Well, Texas Tech has dropped to 0-2 in conference play with a tough loss against the Wildcats. In my opinion, this game was one stop and a punt short of being an instant classic that the Red Raiders could’ve won. So, that being said, let’s get to the grades.
Offensive Line: D+
This offensive line was well, lackluster this time out. They looked like they were on skates for much of the game and big gains were hard to come by. Run and pass protection were both atrocious and they let the Wildcat defensive line seep through like melted butter as they toyed with the line as the game wore on. I’m not sure what was going on with the offensive line this week, but you can’t let a defensive line run all over you and expect for production to still happen.
Running Backs: C+
You know, I will give the elusiveness of these backs the benefit of the doubt after the poor protection given them by the o-line. Xavier White was the no. 1 back this week with 12 carries, 194 yards and one touchdown and he also produced in the pass game. Giving Colombi and Bowman outlets when the protection was collapsing because of subpar offensive line protection. Hopefully we see improvements in week four.
Wide Receivers: C
The receiving corps were not nearly as productive as last week but they still managed to bail out both quarterbacks when bad passes were thrown. Erik Ezukanma was virtually absent but managed to haul in five catches for 77 yards. KeSean Carter and Myles Price caught themselves a touchdown each and combined for a total of 103 yards. Overall, this receiving corps was soft against a physical secondary and didn’t get open often.
Henry Colombi over Maverick McIvor? I wasn’t so sure about this decision but it seemed to almost look smart as Colombi displayed his knowledge of Yost’s playbook because of his connection to this coaching staff through Utah State. Colombi, while looking uncomfortable at times, was able to make time for himself moving outside the pocket throwing receivers open or taking the gain on his own. Overall, Colombi looked rather decent with a 244-yard, two touchdown performance in a comeback that never hit.
Now, what I do want to talk about is Alan Bowman. Has he been the dream quarterback that Tech fans have wanted since the departure of Patrick Mahomes? Absolutely not. But, I’d argue that this offense is in fact better across the board with Bowman under center. Since he’s taken over in the beginning of the 2018 season against Ole Miss, Bowman hasn’t done anything to prove that he’s not QB1. Since Bowman’s ascension to QB1, the Tech offense has averaged 40 points per game when healthy. He only has one game where the offense scored less than 30, and that was when he got hurt last season against Arizona. As for the connection with TJ Vasher, he averages over 50 yards in every game that Bowman plays all the way through. It’s an advantage that has yet to be taken advantage of. Granted, Bowman has been hurt most of his career but I don’t think that discredits the production that this offense has with him at the helm.
Let’s face it, Yost coached scared for most of the first half and coaching scared, likely costing him his QB1 for the rest of the year. But, once Colombi came in, it seemed like Yost was more comfortable and was willing to let him do his thing. Colombi was thrown into the fire and Yost was able to help navigate him through it in the second half. However, this is the Big 12, if you can’t trust your quarterback to make big throws downfield and instead have him make check down after check down, I believe you will not win on Saturday.
Overall, this offense was in a daze against the Wildcats. The production was not there despite averaging 30 more yards (471) this week compared to last week against the Longhorns (441). All parts, especially the quarterback (should Bowman be out next week) and offensive line need to improve if they want to catch their first conference win of the year against Iowa State in Ames.