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Texas Tech snatches defeat from the jaws of victory against Baylor

Questionable penalties and poorly timed mistakes doomed the Red Raiders in the 33-30 road loss

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech had Baylor on their own one yard line with 100 seconds left in regulation. They had the Bears backed up to a 2nd and 18 in the first overtime, and crossed inside the Baylor 30 on all but one of their second half drives. Almost every stat from Saturday’s game made it seem like Texas Tech would find a way to win in Waco.

But they lost.

Tech scored a FG as time expired on the first quarter to lead 3-0, and after the two teams engaged in defensive war for 30 minutes it seemed like the 6-3 lead for Tech at halftime would be a sign that the Red Raiders would have to grind out a Big 10 style game. Thankfully the offense opened up in the second half, as Charlie Brewer led Baylor on a touchdown drive to start the second half in under two minutes. Jett Duffey countered with a five play drive that spanned 89 yards, highlighted by a 79 yard catch by R.J. Turner on a 3rd and 13 and a four yard touchdown from Sarodorick Thompson two plays after Turner’s huge play.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor answered with a touchdown, while Tech drove inside the Baylor 30 before failing on a 4th and two passed that got broken up by star pass rusher James Lynch. The next two drives ended with a punt and an interception for both teams, with the interception for Baylor coming on an errant throw from Charlie Brewer in the redzone when they were threatening to go up by two scores. Duffey followed up the third pick by Brewer with his own pick, which came off a deflection and landed in the hands of Clay Johnston. Johnston would unfortunately suffer a knee injury on the play and will miss the rest of the season. Duffey’s second pick of the day did not amount to much, as Baylor was forced to punt despite getting into Tech territory.

The Red Raiders got the ball at their own 12 trailing 17-13. Duffey nearly got taken down for a safety on the second play of the drive, but fortunately he was able to get rid of the ball right as James Lynch got to him. The refs discussed a potential intentional grounding penalty, however the pass was ruled to be in the area of Sarodorick Thompson. Duffey would respond to the near disaster with a clutch conversion on third and long to T.J. Vasher, which got the Red Raiders moving and seemed to put Duffey in rhythm. Passes to McLane Mannix, R.J. Turner, and the aforementioned Vasher got the ball down to the Baylor 30. Sarodorick Thompson was stuffed for no gain on a second and one at the 30, however third and one would be the apparent turning point for the game, as Thompson broke free for a 30 yard touchdown run to put the Red Raiders ahead 20-17.

Texas Tech v Baylor Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Baylor got pinned inside the ten on their ensuing drive, and after an Eli Howard sack were forced into a 2nd an 18 at the one yard line. A questionable hold in the Baylor endzone was missed and Brewer picked up a first down with a throw to Trestan Ebner on the next play. A few intermediate throws ensued and suddenly Baylor was inside the redzone with under 20 second remaining. Denzel Mims dropped a potential game winning touchdown with six seconds left, and Adrian Frye made a crucial decision to hold Mims in the endzone and force a tying field goal.

The next series of plays were arguably the most controversial, as a fumble was ruled an “illegal snap” on a second and 12 during Baylor’s first possession in overtime. The decision has since been confirmed as a blown call by the Big 12 themselves. Nevertheless, Baylor scored two plays later to go up 27-20. Tech would respond with a T.J. Vasher touchdown, and Matt Wells took the safe option and went for the extra point to send the game into double overtime.

Tech’s second OT drive would stall on the 17 yard line, which meant the Red Raiders had to settle for a Trey Wolff field goal. Baylor would score three plays later to secure the win. The loss puts the Red Raiders at 3-3, and the controversial no call on the snap will sting for quite a while. Despite the painful loss, the team continues to look solid after a rough start to conference play in Norman. Texas Tech will play Iowa State this Saturday at 11am, with Matt Wells looking to lead Tech to their first win over Iowa State since 2015.