THE RESULT | WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE | Struggle to do much of anything the first few drives and bring it like gang-busters after the first three drives. When I go back and look at my game notes, it's incredibly discouraging from looking at the first three drives. I wrote that in the 3rd Kansas touchdown that LB Blake Dees lacked any awareness in that pass into the flat and he had trouble covering tight ends going into the middle of the field. On the first Kansas touchdown I wrote that Dees and LB Sam Eguavoen were both blocked into the second level, but that Kansas did a terrific job of blocking that rushing play. I mentioned this last week, which was that there were too many times by my very untrained eye that the linebackers weren't filling the right holes, but things changes around that 4th drive. At some point, and I had a difficult time determining when LB Cqulin Hubert and LB Daniel Cobb were substituted into the game, but they both had significant impacts. Two straight interceptions by SS D.J. Johnson ended any hopes and then you tack onto that two absolutely incredible and quick-striking offensive drives by the offense to pull Texas Tech back into the game. The fourth Texas Tech scoring drive was a 7 play drive that resulted in RB DeAndre Washington scoring from 1 yard out and the 5th drive, a 7 play drive that saw QB Seth Doege take another busted play, scrambles out of the pocket and finding WR Jacoby Franks for a score in the corner of the endzone. In the third, four, and fifth drives, they all resulted in scores. While K Donnie Carona nailed a 29 yard field goal. A punt and a missed field goal by Carona ended the half, but then Texas Tech went on touchdown scoring drives to open the second half. Ballgame.
A SIMPLE SUBSTITUTION | I mentioned this above, but I wasn't sure when Cobb and Hubert were substituted into the game and after the game it was mentioned that Dees had ankle problem that led to Hubert being in the game. Still, Hubert and Cobb were huge. WS Cody Davis led the team in tackles, but Cobb finished with 11 tackles, and 1.5 TFL, while Hubert had 9 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1 sack, 1 force fumble, and 1 interception. That's not a bad days work having missed the first quarter. The defense continued to give up yards in the second half, but it was clear that they made a difference. They knew where they were supposed to be, they filled the lanes and they made plays. I know that DC Glasgow and Tuberville wanted to ensure that the team played fast, but Dees and Eguavoen aren't making plays and they're playing tentatively. And this isn't me saying that the defensive struggles are entirely the fault of Dees and Eguavoen, but I think they are playing a part. They are young and there is hope for the future with the two of them as they can mature, but right now, it seems clear to me that Hubert and Cobb are the guys that should be starting.
Additional Storylines and MVP's after the jump.
THE UNNOTICED PLAY | It was pointed out by the stellar play-by-play guy, but IR Cornelius Douglas' block to score WR Eric Ward on the first Texas Tech scoring drive was absolutely huge. Tuberville mentioned it after the game, but Douglas was also huge in special teams finishing with 4 tackles. That's your starting inside receiver. And to top it off, he finished his offensive day with 4 catches for 98 yards. Douglas will probably always have a bit trouble catching the ball, but he sure as heck knows how to block down the field, tackle on special teams and when he has the opportunity, he can make plays offensively. Just a terrific game from Douglas.
THIS MAY BE DOEGE AND THAT'S JUST FINE | QB Seth Doege didn't have an awful day, but it wasn't the best. He finished the day going 29 of 46, completing 64% of his passes, threw his first interception, but also threw 3 more touchdowns. It's respectable to have 7.8 yards per attempt and for the year, Doege has 14 touchdowns to just 1 interception. There were dropped passes, but there were also times that Doege lacked the ability to get the ball into the flat and short-hopped a handful of passes to receivers. But Doege was awfully good when the team really needed him to perform. Not perfect, but in the drives where Texas Tech scored, he was terrific running the hurry-up offense. I'd also add that Doege found 11 different receivers and there wasn't one receiver that had more than 4 catches. Doege makes sure that the defense can't focus on just one player and there isn't any part of the field that he doesn't see. And considering he was hit hard a couple of times and he got right back up and just kept making plays, I'm fine with his performance.
PICKING AT THE DEFENSE | Kansas has been pretty good offensively, but I think that this is the Texas Tech defense that you're going to have to live with for the rest of the year. Kansas had 478 yards of total offense, 239 yards rushing and 239 passing. Thinking off-hand, there isn't a remaining team on the schedule that can't run the ball effectively and the line is just going to have to shore things up inside, the secondary is going to have to learn to take better angles on receivers and the linebacker have to fill those holes and adjust to covering tight ends in the flat and over the middle. I wish I could pin-point one particular item where I could see improvement. The incredibly timely turnovers and the fact that the defense did only allow Kansas to score two second half touchdowns. After the third Kansas touchdown the defense did the following: interception, interception, punt, punt, touchdown, half, punt, interception, missed field go, down and touchdown. In KU's last 11 drives, Texas Tech forced a turnover on 3 of them and punts on the other three. If the offense continues to be that good, you can somewhat live with those results. It's not ideal, but it's honest. Be prepared to discuss the defensive difficiencies all year.
STELLAR OFFENSIVE PERFORMERS | Just another day at the office for WR Eric Ward and RB Eric Stephens. Ward had his third straight game of two touchdowns or more and finished the day with 4 catches for 71 yards. While Stephens had 125 yards rushing, 4.8 yards per carry, and 2 touchdowns. What Ward is doing over the course of three games is what makes just average players special players and Stephens should be talked about as one of the best running backs in the Big 12.
WTF PENALTIES? | There were a lot. I don't know what else to say, other than there were 17 different penalties for 154 yards and 6 of those penalties were against the offensive line, which I thought had their worst week by far in terms of pass protection and focus.
OFFENSIVE MVP | RB Eric Stephens | Worth candidates also include Ward, Douglas and Doege, but Stephens has been solid all year and those fumble concerns that Texas Tech fans have had are hopefully things of the past.
DEFENSIVE CO-MVP's | LB Cqulin Hubert and LB Daniel Cobb | I had reservations about whether or not Cobb would ever see the field again after being demoted in the fall practices, but he's been keeping himself busy and I can't say enough about how much Cobb and Hubert impacted this game.
SPECIAL TEAMS MVP | K Donnie Carona | Those low-trajectory field goals seem to be a thing of the past and although Carona missed a 54 yard attempt (twice), both attempts looked good, as did the 46 yard make. Carona has gotten something right since two years ago.