THE RESULT | Frustrating | Just a frustrating game, tough to watch. I wasn't able to really sit down and watch the game until the morning after and I just kept waiting. And waiting. For something to really happen, but it just never did. At least offensively. The Texas Tech defense had one bad drive that resulted in a Texas St. touchown, but other than that, the defense was as good as it's been. But the offense.
I have to compartmentalize the offense. The offense is being led by a true freshman. One way or another. There are going to be mistakes and I have to know that this is normal. I still can't shake the feeling that the mistakes are getting to the point that they just have to know better. QB Baker Mayfield staring down receivers and QB Davis Webb throwing up wild-assed passes that sometimes work and sometimes get picked off. Either way, it's youth and carelessness and inexperience that's to blame. The offense just isn't going to be as good, and no matter how much better I felt after the first two games with Mayfield at the helm, I think I've come back down to reality.
Get well soon Michael Brewer.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | K Ryan Bustin made all four field goals and it wasn't spectacular and I don't recall ever naming a kicker as the offensive MVP or star of the game, but all made field goals, from 29, 21, 27 and 36 yards.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | Be really hard pressed not to name LB Will Smith. Just a fantastic effort on Smith's part. There were a ton of other players that made this defense roll, but Smith's touchdown set this game over the top. It's only a one score game without Bustin and Smith doing their parts.
The Quarterbacks | I'm trying to decide the lesser of two evils here. I guess that HC Kliff Kingsbury is trying to do the same thing. I wasn't happy with Mayfield's or Webb's peformance overall, and I thought that Kingsbury's sideline frustration, maybe the first we've seen all year, was evident. I'm frustrated too and there's really not an answer here except to hold on and hope for the best. I jokingly wrote that I hope Brewer gets well soon, and I don't think that even if he were to return, that he would be a cure-all to the problems with this team, but I think he'd help.
I honestly thought that Mayfield played better, but marginally better. I think this is isn't the most insightful thing ever, but son of a gun, it seemed like Webb just gets lucky sometimes. That long pass to Grant just seemed so lucky as did some of the other completions that Webb made (the Foster completion was another one that stands out). I think that Mayfield maybe looks more in control. The sideline announcers seemed to indicate that Mayfield was fine, but maybe if his backed was tweaked just a bit, it wasn't worth further injury? I don't know.
Webb finished the night with 7.3 yards per ttempt, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Mayfield wasn't pushing the ball down the field as much, finishing with just 6.2 yards per attempt and 1 interception. Mayfield's pick wasn't any better or worse than Webb's and most likely would have thrown another if given the opportunity. Mayfield needs to go back and watch the tape of SFA where he was just slinging the ball down the field.
The tough thing for the outside receivers is that making out passes to those wide receivers are the toughest throws a quarterback can make. Webb and Mayfield don't quite have "it" just yet. That ability to make that sort of play without telegraphing a pick six. I think I still like Mayfield overall because he seems less prone to make wild-assed throws (he'll still make bad throws, but not wild-assed) and looks more in control, but I (we) might be splitting hairs really soon about who is better or worse.
One Stinking Drive | Just one stinking drive caused this team not to get a shut-out. I thought the defense was just stellar when they were backed up and things were looking dim. A couple of times the defense was on their heels, about to be in serious trouble and they come through with some serious stops along the goal line.
Another real collective effort from the defense. The big Pete Robertson interception at the goal line was a call back to when he was a safety prospect. LB Blake Dees had a really impressive second half stopping the run.
Only 107 total yards rushing and 240 yards of total offense was allowed by this defense. The defense produced 65 negative yards, which is pretty darned impressive. That first drive of the second half accounted for just 5 plays and 75 yards. That was really the only blemish of the entire game. Less that one drive, Texas Tech only allowed 165 other yards the entire night on just 63 plays for 2.61 yards per play. It's pretty cool when you can isolate just one drive and really just one play for to point out how the defense played poorly.
To be completely honest, the Texas St. offense is pretty awful. They've been awful their other two games and they'll most likely be awful through the year. Tyler Arndt has never been a decent quarterback and he has a tough time competing 50% of his passes and he's not all that mobile. So I don't want to make it sound like they stopped an offensive juggernaut. The Bobcats are not that. But you still have to stop the opposing team and the defense did just that.
Passable Running Game | I thought the running game was passable. Better than it's been the other three games thus far. I know that's not exactly a glowing review, but it's something. If you include Jakeem Grant's 2 carries, the running backs rushed for 100 yards exactly on 24 carries. It's going to be even more tough with what looked like a pretty bad injury to Alfredo Morales. Baylen Brown was passable, but not dominating and without Morales, the running game suffered I think. Brown just isn't as mean and nasty and strong as Morales, which is natural. Without Morales, Kingsbury just doesn't have the opportunities available to him from a running and pass-block perspective. Brown won't be able to create the holes that Morales did. He's also a true freshman, so I don't have that expectation, I think I just want him to be okay. Kingsbury said after the game that Beau Carpetner would be available for Kansas. That would certainly help a depleted offensive line that just doesn't have a lot of options right now.
Receivers Making Plays | When the receivers did get a shot, I thought that they did a fantastic job of making plays. WR Eric Ward's one-handed grab in the endzone was a less than perfect throw, but he made it look easy at first glance. Big plays from little-used receivers, including Derreck Edwards and Reginald Davis helped flip the field. They both broke tackles that led to them getting more significant yards. IR Sadale Foster going and grabbing that 44 yard pass that seemed like a prayer from Webb was great and WR Bradley Marquez continues to make plays. IR Jace Amaro was really consistent all night and without a guy like Amaro, Webb or Mayfield don't complete 50% of their passes (this is an overstatment, but you get what I mean).
Missed Opportunities | The offense had too many missed opportunities and it still bothers me even though I've written about it above. A couple of wide open receivers in the endzone for Webb to complete a pass, I think it was Amaro on one for sure and maybe Ward on another. Just wide open. DeAndre Washington's 8 yard touchdown was nullified when Le'Raven Clark held on the play (It wasn't much, but it was holding. He didn't need to do that.) I think those missed opportunities are going to be the norm, more than I'm used to seeing, but again, it's freshmen quarterbacks. I just have to compartmentalize
- I really can't say enough about how good the defense was. Kudos to CB Bruce Jones and DT Kerry Hyder for forcing two turnovers. Really great work.
- SS Tanner Jacobsen gets his first start. Another true walk-on starting. Getting the start over JUCO players is interesting to say the least. He's not bad, 6 tackles, but I find it interesting that Dorian Crawford and Martin Hill couldn't or didn't beat him out.
- TE Jace Amaro had, statisically, a good night, but he couldln't break any big gains. Again, that's really a credit to TCU and the defense that they play.
- The linebackers really continue to impress me. Just a lot of activity from Blake Dees, Pete Robertson, Terrance Bullitt, Micah Awe, etc. I thought that OLB Andre Ross had a really nice game and considering how raw he is, that's really something.
- RB Quinton White really did a good job when given the opportunity. I've been remiss to think that he could see additional time, but maybe it's time.