaching mistake is Tuberville's conservative play-calling to end the game with about two and a half minutes left on the clock and left too much time on the clock, which eventually resulted in TCU scoring a touchdown and a field goal to tie the game. After the game, Tuberville admitted that he should have thrown the ball.
This should be good news for a lot of you. This means that Tuberville is thinking about his decisions and he's aware of some of them being right or wrong. I'd also add that it's not just a black or white decision. Had Tuberville decided to let Brown call a couple of passes, then maybe it's the same result. There's no guarantees. I understand how these habit are incredibly tough to break for Tuberville. I get the need for Tuberville to be conservative because there are pros and cons with both calls. At some point, there has to be some trust in the players too. The defnse then promptly gave up a 60 yard bomb, uncharacteristically I might add, but CB Eugene Neboh was just half a step behind and couldn't make the play. Then the defense gave up additional chunks of yards. I'm sure Tuberville wasn't planning on that.
But if you say that Texas Tech won that game despite poor coaching decisions, then that's probably not fair either. The onsides kick in the second quarter was a huge boost to the team and Texas Tech doesn't win that game without that play. I'd also add that Tuberville went completely hands-off or approved the call himself and let Brown call a double-reverse that resulted in QB Seth Doege completing the pass to IR Jakeem Grant to get the second overtime touchdown. I know it's part of who we are as fans, we have to kick the coach just a bit because it is what we do, but there were some good called mixed in there too and some of them worked out.
A TOUGH DAY FOR THE OFFENSIVE LINE | There were some pretty serious problems with the offensive line. A huge reason why the offense sputtered is that Texas Tech had serious problems with TCU's front line and couldn't man them up. Not only that, QB Seth Doege's struggles were mainly a result of not having enough time to get the pass off. I recall there were two sacks given up by LG Beau Carpenter, not sure if they were his fault, as C Deveric Gallington I think was in on one, but overall, I think the offense struggled with TCU's quickness. Evidence is the 10 tackles for loss on the day for TCU. That's a lot of lost yards and 4 sacks allowed. There really isn't a solution to magically being able to keep track of faster players other than just matching up properly and in the second and in particular the fourth quarter as well as the overtimes, the line figured it out. Overall, I thought this unit struggled for way too much of the game. OL coach Chris Thomsen needs to get these guys back on track a bit. The numbers probably look worse than they were, but they were helped by a 47 yard romp from RB Kenny Williams that put Texas Tech up by 10. Overall, the running backs rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries, but they were mainly stymied for the bettter part of the game.
CONCERNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE | I praised the defense above for getting stops, but I am admittedly worried about the run defense. TCU had 184 yards rushing on 42 carries and with Kansas St. up next, I'm getting worried. TCU is really a good offensive team, they got just over their run average for the year, but I think K-State is better running the ball. After the game, DC Art Kaufman talked about not worrying too much about Trevone Boykin passing the ball, but wanted to keep him from running the ball, which he did for the most part. Expect a similar game plan against Collin Klein, good or bad, you can't do everything. In any event, Texas Tech gave up some big gains and that is something that I think Kaufman is going to have to correct. Some of those issues were players that were there, but just missed tackles, but Kaufman has work to do this week. Klein hasn't been stopped all year.
UNLIKELY HEROES | I didn't really get the chance to write about this during the week, but one of my concerns about replacing Torres and IR Austin Zouzalik on offense for TE Jace Amaro, WR Javon Bell and WR Bradley Marquez is that they aren't the huge playmakers that the injured players are. Bell and Marquez have speed that Torres and Zouzalik just don't have. That's not a knock against them personally, it's just who they are. But they were unlikely heroes on Saturday. Torres with the game-winning catch and Zouzalik with 5 catches for 55 yards on the day. Truthfully, every receiver really ground out the yards, there were no easy receptions. Torres was the star, but let's not forget that WR Eric Ward led the team with 6 catches for 61 yards and 3 touchdowns while Darrin Moore had 5 catches for 63 yards.
DOEGE'S DAY | I almost went this entire post-game thoughts without mentioning Doege, but son of a gun, he was a warrior today. He was battered, took too hits to the head, one that was called, and he persevered. Not the best day ever, but he was incredibly clutch when he had time. Only 7.5 yards per attempt, but 7 touchdowns with no interceptions is significant. Granted, 3 of those touchdowns happened in the overtimes, but they still count on the ledger.
- Both Eric Stephens and Alex Torres didn't wear knee braces for the first time this year. I really wish Stephens would have a break-out game.
- Kerry Hyder continues to be a disruption on the defensive line as he had 1 sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. I'd also add that although the line is struggling to stop the run, they are still making plays and that is significant.
- I feel that other that Will Smith and Blake Dees, the linebackers are largely anonymous and just don't do enough. Smith had a very good game, but Dees, Micah Awe and Terrance Bullit each only had 2 tackles, while Same Eguavoen only had 4 tackles. There was one major missed tackle on Eguavoen's part, but don't remember the specific play. He was in the right spot, just whiffed on the tackle. I think the staff wants to address the linebackers again in the offseason.
- We all hate punts, but Ryan Erxleben had a terrific day punting the ball away, 8 punts for a 47.4 average. Longer field position for the opponent makes it tougher to score. Erxleben did his part
- After yesterday's game, giving up over 500 yards of offense and 53 points, Texas Tech is still 20th in the nation in rushing offense, 12th in pass defense, 7th in total defense and 34th in scoring defense.
- Offensively, Texas Tech is 76th running the ball, 4th passing the ball and tied for 10th in scoring offense.
- Texas Tech had zero turnovers while TCU had 3. It seems like it has been a while since Texas Tech won the turnover battle. Texas Tech has been winning games despite themselves.