Following one of the more impressive wins of the Matt Wells era, Texas Tech put up one of their worst performances I’ve seen in a while against an opponent that we shouldn’t get beaten like this by. Another slow start doomed the Red Raiders, which seems to be a theme here as the season progresses. While Texas Tech outgained the Horned Frogs by 50 yards, the Red Raiders were constantly stalled on their drives and left with little to show for their yardage output.
This is another tough one to grade as Tech put up a solid yardage output along with 31 points, but 21 of those came with the game clearly out of hand as every time they seemed to be chipping away at a lead there would be one mistake after another that lead to no points being scored.
We are starting to see now why Henry Colombi was named the backup to start the season. While he does tend to find the big play and go after it, sometimes it can lead to a 23/41 day and a lot of inefficiencies on the offensive end.
The Red Raiders did find a lot of success on the ground in the later parts of the game, so this could be why Colombi maybe didn’t have a few touchdowns when the game was out of reach. The key to this game was that Tech just couldn’t finish drives early and had trouble finding their guys when it really mattered. This approach of not feeding Erik Ezukanma as much is starting to affect this offense negatively as the offense is much more dangerous when it can force the ball the EZ early and get open looks for the other guys as the game progresses.
I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be the starter against Kansas, but I would like to see Tech get another guy in there at some point and see how it can affect the offense. With Colombi it just seems too inconsistent and doesn’t have the efficiency necessary to get the job done.
Running Backs: A-
This frustrating offense had a game where its presumed lead guy heading into the season finally had a dominant performance that we saw some of last season. Sarodorick Thompson had 118 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and added 79 yards through the air as Texas Tech finally started to feed their lead horse and find some success doing it. Xavier White also had 51 yards and a touchdown to go along with 26 yards of his own through the air.
Yes, a lot of this production came when the game was pretty much out of reach, but to see them do this so late in the game is what makes it so frustrating. The offense tried to force feed the passing game early and never got established on the ground. Maybe this is okay with Tyler Shough at quarterback because he’s efficient in all levels of the passing game, but with anyone else right now the running backs need to be the ones doing most of the ball handling.
This is one of the most confusing groups on the entire team. Plenty of guys had receptions but when you look at the yards gained by each guy it’s just not enough to stay in games and shows the inability to make plays with the ball in their hands. Maybe a detriment to this team was that they gave the ball to EZ too much early on in the season against lesser teams, so now the better teams on their schedule are game planning for that.
Kaylon Geiger was the lead guy again with six receptions for 99 yards. Obviously no guy scored, but some of them had some nice gains. Six different guys had receptions but there was really no one besides Geiger that stood out again.
Going into Kansas week, you would like to see EZ get back into form. Another thing to look for is the playmakers making plays in space and not just catching the ball and getting tackled immediately.
Tight Ends: C
Another reoccurring theme for the season is the Tight Ends not showing up. Mason Tharp was the only guy with a reception as he had two for 22 yards but no real impact on the game.
Making good contributions in the running game is something that you’d like to see, but as I have said before it just isn’t enough for this offense to be successful. Tharp has to be used more often, even more than Travis Koontz because of his athletic ability with his unique frame.
Offensive Line: B+
This unit finally got going in the right direction especially in the running game. The holes were a lot bigger than they have been and you could tell that this unit has started to find its rhythm together as the season has progressed.
They also only allowed one sack and had gave Colombi plenty of time to throw the ball, it was just the execution that wasn’t all there. Seeing guys like Dawson Deaton and T.J. Storment have an impact was nice to see them play solid for the time that they were out there.
Backups Clayton Franks and Ethan Carde both saw some significant time which is nice to see as the swing guys need to be ready to go in case of an injury.
This section always seems to be on step forward, two steps back. The problem this week as I have been stating was the excessive amount of passing compared to rushing attempts. This is just bad plan against a team that clearly gives up a lot in the running game as they were gashed by Texas last week.
I wish that I could tell you why the offense just can’t finish drives as they had a ton of yards with nothing to show. Play calling has a lot to do with it as the plays on third down just weren’t what you wanted to see, and the situations that they put themselves in were also not ideal.
I will say that the playmakers just aren’t making the plays that you would like to see. We do have a lot of tall guys, and Kaylon Geiger was the focal point of the passing game yet again. We just miss a guy like Kesean Carter who can take a short pass and just simply outrun everybody else on the defense. We do have nice team speed, but it’s not nice enough to get the job done as guys are getting just open enough to make the catch but don’t do much after.