THE RESULT | SO MANY MISTAKES, BUT I'LL SAVOR THIS ONE | Over 100 yards in penalties, two costly turnovers, one resulting in a touchdown, and at times, I'm sure that we all banged our fist against the couch or our head against a wall for something that happened. But I'll take it. I remember that one of the criticisms of Tuberville in the 2010 season was that he wasn't doing it with enough pizazz. Running out the clock is for losers. Moar gas pedal!
Texas Tech won the game for a lot of reasons, a lot of individual players and coaches, but the biggest reasons why Texas Tech won is because they played terrific defense and the offense consumed 4:30 of time in the second to last drive, the one that resulted in field goal to win the game. It seems silly to think that time of possession is something to hang your hat on, but Iowa St. needed time. They needed time to get their offense back on the field, but Texas Tech wouldn't give up the ball and by the time that Texas Tech finished that drive, there was only 2:20 left on the clock. Iowa St. didn't have a chance. Texas Tech had the ball for 10 plays and only went 29 yards. That's beautiful.
I don't know what to expect the rest of the way. October is a murderer's row of teams hosting Oklahoma, West Virginia, and then on the road against TCU and Kansas St. If Texas Tech can win two of four games, I will consider it a success. I don't know if that's a low bar on my end, but there will be ugly football.
Doege will look bad at some time these next four games, but I can promise you that a redshirt freshman would most likely look worse.
My biggest take-away is perseverence. This team persevered and it did not persevere last year. Doege very well could have given up, but he shook off mistakes. He lived with those mistakes on each successive play last year. He's not perfect, and neither is this team. You're going to have to live with that.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | I'm torn on who to give it to here. On one hand, the speed of two players that I'll talk about had a huge impact, but give me the solid play of WR Eric Ward, who had 9 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | I'm splitting it this week, half goes to DT Kerry Hyder and the other half goes to CB Cornelius Douglas. Hyder looks like a different player, he does not looked over-matched and he looks like he has matured. Douglas was gifted those interceptions, at least one of them, but someone had to make them and he did. I write way too much about big plays. Those interceptions were big plays.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | K Ryan Bustin missed a field goal but he also iced the game. His nickname is now "Ice Man".
DOEGE, O DOEGE | I wish I had split stats, but as we all know, QB Seth Doege was awful in the first half of the game. He was missing reads, he was on the run, he made poor decisions. But he was significantly better in the second half. In the second half, he started off the second half with an 8 play series that resulted in a punt, but then he led the team on a 8 play 71 yard touchdown drive, 8 plays 51 yards for a missed field goal, 1 play and 9 yards for a touchdown, 10 plays, 29 yards for a field goal.
Unless there is just a total melt-down, there's really no reason to even bring up QB Michael Brewer because it's just not going to happen. This staff and this team has put their stock in Doege. That's it. Win or lose, this team is going to go with him, so get used to it. He's your guy and he's going to be your guy for the year. I know he has his faults, but I also know that every player has faults, but last year Doege would have lost that game.
SWEET SWEET DEFENSE | Some of this has to do with the ineptitude of Iowa St.'s offense, in particular the fact that QB Steele Jantz is not a good quarterback when it comes to throwing the ball, but the defense allowed 189 total yards. The defense allowed 116 yards rushing. Texas Tech allowed 73 yards passing. The Texas Tech defense limited Iowa St. to 3.3 yards a play. The Texas Tech defense had 8 tackles for loss. The Texas Tech defense had 4 sacks. the Texas Tech defense had 3 interceptions. The Texas Tech defense had 20 defenders register a tackle.
This was a cumulative effort, but there were so many terrific individual performances. So many little things that I sorta take for granted.
By my count, Texas Tech played 26 players. There is depth, there is competition and DC Art Kaufman deserves a ton of credit for developing that talent. For trusting the depth and playing that depth. It would be incredibly easy to just play the starters because they are the best players, but he knows he won't survive the Big 12 if he does that.
Standing ovation Mr. Kaufman.
TERRIFIC DEFENSIVE LINE | The defensive line was just terrific. DE Jackson Richards was a different player yesterday, he was really effective for the most part. Not perfect, he did bite on a zone read on one play that led to a long Jantz run, but overall he was really good. DT Kerry Hyder was a disruptive force pretty much the entire game. He looks like a different player than last year, but I think a big part of it is that Kaufman's come up with a nice rotation of players, including him and DT Leon Mackey.
After the game, Tuberville said that he didn't think that the defense blitzed one time and I think that's accurate. If there was any pressure late in the game other than from the line, it was from a linebacker like Terrance Bullitt or stand-up defensive end in Pete Robertson that just chased Jantz all over the field.
NOT SO TERRIFIC OFFENSIVE LINE | The official stats say that there were only 5 quarterback pressures and onlyl 3 sacks, but a large part of Doege's struggles was due to an offensive line that struggled, particuarly in the first half. I don't think there was just one guy that didn't struggle at a point, but that also doesn't give credit to Iowa St.'s defense. They're really good, in particular the defensive line. It was my biggest concern going into this game.
Like Doege, the line did play better in the second half, or at least it seemed that way. It's a symbiotic relationship between them and Doege, and if they're better, then Doege will look better.
SPEED CHANGED THE GAME | WR Javon Bell and IR Jakeem Grant changed the game. Well, their speed changed the game. Bell's 47 yard catch that set up the Darrin Moore touchdown was just a glimpse of what he could do. A pretty simple bubble screen and I think we got to see some of the stop-and-start that I'm just not used to seeing. Grant only caught 2 passes for 23 yards, but Grant's 11 yard touchdown was a blur and it was probably a blur to the Iowa St. defender too. Offenses are more dangerous, in general, when the offense has match-up problems. This team has match-up problems for opposing teams. Moore's post-route for a touchdown was the same play that scored Eric Ward against New Mexico, Doege just had to get it above the defense and Moore had leverage against the defender. Iowa St. or any other Big 12 team doesn't really have an answer for TE Jace Amaro.
WILLIAMS TOOK OVER | It's good to have options. For whatever reason, RB Eric Stephens just wasn't feeling it and he wasn't effective. Sometimes that happens, but it's nice to have options. Were it not for the -35 yards from Doege sacks, the team would have had a pretty decent day, not perfect, but pretty good, 23 rushes for the running backs for 100 yards, which turned out to be 4.3 yards per carry. Williams is a strong runner and he is quietly putting together an impressive season. It's nice to have options.
SUMMARY | I think I have a better handle on this team, finally. I think I know that this team is better than last year, but it's obviously not perfect. Thankfully, no team in the Big 12 is perfect and that's your solace for the day. The Big 12 is probably the most competitive conference right now, there are 7 or 8 teams that could beat any other team on any give day. There are some teams that are better offensively and some that are better defensively. Texas Tech is right there in the middle of the group I think. I don't think this is a Big 12 championship team, but I think it's a better team that last year, the problem is that I don't know if the record will reflect that. I think it will, but I'm not completely sold just yet. Doege has to be better, and I think that he knows he needs to be tighter with his passes. There is no reason to force any play because there are players that can make up 10 yards in the blink of an eye. He has to trust his guys and not think that he has to make every play.
It's not just the offense that can make plays. It's the defense too. D.J. Johnson's hit to force the interception was a huge turning point of this game. I don't know if he makes that play last year. I still don't think there has been a significant completion against a cornerback all year. I don't even know if Jantz looked at whoever CB Eugene Neboh was covering.