Thanks to a great defensive effort, Texas Tech escaped Fort Worth with a double overtime win against the Horned Frogs. The offense however, took a big step back from last week's stellar performance against Oklahoma. They did just enough at the end of regulation and in overtime to help seal the win.
Overall Grade: C
As great of a win it was on Saturday, the offense sputtered for most of the game. They definitely did not play the way most Red Raider fans are used to seeing. It was not penalties this game, as there was only one for five yards, but there were several missed opportunities. Mahomes misfired on quite a few throws, receivers dropped passes, and the running didn't produce any huge plays. If the defense had not played nearly as well as they did, this would have been a blowout loss like the West Virginia game.
Quarterback Grade: C
Mahomes did not have as great a performance as he did last week. He threw an interception on the first drive and fumbled the next one which set the tone for his rough day. He was 24 of 39 for 206 yards along with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The biggest opportunity he missed was Dylan Cantrell running down the sideline and he overthrew him. That play could've been one that sparked the offense. I do want to acknowledge that Gary Patterson put together a solid game plan to slow down Mahomes, and it worked for most of the game. It was not that great of a performance from Pat, but he did all he could facing a well-coached defense.
Running Backs Grade: C
Kliff Kingsbury came out in the second half and decided to run the ball more against TCU's defense. It worked. Freshman Da'Leon Ward again started and found some running room in the second half. He carried the ball 23 times and gained 98 yards. He also contributed in the passing game with 8 catches for 49 yards. For the first time since the Louisiana Tech game, Tech had a running game they could rely on at times. It was not a spectacular performance from Ward, but this kid has shown promise the past few weeks. I imagine he will be the starter for the remainder of the season.
Wide Receivers Grade: C-
For the first time all season, Tech did not have a 100-yard receiver. Reginald Davis was the leading wide receiver with two catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Cantrell had three catches, including a nice sideline one, and the game-tying touchdown in regulation. However, there were some dropped passes that could've resulted in big plays. One that stood out to me was a slant route Mahomes threw to Jonathan Giles and he let it go through his hands. It looked like if he caught that pass, he would've been off to the races. Similar to what I said about Mahomes, I think Patterson's defense did a good job covering his receivers. If you do that as a defense, it can be hard for the quarterback to get the ball to his guys.
Offensive Line Grade: C
I knew the offensive line was in for a tough day against TCU's front four led by Josh Carraway. Mahomes was sacked four times and forced to move around a lot during the game. Poor protection led to Mahomes' lost fumble. I was impressed with their discipline this game as they did not commit one penalty. They played better in that regard, but poor protection issues remain.
It was a step back this week for the offense, but they did enough to honor the effort of the defense. Tech is facing a weaker defense next week in Texas, so there may be more great plays we're used to seeing in that game. Check back next Monday when I grade the offense after the game against Texas!