THE RESULT | Terrific and Conflicting | I just hate injuries. Just hate them. Doesn't matter really who it is, I just want to see guys compete on a high level and do well and compete against each other, but life doesn't work that way. This team embodies Texas Tech in a way. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury says it in his post-game presser when asked about what happens next. He's at a loss for answers and he's not going to speculate, but whatever happens:
"Next man up."
That's all you can do, and whoever will play quarterback will move the ball and score touchdown. Kingsbury doesn't use qualifying words like, "we hope" whoever plays comes in moves the ball and scores touchdowns, but this is what will happen.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | QB Baker Mayfield, we may not get to award this to you for the rest of the year so here you go. Baker was 33 of 51 for 368 yards, 7.2 yards per attempt and one early interception, where he looked a bit rattled, but was otherwise spectacular and he didn't even throw a touchdown.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | How about DT Jackson Richards, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery on the same play, plus he had two tackles for a loss. You could also go with Hyder or Jackson, but we'll get to them later.
The Knee | Crap. Crap. Crap. That's how I feel and I hate this for Mayfield. I don't know if this is the end of the year for him, but if it is, then it's the worst way to end his year. This was the worst thing about this game, maybe the only bad thing about this game. Get well soon. Heal fast. We want to see you on the field soon.
Next Man Up | If you listen to the presser, you can hear head coach Kliff Kingsbury asked about Mayfield and he just says, he's not sure right now. Next man up.
Next man up.
I don't know if this is going to be Brewer, but it was really good to see him in uniform and it was good to see him taking snaps, sorta. He didn't really get the opportunity to do what he probably wanted to do, but it was really good to see him. If anything, I think it was a sign. A sign that Kingsbury was sure that Brewer was fully healthy and that he could play. The other sign? Moving walk-on quarterback Collin Bowen to an outside linebacker spot. I'm not totally sure, but I think that Kingsbury needed at least four quarterbacks for drills and before Brewer was healthy, it was Mayfield, Davis Webb, Clayton Nicholas and Bowen. With Brewer healthy, Bowen can maybe be moved to a spot where he can play more or see the field as soon as possible.
About That Defense | Three fumbles lost, one interception, three sacks, and ten tackles for a loss. Only 1.4 yards per rushing attempt and only 53 total yards rushing for the game. Not 390, but 53. And 3 of 16 on third downs, that's just 18%. The thing that I'm probably most impressed about is this defense's ability to string out play and for players to get to the ball.
And how about that defense's ability to adjust during a game. I think part of this was just Kansas coming back down to Earth a bit because Heaps just couldn't miss and he was only completing 50% of his passes or so for the season. Heaps was 7 for 8 on those first two drives, and Kansas had 104 total yards. Kansas had 169 yards the rest of the game on 57 plays for 2.96 yards per play.
Dominant Defensive Line | Holy smokes, the defensive line played gap control defense, not just getting inside where they were supposed to be, but dividing offensive linemen and dominating those gaps. That was the best game that I've seen from DE Branden Jackson. Best games. And that was also maybe the best game that I've seen from DT Jackson Richards and DT Kerry Hyder was there too. Kansas was shut down because the defensive line just dominated every facet of the Kansas ground game. Kansas tried to pass the ball too much, they should have tried to run more, but I don't think it would have mattered.
Just to put your head around some of the numbers for the players mentioned, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and turnovers. Again, dominant.
Don't Let Anyone Tell You 114 Yards Rushing | There were 43 yards lost from the three or four bad snaps, so we're taking those out of the equation. The running backs had 140 yards on 17 carries for 8.3 yards per carry. It wasn't just one guy, it was Kenny Williams with 12 and DeAndre Washington that just demolished Kansas. Listening to the press conference, Washington mentions that they zoned Kansas 6 plays in a row (if there was every any question whether or not Texas Tech still zone blocks, which they do, but those things take time).
That first drive of the second quarter, when we were all thinking that Texas Tech needed a score, Texas Tech started off that drive with four straight passes from Mayfield and then . . . Then it was Williams, 2 from Sadale Foster, who was a terrific change of pace, 4 from Williams, 1 from Washington and the drive ended with just a field goal. That's 8 straight runs, something I don't think we've seen all year. And just getting the field goal felt like Texas Tech was robbed a bit, but that's all the skies needed to let the rains come down.
From that point, it was a terrific mix, still more passes than anything else, where Kingsbury and Mayfield just worked over the Kansas defense. Really, just at thing of beauty at that point. There were some times that the goal line offense didn't look great, and there were WAY TOO MANY FIELD GOALS! but Texas Tech scored 54 points, none of those points came in the first quarter.
Receivers Had Big Days | I'm not exactly sure just yet how many third down receptions TE Jace Amaro had, but I'm pretty sure he had a lot. I just loved seeing Kingsbury take SARR's suggestion to heart and getting the ball to Jakeem Grant, who had 7 catches for 92 yards, but the big days were reserved for Amaro, who finished with 9 catches for 96 yards and Eric Ward, who had 7 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Really terrific play from those three guys.
Ward finally got some separation along the sideline and Mayfield figuring out that he can trust him. That pass along the sideline to find a streaking Ward was really a beautiful throw.
QUICK HITS | Some of these insightful things I may have mentioned on Twitter.
- As soon as Dylan Cantrell caught his touchdown, I tweeted out that he has the stickiest hands on the team and he does. At that point, I was tweeted out by our own mojavereject this video:
- I thought that the offensive line, as a whole, was terrific and when you don't notice then, that means they are doing their jobs. I thought RT Rashad Fortenberry had his best day that I can remember. There was one block that he had on a DeAndre Washington touchdown on the right side and Fortenberry just sealed his man. Great play is about consistency and I think this is the best and most complete game that Fortenberry has played. Just great work. I'd also add that moving James Polk to left guard and planting Beau Carpenter at right guard looked really good and really shored up some of the issues that this team had in allowing some guys inside. With a smaller center, it can be tough on Jared Kaster, but he really competes and he's mobile.
- I'm going to have to wait until the full game is posted online, but when in the drive before Mayfield rushed 19 yards for his touchdown, there was a similar defensive look. Essentially, Kansas thought it would be a good idea to just rush four players, essentially trying to pressure the edge. In the play before, I think that Kaster just stood there with no one to block. I'd guess that Kingsbury, Morris and Cumbie pulled Kaster and Mayfield aside and told him that Mayfield would just take off running. It was awesome to see Kaster run down the field, eyes on a swivel, just looking for someone to plow down. He couldn't find anyone for 15 yards. It was terrific play calling, and it was probably a situation where the coaches were asking, WTF was Kansas doing not having any defender stunt back around. Great recognition by Mayfield and Kaster.
- I haven't even talked about the linebackers, but they were awfully good too. Quiet days from everyone except Sam Eguavoen, who just had a killer play on a screen that he sniffed out incredibly early. Will Smith and Eguavoen finished with 6 tackles each, Smith had 1 sack for good measure and Eguavoen had 1.5 tackles for loss.
- Someone asked for the penalty breakdown and I can't promise this each time, but here goes:
(1) false start (1st Q; Le'Raven Clark);
(2) offside (1st Q);
(3) pass interference (2nd Q; Eric Ward);
(4) delay of game (2nd Q);
(5) pass interference (3rd Q; Ola Falemi);
(6) false start (3rd Q; Jared Kaster);
(7) illegal formation (4th Q);
(8) holding (4th Q; Beau Carpenter -- on an extra point);
(9) personal foul (4th Q);
(10) delay of game (4th Q).
Really, what we're talking bout is just 6 penalties when the game really mattered and that's probably pushing it. The offensive line didn't have any holding penalties other than the hold on the extra point.
- This is going to get lost a bit yesterday and today, but Texas Tech and Tubby Smith received a commitment from Plano East F Zach Smith!
- Don't want this to get lost either. Davis Webb, comes in cold off the bench, and all he does is toss two touchdowns.
- Ryan Erxleben got his job back, at least for this week and averaged 46.5 yards a punt.
- The average starting field position for the game was Texas Tech's own 44 yard line.