Nic Shimonek had his worst game as a starter, and still threw for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. A pass early in the game was a little behind his receiver and was very nearly intercepted. Although the receiver could have gone back for the ball and maybe fought it off, if that ball was thrown a bit better it may have gone for 6. At other times he would lock onto a certain receiver instead of going through his reads. This was the toughest defensive line that he has seen in his career, and may be the toughest he’ll see all season in the defense-optional Big 12. Shimonek did drop a perfect ball into Coutee’s waiting hands for a 77-yard score to show a mental toughness that Coach Kingsbury mentioned after the game. It was an acceptable performance in that the game was won, just not the kind of performance Red raider fans are used to seeing out of #16.
The OL had a tough task this week, going up against Ed Oliver. Oliver finished the game with just 5 tackles, 2 solo, and 1 for loss, with 3 quarterback hurries, but did not record a sack. In the preview it was mentioned that Tech needed to limit the damage done, and between the line and the heat-induced dehydration or cramps, that was accomplished. The line wasn’t able to consistently open up holes for the running game, but created enough space for the backs to gain yardage when it was needed the most. There were 3 false starts and 2 holding calls, in a game where Tech was penalized quite often.
The running game was mostly held in check, but when Tre King or Justin Stockton had an open lane, they made the most of it. As a team there were 33 rushes for 200 yards, but 157 of those yards came on 2 long running plays. King is starting to make a name for himself in the offense, a back who isn’t afraid to make contact and power through defenders, but when he turns the jets on, he’s almost impossible to catch. Stockton had the distinction of gaining over 100 yards on a single drive after a holding call backed the ball up 10 yards after his 84 yard run. On the very next play he took a short pass untouched down the sidelines for a 20 yard receiving score.
The Red Raider receivers played the best group of defensive backs that they have seen so far this season. They weren’t able to create separation as easily, and Derrick Willies just had an off game. The usually sure handed receiver misplayed an underthrown ball early in the game that was initially called an interception, but luckily was overturned. Then he dropped what looked to be a fairly easy catch in the end zone. Later in the game, just 1 play after Tech had recovered the ball on a turnover, a pass from Shimonek went off his hands and into the arms of a defender. To add insult to injury, he grasped the facemask of the defender on the return, giving Houston an additional 15 yards. Keke Coutee however was just as good as he has been all season, hauling in 11 receptions for 161 yards and a TD on a perfectly placed ball on a great route that went for 77 yards.