It took Matt Wells only five games as head coach to do something that Kliff Kingsbury and Tommy Tubberville never did: win against Oklahoma State at home. The first year coach led his Red Raiders to a 45-35 victory over the Cowboys from Stillwater, and amidst all the negative commentary this team managed to win with several starters out.
The story of this game started on Monday when Jett Duffey was announced as the starting quarterback. This came after a horrendous start in Norman by Jackson Tyner, and the announcement meant that Duffey would get all the first team offense snaps with Alan Bowman still out for the foreseeable future. Duffey getting the start made some fans upset, but ultimately the move was considered the best for the program, and at the very least would be entertaining to watch.
Fast forward to today and Jett was more than just fun to watch. He was legitimately engineering an upset. Few people outside of the Texas Tech locker room had much confidence in the game, but the doubters silenced while Tech started the game with a strip sack on Oklahoma State. The teams would briefly trade punts, however Tech would cap off an 83 yard third drive with a 16 yard touchdown run by Jett Duffey. The Red Raiders would force a second Cowboy punt before getting another Trey Wolf field goal, this time on a drive that stalled in the redzone. That would take the game into the second quarter, which Tech began up 13-0.
Tech struggled a little offensively, however the defense continued to make Spencer Sanders miserable. Two picks were thrown by Sanders, with the second one being thrown straight at Douglas Coleman for his fourth in three games. That pick resulted in six points on a beautiful throw from Jett Duffey to KeSean Carter, who caught his second career touchdown and first of the season. Oklahoma State would finally get on the board with a Chubba Hubbard touchdown right before half, however the Texas Tech front seven (led by Jordyn Brooks) managed to keep him in check for the entire half. The Red Raiders went to the break up 13, which meant Jett Duffey came out of halftime with a lead for the first time in his career as a starter.
Tech came out of halftime firing on all cylinders, as Duffey quickly led the offense 75 down the field in under two minutes with a drive capped off by a spectacular throw and catch from Jett to T.J. Vasher. Oklahoma State responded with a bizarre touchdown throw from Spencer Sanders, however the David Yost offense had clearly established a rhythym for the first time all year, meaning the offense drove straight downfield for another touchdown, this time on a throw to Dalton Rigdon from Jett Duffey. Oklahoma State would eventually respond with another Chubba Hubbard touchdown, however their attempt to close to within a score was thwarted by a Jordyn Brooks strip sack that basically ended the quarter. The Red Raiders entered the final quarter up 34-21, which was still too close for comfort for most Tech fans.
The fourth quarter started with a pair of long balls to Vasher and R.J. Turner, however the drive would stall again in the redzone, which forced a Trey Wolf field goal. Another three and out by Oklahoma State gave the ball back to Tech, who promptly bled some clock running the ball before Jett Duffey hit Erik Ezukanma for a beautiful 56 yard touchdown pass. Oklahoma State would drive down the field to score a touchdown before recovering an onside kick and scoring another touchdown (the second of the day for Sanders), however the Red Raiders stopped the two point conversion and recovered the second onside kick. Oklahoma State would get the ball back one last time with two minutes left, however Spencer Sanders would throw his third pick of the day to Douglas Coleman, who now has an FBS leading five interceptions on the year. The pick would seal the game, however Riko Jeffers picked up an entirely unnecessary targeting penalty on a blindside block during the return, which will sideline him for the first half of the Baylor game.
Tech ultimately won 45-35, with the 45 points matching the highest total of the season, which was previously set versus Montana State. Jett Duffey threw for a career high 424 yards and also put up five touchdowns, which was the most total touchdowns in Big 12 play by a Texas Tech quarterback since Patrick Mahomes against Baylor in 2016.
Without a doubt the story of this game was the front seven defensively, and more specifically the legendary game from Jordyn Brooks. The senior star at linebacker had 19 tackles, four TFL, and three sacks. Those numbers are video game like, and re-affirm many fans’ belief that Brooks is a top linebacker in college football. The defense as a whole had 14 TFL to go along with seven sacks. Keith Patterson clearly put together a scheme that held Oklahoma State’s explosive offense in check, and that should give hope to Tech fans going forward.
Speaking of going forward: next week’s game pits the Red Raiders against the now 5-0 Baylor Bears in Waco. While Tech will almost certainly be underdogs again, I hope we’ve learned our lesson about betting on this team in either direction. For now just enjoy a week where the Red Raiders finally played watchable football. It’s been a long few weeks, but thankfully Tech fans have something to believe in finally.