I’ll admit it, I muttered “we’re gonna lose this one” when the game was tied in the 4th. You know what? You probably did too. Here’s the deal though: David Gibbs came to Lubbock saying he didn’t care what happened so long as he gave our offense a chance to win the game. When things looked their darkest, and there was no momentum, it was the defense that brought us from the dead.
I can’t sugarcoat the yardage given up, or the points, but I do have a few instant reactions from what I saw.
The Refs - They missed Desmond Nisby being targeted on that final drive. Was a VERY clear helmet/helmet call there. Did you know you can confer with your fellow officials, publicly announce a hold, and then take it back later? When ASU scored, is guns being holstered not taunting? Because, when DJ Polite-Bray broke up a pass early on - that certainly was the call. If it were possible for the refs to keep ASU in this game, they absolutely picked their spots wisely. Hopefully this will improve moving forward.
Dylan Cantrell - Holy Moly. He made some money tonight with a few of those snags. When he took that end-around, I don’t think anyone in Lubbock expected anything less than a touchdown. Also, an unheralded catch to start the game-winning drive proved extremely valuable when we lacked offensive rhythm. Thrilled to see what we saw from Dylan tonight.
Desmond Nisby - I loved his effort plays, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he adds a dimension to this offense we haven’t had before. That fumble was BRUTAL though. We’re talking a 14 point swing that killed what we had going in the first half. I credit Coach Juluke for being nice and giving him the rock again later on. Nisby will be alright, but he’ll be brought up slowly.
Nik Shimonek - He’s assuredly not Pat Mahomes. The “scrambling” we’ve seen reminds us of that, but his control of the offense is outstanding. When he gets in a zone, there’s no stopping him. The problem is, we did see a few glimpses of when things stalled with him. What was encouraging though is he didn’t give up, and made several huge throws to put this one across the finish line. I think we have a gamer on our hands.
Keke Coutee - Pure electricity, and for 95% of the night ASU didn’t have an answer. Eventually, they learned that double coverage was quite effective. I can’t wait to see what else we get him Mr. Coutee this year, he’s as special of a player as we’ve ever had come through Texas Tech.
Jordyn Brooks - I loved how he was everywhere to start the game, and he’s clearly our best defender. I’ll admit though, he sorta disappeared later on in the second half. I’m not sure if this is due to ASU going more towards the sidelines, or if it was due to our DL being gassed. Nevertheless, pretty solid game for Brooks.
Broderick Washington - No doubt in my mind this was his best game. He regularly whooped his man and got into the backfield. I sure wish he had a little more speed because he’d be unstoppable, but for a Sophomore - the future is mighty bright because the light is on.
Mych Thomas - I’m not sure if he’s an NFL guy, but I’ll wager $5 dollars that he earned at least an NFL tryout for that pass breakup on Ballage. For 320 pounds, he’s a freakish athlete.
Tony Jones - You’re talented, you’re smooth, and you’re physical. Control your emotions a bit more though bud. I did love what I saw when he was given his opportunities though.
Special Teams - Solid punting, no missed kicks, and a blocked punt. The net/net of this unit was solid. ASU did return some kicks/punts, and we had that ugly out-of-bounds kickoff, BUT, the group delivered when the team needed a moment.
The Sparky Formation - Hallelujah! We don’t have to face it again this year! Serious talk though, that formation delivered more than a few key first downs.
Coaching - I wanted to be critical of Gibbs, and I wanted to get fired up over our abandoning of the run game. BUT, we won the game. I liked how the defense stepped up on those last two drives, I think the depth played a huge factor here. Kingsbury called a great game, and he can’t control some of the BS that occurred. What are the odds that Nisby reaches for pay-dirt like four times and doesn’t get in? I think we would all be happy to see a bit more Mason Reed though. He sure seems to deliver, doesn’t he?
I’ll have to let this one marinate a bit more overnight, but I’m thrilled that we got the victory. How about how Vegas got all of us again though....seven point line, and a seven point win. LOL. We’ll have a big one next week with Houston, and I’m sure that we’ll be getting their best shot. Coach Kingsbury will have the squad ready to roll though. We’re 2-0, and Baylor is 0-3 - sleep well Red Raider fans.