We needed that one.
After falling behind TCU 17-0 early, Texas Tech roared back on the shoulders of junior quarterback Jett Duffey, who put together his best game of the season and subsequently his career.
But even in spite of Duffey’s 333-yard, four-touchdown performance, the Red Raiders found a way to lose. The defense at times looked like the many vulnerable defenses of years past, and Tech’s running game, particularly outside of Jett Duffey, was non-existent.
And so rather than throw parades for Tech’s moral victory Saturday, I’m more interested in finding out what the loss means for the remainder of the season. The Red Raiders have two incredibly difficult matchups ahead in Kansas State and Texas, respectively. At 4-6, Tech must win both to become bowl-eligible.
As it turns out, that’s not a likely scenario, at least according to ESPN’s Matchup Predictor. The machine presently gives Tech a 43 percent chance of beating Kansas State and a 24 percent chance of beating Texas to finish out the year. Certainly not the numbers we’re looking for.
The Red Raiders have missed out on postseason action in three out of the last five years and haven’t won a bowl game since defeating Arizona State in the 2013 Holiday Bowl. Unless Tech can turn things around in some sort of miraculous fashion, year one of the Matt Wells era will end in disappointment.
All in all, it’s hard to be too frustrated over that fact. We’ve talked about culture changes and how they don’t happen overnight (an overused cliche, but true notwithstanding) but we’ve also seen evidence of other coaches turning programs around in their first year. At Tech, that’s a lot more difficult to do, and if the Red Raiders can win even one more game this year, with all of the injuries and distractions, it’d be hard not to applaud Wells’s efforts in his debut season in Lubbock. He really didn’t have much to work with, and he was able to effectively maintain what Kliff Kingsbury was doing over the past six years.
A lot of pundits and fans, myself among the rest, didn’t envision Tech winning three games this year, so to win four - including two Big 12 contests - without their starting quarterback and a host of other nagging injuries, that’s worth deriving some measure of hope. So, while this season wasn’t the explosive 8-4 season we all were looking for, it wasn’t an abject disaster, either. There’s something to build on here. Let’s become bowl-eligible next year, and in year three of the Wells era, maybe we can talk about winning eight games.
In the meantime, Tech basketball could use your support as they endeavor to return to the Final Four.