Coming into a game with two top-10 offenses nationally it was critical to get off to a great start. Both teams were expected to score around 80 points combined which gave everyone the feeling that they need to having a scoring drive on nearly every possession. This is why the start to the game on Saturday could not have been much worse for the Red Raiders. With three minutes left in the first quarter the Red Raiders were down 21-0.
Digging yourself this deep a hole against a very good team and one of the top offenses in the nation gives you absolutely no margin for error. To make matters worse, your high powered offense looked anemic through dropped passes, off-target throws, and your starting quarterback getting knocked out of the game in the second quarter.
Even head coach Kliff Kingsbury did not blame the fans that headed for the exits following his teams first half performance, “I would have left, too, if that was that poor of a performance and effort in the first half. I don’t blame anybody for leaving.” However, it should be noted that the fan turnout for a game against two top 25 teams was surprisingly low. In particular, the student’s section was at best half full.
Slow starts have plagued this team in their two losses this season. They got behind Ole Miss 30-17 at halftime in their first game of the season, only to give up 17 points the rest of the game. Then fell behind 35-10 to West Virginia, only to give up one touchdown in the second half off of an interception.
The fans that did stick around were given quite a performance. At half time they saw a wedding ceremony between two former Goin’ Band members and the team miraculously made a run at the Mountaineers. In the second half, the defense built on their impressive performance the week before at Oklahoma State and completely shut down a great offense. This gave the offense a chance to make a comeback and even with several mistakes they were able to come up just short of an epic comeback.
The coaching staff must figure out how to get the defense to play a full game the way they played in the second half. When this happens, like in the Oklahoma State game this team becomes very tough to beat. Let’s hope that next Thursday night in Fort Worth this defense is ready to go right at 6:30 pm.