The first game is in the books. Some questions were answered, some still remain, but before we hit a panic button or look ahead to UTEP, let's take a look at how this game unfolded.
Tech gets the ball first and immediately went down the field and scored with a toss sweep to Jakeem Grant who punched it in from the three to go up 7-0. With all of the talk surrounding yet another defensive coordinator, all eyes were on how the defense would do after going 4-8 last year. The ideal of hope for most Tech fans came crashing down after a 3rd and 15, scramble for a first down by SHST quarterback, Jared Johnson. The conversion led to a TD that culminated the 93 yard drive.
After exchanging punts, Tech scored on a 3 play, 0:13 drive when Mahomes connected with Lauderdale for 64 yards to put Tech up 14-7. On SHST's next drive, Texas Tech's defense holds and gets the ball back to the offense. Ready to start pulling away, a pass off the hands of Mahomes intended receiver and was intercepted by Sam Houston and returned it to the Texas Tech 12 where they quickly scored and tied up the game.
End of 1st: Tech 14... SHST 14
Opening up the 2nd quarter was one of the better plays we might see in 2015. Deep in Sam Houston territory, Mahomes 1st and 2nd reads are covered and he moves the pocket to the right trying to escape. With the pocket collapsing, he retreats and works his way back to his left, throws on the run off balance to a diving Ian Sadler coming from right to left for a TD. Extending the play is definitely something Kingsbury wanted in his quarterback and Mahomes showed it right there.
After giving up a FG to Sam Houston, the ensuing kickoff was returned 94 yards by Grant for a TD. One of three he predicted for this season.
Sam Houston once again answered with a 75 yard, 10 play drive to cut the lead back to four at 28-24. In what felt like two heavyweights going back and forth, Tech answered with a Mahomes to Sadler 53 yard touchdown pass, where Sadler used the mid-field umpire as an unintentional pick to get separation from the corner. Tech leads 35-24.
Sam Houston converts another 3rd and long (11) to continue a drive and Tech's D gives up another TD last in the 2nd half to make the score 35-31. Tech's "new" defense gives up 370+ yards in the 1st half to go along with 31 points given up.
Texas Tech closes out a strong offensive first half performance with a 29 yard strike to Lauderdale from Mahomes to give Tech a 42-31 lead heading into the half.
Halftime: Tech 42.... SHST 31
On the first possession of the 2nd half, fans finally see a glimpse of the new, turnover forcing defense as JJ Gaines, pickes of Johnson and takes it to the house for a pick 6. And again showing signs of improvement, the defense holds on the next drive on 4th down and short to give the offense the ball back on a short field. The field position would end with a FG from Barden giving Tech a 52-31 lead.
The defense would shut out Sam Houston for the remainder of the 3rd quarter while putting up another score at the end of the quarter with a 4 yard TD run by Justin Stockton.
End of 3rd: Tech 59... SHST 31
In what ended up being a flurry of drops and second stringers on defense, Tech would be shut out in the 4th quarter and give up 14 points to make the game seem a little closer than it was. Davis Webb entered the game halfway through the 4th and goes 1/4 for 12 yards on very conservative playcalling.
FINAL: Tech 59... SHST 45
Micah Awe left the game in the first half with a forearm injury.
Pete Robertson and Nigel Bethel were suspended for today's game.
Tech forced 4 turnovers and won the turnover battle 4 to 1.
Sam Houston State has 671 total yards of offense to Texas Tech's 611.
Sam Houston State rushed for 351 yards
Texas Tech had 10 penalties for 69 yards
Prediction vs Reality:
My Prediction: Tech 45... SHST 31
Good for the first half... not so much for the game.
Prediction for game: You can check my full list of predictions here.
This one has deja vu written all over it for Red Raider fans from week 1 of last year. Sam Houston, which went to the FCS semi-final game last year, gives Tech everything it can handle and more. Both offense and defense struggle in the first half and going into halftime, you start to hear grumblings all over The Jones. Whether it's Mahomes or Webb under center, people are already ready to push the panic button. In the second half, Tech settles down, gets a few turnovers after some halftime adjustments and Tech scores 21 unanswered to pull away, giving Tech their first win in 2015.
As always, leave your comments in the comment section and leave questions for Tuesday's Fan Q&A about today's game and the upcoming game against UTEP.