Texas Tech dropped their second game of the season to the Kansas State Wildcats. Surprisingly, it was the offense that struggled more as the game went on. Here's how they did this week.
Overall Grade: B-
While the offense did sputter often in the second half, it still put up numbers most would expect from this air raid attack. Tech put up 592 yards, Patrick Mahomes looked good for most of the game despite his shoulder injury, and another receiver stole the show in Tech's passing game. However, the biggest blemishes on this performance were the countless penalties (9 for 100 yards), poor offensive line play yet again, and shockingly questionable play calling by Kingsbury at times. The offense seemed to stop itself in the second half and I think that's what ultimately led to a close loss.
Quarterback Grade: B-
The biggest positive takeaway from Patrick Mahomes' performance is this: He can still play at a high level this season and he still looks like one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, even when he's not 100%. Despite his injury, he threw for 592 yards and two touchdowns along with three rushing touchdowns. Yes his throws seemed to be getting weaker as the game went on due to his shoulder injury, but the numbers he put up are pretty much what I would expect from a healthy Mahomes. I was surprised he played and he did the best he could given the circumstances. I still see him doing great things this season.
Running Backs Grade: C-
For the second straight game, there was no rushing attack to speak of. Again, that might have attributed to Kliff's thinking of wanting to air it out. Demarcus Felton is continuing to emerge as the featured back as he finished with 66 yards on 14 carries. Justin Stockton again was used more in screen pass situations, but had -8 yards rushing. Quinton White Jr. only carried the ball twice and had a 25-yard reception on a pass from Cameron Batson. The running game was never established in this one, but hopefully Kingsbury will at least attempt to establish it next week to take some of the pressure off of an injured Mahomes.
Wide Receivers Grade: B-
Keke Coutee stood out on Saturday night. The sophomore's biggest highlight was a terrific catch and run that turned into a 61-yard touchdown pass. For the game, he had five catches for 130 yards to go along with the touchdown. Devin Lauderdale finally had a solid game with 92 receiving yards and Dylan Cantrell continued his remarkable comeback season with 81 yards. However, Cantrell was flagged for a holding penalty that nullified a huge run by Felton that would've put Tech in position to score a touchdown and maybe have a better chance to win it. Batson also contributed with a great catch in the back of the endzone near the end of the game. Jonathan Giles, in rare fashion, had a quite night with only four catches for 49 yards.
Offensive Line Grade: D-
It was almost the same story as I saw against Kansas, poor pass protection at times and countless penalties. The worst things in my opinion about this offensive line is that it looks like the guys are still learning to play together and that there is still a lot of improvement to be made in run blocking. Unfortunately, we've hit the heart of conference play now and that won't cut it against this level of Big 12 talent. Also, if the line does not improve on pass protection, we could very well see Mahomes take more crushing shots and possibly injure his shoulder even more. I know fans don't want to hear this, but that's what Mahomes is doing by playing through injury.
The offense stalled too often in the second half and I believe that ultimately lead to Tech's loss. If the defense makes stops like it did in this game, the offense needs to take advantage of those extra possessions. Hopefully that happens in Tech's next game against undefeated West Virginia. Check back next Monday when I hand out grades from that game!