THE RESULT | Things Caught Up | The turnovers and the freshman quarterback play finally caught up with this team. This team played somewhat on the edge the last two games in turning the ball over more than the opponent, but against quality opponents those mistakes are tougher to overcome. Webb was okay, but he wasn't as sharp as he had previously been. I'd guess that his second half splits are much better than his first half splits.
I'd also guess that the speed of the game finally caught up with Webb and it started with that first sack. In previous games, Webb would be able to out-run the opponent, but not against opponents like this. Not for the next few weeks. It's a painful lesson, but one that you can't learn against Kansas or SFA or any other opponent.
There was also some discussion about how you should feel about a loss and I think I've established my record long enough for you to know that I don't tell people what to think. But you can be proud of how a team plays after a loss. Someone on the Twitter said that losses should make a person insufferable and that's a perfect way to become a miserable human being, your significant other and children will love you being insufferable after a loss (I can't imagine if a person is a fan of an NBA or NHL team!). Personally, I loved seeing how this team laid it all out there on Saturday after noon.
This team played fearless.
If you think that you being proud of your team means that you are content or happy, then you have a reading comprehension problem, and it's really not the point. Being disappointed should be reserved when you get blown out by 20 at home or 38 on the road. This team was in this game almost until the end. It was a heck of a game and Texas Tech had opportunities to win. That's all you really can ask from a team, which is compete, be in as many games as possible and be fearless. The only thing this team didn't do is get the win.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | WR Eric Ward was finally found, had some terrific double-moves and was fantastic, 9 catches fo 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. Just a terrific game from Ward who needed that.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | This was one of those games where the first and second level of the defense hardly made any play, but I'm going to go with native Oklahoman, S Tre' Porter, who finished with 13 tackles and a forced fumble.
The Defense Got Blocked | The biggest reason why OU ran all over Texas Tech is that the front seven simply were blocked incredibly well. The Texas Tech defenders just couldn't shake loose and OU did a fantastic job of blocking up front. It's the reason Tre Porter, Bruce Jones and Austin Stewart were your leading tacklers and you have to go down to 7th on the list to find the first defensive lineman, DE Branden Jackson.
Rather than just be about criticisms, we're going to work on solutions here and I'd love for you to add your own. The defensive line simply has to beat their man and make plays. Easier said than done, but there were times, where it seemed like the team was fitting up really well for a zone read play and there should have been a guy there to fill the game, but it just didn't happen. Don't think that Oklahoma St., Baylor, Kansas St. and Texas aren't going to sit up and pay attention to that game film. Not everyone has the offensive line that OU has, but I think it is as simplistic as winning those one-on-one matchups.
Turnovers | A fumble from one of your best players and an tipped interception were maybe the biggest differences in this game. Three
Two turnovers to just one, and Oklahoma capitalized, scored touchdowns, on two both of those turnovers. It's one thing to turn the ball over and force a 3-and-out and mitigate the damage, but both of those drives where OU received the ball as a result of a turnover were gut-crushing turnovers. Texas Tech has been in the red for three weeks in a row as far as turnovers, -3 against Iowa St., -1 against West Virginia and -1 against Oklahoma. I don't know if this is something that's happened at the same time that Webb has taken the reigns. This isn't just an offensive problem, but the defense has only had 2 takeaways in the last two games.
Webb's Inconsistencies | I'm not about to doubt QB Davis Webb's confidence. I think he's a guy that's sky high most of the time and doesn't get down on himself for his play, but that first half of pay was incredibly rough and he was able to turn it on in the second half, but this means that there were a number of missed opportunities in the first half. There were over 160 wasted yards (yards where there was no score and a turnover turning the ball over because of downs) in the first half alone. All of last week, against West Virginia, this team only had 143 wasted yards all game. In other words, the drives were productive and putting pressure on the defense. A lot of that had to do with Webb getting used to the speed of the game because I do think things were ramped up a bit for him. I think he'd never admit it, but the speed of the game caught up with him, especially that defensive end for Oklahoma, Eric Striker.
Costly Penalties | You could maybe argue that one of the penalties against C Jared Kaster was unnecessary, but the first tripping penalty was spot-on, in my opinion. But there were only 3 penalties all game long, they were just really significant penalties. The pass interference on Jakeem Grant was really ticky-tack and I would have disliked if that call had gone against Oklahoma, at some point, you have to let them jockey a bit and I thought that was over the top. That was where Texas Tech had forced the fumble and maybe had some momentum, but an incomplete pass for Webb (maybe a tipped ball by Striker), puts the team at 2-10. That pass interference penalty now puts the team at 2-25, which is incredibly difficult to overcome. So it wasn't the volume, it was the timing. Luckily for Kaster, the first of his penalties, he was bailed out by a OU personal foul penalty that gave Texas Tech the first down. The second of his penalties, it was 28-24 and Texas Tech desperately needed another score. Texas Tech had just scored on a beautiful pass from Webb to Jakeem Grant on the previous drive and Oklahoma answered. Texas Tech gets the ball back and the first play of the drive, Kaster commits his personal foul and now Texas Tech is 1st and 22 from the Texas Tech 13 rather than 1-10 on the Texas Tech 25. Webb was able to claw out of that hole too, with a 28 yard completion to Amaro. Webb eventually throws the tipped interception. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, these penalties don't matter all that much, but I always think that it takes a bit out of of an offense to dig out of a bad penalty situation.
Time of Possession and Third Downs | Texas Tech had multiple opportunities on third downs, and I think in this particular game, the two should be combined. Oklahoma had almost 35 minutes of possession, with 9:30 in the third quarter and 9:04 in the fourth quarter. The Sooners just ate up the clock in the second half and Texas Tech could do little to stop it. OU converted 7 of 14 third downs and were only in 5 third downs in the entire second half and converted 3 of them. That means that the Sooners didn't really need third downs and that OU rushing game was essentially playing keep away from the Red Raiders. Given the fact that Oklahoma St. essentially did something similar against Iowa St. this week, I'd expect the same thing. This will be a game that tests the will of this team.
In Conclusion | Texas Tech has done a ton with two freshmen quarterbacks at the helm and what we thought was going to be a rebuilding year, or at least I thought it was. I've mentioned it a couple of times, but I thought that Texas Tech was essentially playing on house money at this point and most national pundits had Texas Tech winning 7 games all year, maybe an 8th game for the bowl game. But here they are, 7-1 and the only loss coming in Norman when this team wasn't even favored to win that game (somehow Vegas gets this right quite a bit). So I could be totally hacked off, but I think the better feeling is that this is a team that is winning despite shooting itself in the foot and has room to improve this year. I think the Kansas game was the best quarterback game from a Texas Tech quarterback and I'd still love to see Mayfield get his job back because I think he's a bit safer and turnovers are killing this team. I'm conservative and I realize that.
Kliff if playing balls to the wall football and it's incredibly fun right now to watch this team play so incredibly fearless. They're leaving nothing out there on the field and that's something that we really haven't been able to say over the past three years. There were numerous games where there was a lot left out there. That's when you get to be insufferable. Not now. You should hold your head high and know that you lost to a pretty good Oklahoma team that I think had the worst game they could play against their rival. That defense is still pretty good despite what you may read.
Texas Tech fans have 4 more games to watch their head coach push the limits and play fearless football. I'm pretty excited about that.
No team for quick-hits, so you all can help out. I've got a sick wife and a kid that's just getting over being sick and I'm sick too. Good times.