Grades | Texas Tech Red Raiders 45, Baylor Bears 52

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Grading the performance of the last conference game for Texas Tech.

Texas Tech 45, Baylor 52 | Box Score | Quotes |

I don't know what it says about me as a fan, but that was totally the ending I was expecting. I didn't want that ending to happen because no matter what, I'll never ever cheer for a loss for my team, but that was what I sorta thought would happen. Both teams would play close, but Texas Tech would ultimately lose that game because that seems to be the pre-determined script.

Generally speaking, Texas Tech followed the script from the entire season, which is that they play pretty good offensively, had a couple of turnovers offensively and created no turnovers on defense. Essentially, self-inflicted reasons for losing the game. As an aside, I was thinking self-inflicted and it seems like this is the third or fourth game that I've reflected that this team shot itself in the foot and lost the game. That's usually the sign of a team that's just not very good.

So I'm still where I was last week. I'm still uninspired.

I thought the offense played good enough to win, sans the turnovers, and the defense continued to be a let-down. In 2011, 51,615 fans showed up for the game against Baylor in Cowboys Stadium and in 2010, 48,213 fans somewhat filled that stadium. This year, 44,168 fans came out to the game. I don't know the fan breakdown in terms of team support, but I'd guess that Texas Tech sold their allotted 20,000 tickets plus a few extra, but that's still not a lot. Either fans are dissatisfied with the product or the luster of Cowboys Stadium has worn off significantly. I think it's probably a bit of both, but the lack of fan support for this game where Texas Tech has it's largest collection of alumni (aside from West Texas) is troublesome.

And I didn't give out any "F" grades. You can bring that up with management or choose not to tip your server. I know that some units played to that grade, but it gives me sad-face to give these players failing grades. I can't help it.

QUOTES

Well, it's self-inflicted, but there's turnovers usually in every game. They rolled the ball back, dropped it on the goal line, picked it up and scored. It's just one of those things. I don't know, you don't make excuses. We went in today to make enough plays and we didn't. 'Frustrating' is an understatement. I'd be remiss if I didn't say how good Darrin Moore and Eric Ward played. Both played hurt most of the week. Want to say something about Waddle. He wanted to play. He was out there on pins and needles, played his tail off. McDaniel went back in the game. Probably none of us would have done that. A lot of kids grew up. This is a game of maturing and understanding about life. Boy, we've had to do that in the last five, six weeks.

This is a crazy thought, but I do think that Tuberville is a pretty decent human being and that's taking into consideration my feelings that I don't want him to be the head coach of my football team. Aside from all of the investment lawsuit things, which I think was way over his head, I think he does genuinely care about the players. That's not enough for me to want to keep him as my head coach for my team, but I do think he genuinely cares.

I do feel for the players, this is disappointing and this isn't they way they wanted to end the season, yet again. Texas Tech is 1-4 in their last five games.

That's the big question that AD Kirby Hocutt has to answer, which is whether or not the program is trending up or down. Not the season, but the program overall. Is it trending up or down? Are fans excited? Will you sell more season tickets than you did last year?

OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Darrin Moore was just unbelievable and he played his rear off, 13 catches 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.

DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Cody Davis may be the leader of the team, but it's still not even close who the best player on the team is. It's Kerry Hyder and it's Hyder by a wide margin. At defensive tackle, he had 11 tackles and 2 TFL.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | KR Jakeem Grant with a 97 yard kickoff return helped end a touchdown drought.

GRADES

GRADE

POSITION

D

QUARTERBACK

Everything else was just fine. But the interceptions and the fumble just are not acceptable. QB Seth Doege passed for 8.98 yards per attempt, completed 75% of his passes and had three touchdowns, but he also had four costly turnovers. Those turnovers, especially those that were in the Texas Tech redzone is what lost this game. You just can't give the ball away so much without it costing you in the end. The interception into double-coverage was really the only inexcusable interception, but ultimately, it falls on Doege to hold onto that ball and not give it away. It stinks that one of those interceptions glances off of a helmet but he has to be more careful than that.

B

RUNNING BACKS

Overall, when your team runs for 208 yards, that means that some holes opened up and there was room to run. No turnovers by the running backs the combination of Kenny Williams and Sadale Foster is very nice. The 208 yards rushing includes 58 by Doege, but if you include Williams 11 yards out of the backfield and you've got a team that had the running back position total 170 yards and was highly effective. If the running game had been this effective during conference play, then the team probably wins more games. Baylor's rush defense is abysmal, so let's not heap the praise on too much, but this group played well.

A

RECEIVERS

I can't think of many drops, other than maybe the last play of the game where Eric Ward was going to have to make a huge play to keep the team alive, but this was the Moore and Ward show and they were both spectacular. No other player had more than 2 catches other than Moore and Ward, so this was about those two players and they played about as well as could be expected. I could never figure out how Ward was injured, but he didn't seem like he was hurting in the second half.

B

OFFENSIVE LINE

As a unit, sorta like the running backs, they played about as well as you could ask. Lots of players subbed in and out and Tuberville is right, LaAdrian Waddle and Terry McDaniel both played when they probably should not have, but this game means something to them and that means something to me. This is, most likely, the last game other than the bowl game, that those two plus Deveric Gallington will play again. They are most likely not NFL bound and they wanted their team to win despite being injured.

C

DEFENSIVE LINE

If it were not for Hyder, I don't know what this grade would be, but this defense is in a bad way. The line gave up 278 yards on the ground and had zero sacks for the day. If it weren't for Hyder, the defensive line play would be largely forgettable. Few sacks, few big plays and few turnovers, if any. I thought that Delvon Simmons played well in parts. If he had Hyder's motor, Simmons would be unstoppable. One day, Simmons will figure that out. Leon Mackey continues to be a liability for the most part. The defensive ends really don't create any sort of rush, except for Dartwan Bush, and that's largely disappointing. These players need to be better otherwise you won't see any improvement from the defense.

C

LINEBACKERS

This is tricky because there were many, many plays where the linebackers were out of position and continued to do what they've done all year, which is take themselves out of plays. But I think that was Sam Eguavoen's best game and Blake Dees played about as well as I can recall. But there were too many plays where the linebackers couldn't or didn't make any plays and that's when Baylor's running backs had huge chunks of yards. Linebackers have to fill those gaps. I don't know what Will Smith is going to have to do during the offseason to be better. Maybe DC Art Kaufman had it right in spring practice in that Smith is made to play outside linebacker and just isn't adjusting to the middle like we all wanted. Dees is this team's most sound linebacker and Eguavoen is going to be very solid. With spread offenses, most defenses take off their strongside linebacker in nickel situations, which would be Smith, and considering the teams that spread it out, that's not a lot of games for Smith to see the field. I don't know how Kaufman remedies this situation next year other than guys taking that step up and just being better with experience.

D-

SECONDARY

Man o' man. The cornerbacks were just abused and it was just about every one of them and the safties didn't fare too much better. I'd give this group an "F" in a normal situation, but I just don't feel like it because I like Davis and Johnson and Neboh. I can only think of a Eugene Neboh play that was a positive play that was broken up in the endzone. I think he had a couple of other pass breakups, one was just putting up his hand, but even the return of Cornelius Douglas didn't help all that much. The safeties failed to get deep at the end of the first half and that was a devastating score. Cody Davis was in coverage and he wasn't even close to the receiver. I'm not sure he should have had the Baylor receiver that just walked into the endzone with 0:11 remaining in the first half, but it sure looked like he should have and that sort of play is inexcusable. I don't know who fills the void for Davis and D.J. Johnson, despite their warts. They aren't perfect, but I really don't know who is going to play safety next year as they've gotten almost all of the snaps at those spots. It's going to be scary.

D

COACHING

Yea, so I'm not giving the coaching an "F" either because I'm weighing the offense, defense and the overall coaching. On the list of things that are wrong with this team, the offense is very much far down that list. I know that it is very easy to blame Neal Brown for all of the problems, but I can promise you that any alternative is not going to be as dynamic as Neal Brown. I'm pretty sure of that and you'll long for the days of Brown and his offense. The offense played well enough and 45 points should have been enough to win this game. It's the defense that's incredibly problematic. I think that DC Art Kaufman knows what he's doing, but there really aren't any big plays being produced by this group. This defense hasn't had any turnovers since TCU. The defense is giving up an average of 486 yards a game since TCU (does not include TCU). Just 6 games ago, we thought that Kaufman was the answer defensively, but at this point, I'm not sure if Tuberville has gotten the right guy yet again. Those first few games are looking like a mirage at this point. So I'm asking you to be realistic and appropriately critical. I'm not looking to absolve Brown, he has his faults offensively and there are times that he tries to be too cute, but overall, the list of things that concern me about this team starts on defense and continues on defense for a good while. The offensive line is probably my biggest concern offensively and that's a bit down my list of things to be concerned about. Is this thing trending up or is it trending down? I've got my answer.

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