After a loss in the desert last week, the Red Raiders returned home to celebrate cotton and play Louisiana Tech in the Jones. Headed into this, Red Raider fans were looking for signs of life from a beaten down defense and continued perfection from the second best offense in the country.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott attended last night's game and flipped the ceremonial coin. Tech won and elected to receive because Kliff thought it's better to start a game up 7-0 than down 7-0. Texas Tech marched down the field with ease, and on the twelfth play of the drive Demarcus Felton punched it into the end zone from 12 yards out to put the Red Raiders up 7-0.
It looked like a typical opening drive for Tech except Kingsbury called six run plays and six pass plays, allowing Tech to run just over five minutes off the clock. Maybe this new play calling strategy could help the defense get some much needed rest.
LA Tech responded by pounding the run game down Tech's throat all the way down the field and into the red zone. First down Justis Nelson breaks up a pass. Second down Jarred Craft stuffed at the line for no gain. Third down three yard rush. The Texas Tech defense forced a field goal in the red zone, bending but not breaking.
Patrick Mahomes and friends scorched the bulldog defense for touchdowns on their next four drives, capped off with this wild trick play resulting in a 42 yard score.
In case you haven't seen it yet (just kidding, you have), here is our submission for tonight's #SCTop10. #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/QWMU7KVS2I— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) September 18, 2016
The Red Raider defense during that stretch forced three and outs on three of LA Tech's next four drives. With 7:05 left in the half, Texas Tech took the ball at their own 41 yard line up 35-10. On the fifth play of the drive Patrick Mahomes completed a pass to Keke Coutee all the way to the 1 yard line, but it came back on an offensive holding call.
It didn't change too much. Three plays later Tech had the ball at the two yard line. Mahomes dropped back to pass on first down and was sacked for a 15 yard loss. Again on second down Patrick dropped back to pass and was sacked for a five yard loss, leaving Tech with a third and goal from the 22 yard line. Third down came and went on an incomplete pass setting up a 40 yard field goal attempt. Clayton Hatfield missed wide right.
Sparked by inspiration from their first defensive stop, the Bulldogs ran their two minute drill with the run game, With 2:19 left on the clock, the Bulldogs ran the ball on 6 of 9 plays and scored a touchdown. The missed field goal followed by a horrific defensive drive to close out a half took this game from being a nice, clean route to an actual game in the second half.
Both sides went back and forth scoring touchdowns of their first two offensive drives to open the second half. Two plays into the fourth quarter Texas Tech led 49-31. LA Tech took the ball with 14:21 in the fourth quarter, looking to make it a two score game.
The Bulldog rushing attack stalled around midfield and Texas Tech's defense forced their only stop of the second half. Tech's offense responded with a field goal on their next drive but the Bulldogs took only two plays to go 75 yards for the TD reducing the deficit to 52-38. Six and a half minutes remained in the game.
However Mahomes and company would put another touchdown on the board on a two yard Mahomes scramble giving the Red Raiders a 21 point lead with 2:33 remaining. Ryan Higgins would hit Trent Taylor for a 37 yard touchdown, but it was too little, too late.
Texas Tech would win by a final score of 59-45. The offense looked unstoppable as ever and with Demarcus Felton emerging as a threat, it looks like more of a balanced attack. This week the defense showed brief flashes of potential followed by even more long stretches of head-bashing-against-a-wall badness.
This team has a much needed bye week coming up, and has nearly a month before they face a team in the top half of the conference. With a top 75 defense, this is a top 25 team, easily. However at its current state, the defense has quite a ways to go before it can achieve that lofty goal.