This was not a 3-point win. That was about as dominating of a performance as I’ve seen from Kliff Kingsbury. I can’t believe that we wound up with five turnovers, our front seven dominated, and we ran for over 200 yards. Right when you thought, oh no, typical Tech - you’d see a sack, a turnover, or an electric offensive play. What won’t show up in the box score is also just how stout the defense was: we “allowed” 420 yards....try more like 280ish. I don’t know what it is about this team, but they’re a fun bunch. I also loved the emotions from Shimonek , and how Kingsbury committed to running the ball at the end. These were small things of note that proved big for this win.
Anyway, let’s dive into a few of the standouts.
Justin Stockton - Have yourself a day Mr. Stockton. You single handedly iced this game with your 84 yard run, and 20 yard screen catch to the house. It really stood out when he committed to hitting a gap, and that was very impressive. I’m very excited to see how Stockton continues to evolve this year.
Tre King - Wouldn’t it be nice to see him get a few more touches? He’s got some great wiggle, appears to be fearless when he hits a hole, and has the right amount of swagger. I speculated I’d be talking about Nisby, but King was the standout complimentary piece out of the backfield.
Keke Coutee - I won’t make you wait any longer, because this is the obvious player of the game. Coutee made mush of the Houston secondary on multiple occasions. Also, his 76 yard touchdown appeared to break the spirit of the Cougars. Huge game from Coutee, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he played his way into an All-American selection at this point.
Outside Receivers - Not the best of games from Dylan Cantrell and Derrick Willies. Specifically, Willies was a liability more than anything. Shimonek threw his first interception because he hit Willies in the hands and the ball ricocheted...not to mention that wide-open touchdown that he conveniently dropped as well. Cantrell also had a brutal hold on a screen pass that negated a first down. We wound up missing a field goal afterwards, so that hurt. We’ll see more good than bad from these guys, of course. But, we’d be talking about their performances more if we had lost.
Tony Jones - Disruptive, opportunistic, fast, and fiery. He was where he needed to be all game long and continues to be the Swiss-Army Knife this team has desperately need.
Dakota Allen - All over the place from sideline to sideline. I was extremely impressed with his performance. Also, that interception to kick off the game really set the tone for the type of game we were in for. He’s improved each week and I think we’ll see him really come on when conference play starts up.
Jordyn Brooks - I hope he’s ok? He also was all over the place and completely dominated during the running game. This kid screams All-Conference-type and has the tools to make an eventual run to the NFL. That interception took points off the board as well, and that proved vital given how the game ended. We’ll need him healthy for the rest of the season, so I really hope he’s ok.
Defensive Line - Too many guys stood out for me to do individual posts. But Eli Howard utterly dominated his man time and time again, he’ll be fun to watch for a few years. Mych Thomas is probably your best lineman, and he more than held his own when compared to an Ed Oliver type. Zach Barnes got pressure on a few occasions and finally looked the part of a P5 lineman, I think the light has finally gone on there and we’ll get something from him this year. Lonzell Gilmore was solid, but not spectacular. I’ve Glimore’s push though, and i think he’ll evolve as the year goes on.
Desmond Smith - The former Odessa Permian product really stood out to me on multiple occasions with sound tackling. I thought maybe he worked his way out of the rotation, but he’s a gamer. It seems like he’s a big confidence guy though...so we need to keep him hot.
Jaylon Lane - Well Lane is, and should be, your starter at defensive back somewhere. He made more than a few plays on his man and has been what I thought Octavious Morgan would be. We found a winner in Lane and I think he’ll be dominate as a senior even more so than now.
DeMarcus Fields - I really thought he was gonna be “just a guy” and boy did he show up today with a HUGE turnover on special teams. He also flashed on defense multiple times. He appears to be one of those 2* diamonds in the rough**...so everyone rejoice for that. (**Texas Tech fans are required to be obsessed with any underrated players because we’re all that player. It’s a rule, and we all know it.)
Our Kicker - We need a healthy one that can hit 30-something yarders. I about kicked my dog when we missed that kick before half...don’t worry though, I didn’t.
Coaching - Gibbs was dialed in and more than overwhelmed Kyle Allen. Kingsbury stuck to his guns, but also evolved at key times to pull away in this one. I’ve seen some great progress by this staff, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we might be pretty dang salty this year.
How about Vegas being wrong on this one? I’ll be extremely curious what the line is next week for Oklahoma State. We’ll assuredly be underdogs, but I bet it’s single digits. Regardless, celebrate this win fellow Red Raiders! The red helmets are undefeated, our quarterback is a footnote in my notes (and he actually kicked some arse), and we’re 3-0. Everyone who said we’re gonna have a losing record can either fry, grill, boil, or smoke their crow...just sayin.