Texas Tech finally found its rhythm and got back into the win column against Kansas. The offense used the run game to help control the game from start to finish.
The passing game wasn’t as explosive as you’d like to see, but it never put Tech into bad positions and for the most part was efficient enough to get the job done.
As far as throwing the ball went, there wasn’t much to talk about besides a two-yard toss to Travis Koontz that led to a touchdown. Henry Colombi wasn’t all that efficient, but luckily didn’t put the ball in harms way all that much and allowed to run game to dominate.
Both he and Donovan Smith combined for 72 yards and two touchdowns to help the Red Raiders keep the Jayhawks guessing. Tech never needed to put the ball in the air as they were in control for the entirety of the game.
With Kansas State coming up, it’ll be interesting to see if Tech uses both Colombi and Smith as much as they did on Saturday, as well as if they are going to be focusing on the running game as much as they did to help open up the passing game.
Running Backs: B+
Sarodorick Thompson carried the load again as the offense was more spread out in the running game as they’ve been all season. None of the running backs scored a touchdown but were both getting consistent yards for the offense with the quarterbacks also proving to be threats on the ground.
Xavier White had a solid stat line on the ground but didn’t do anything through the air. While I would usually criticize this, the game flow dictated that the air attack wasn’t as needed as it has been in weeks past. I would’ve like to have seen some more screens for Thompson as he has proven to be dangerous in that department in the past.
This upcoming week against Kansas State will be a big test for these running backs. They must be relied on heavily in order for this offense to get going, especially early on.
Wide Receivers: B
With the game being well in hand early on, the receivers weren’t the focal point of the offense for most of the game. Only when Tech needed a big play did they really need to use these guys through the air.
Erik Ezukanma lead the way through the air with 76 yards on five receptions, and made plenty of big plays even if they were scarce. None of the other guys made much of an impact, but the ball was spread out enough the keep the focus away from EZ.
Both EZ and Myles Price found the end zone on the ground, which was nice to see as the offense showed some diversity and took advantage of Kansas being so focused on the running backs and the quarterbacks in the run game.
Tight Ends: B+
With the passing game not being as much of a focal point for the offense, the Tight Ends had little room to produce much through the air. Mason Tharp had three catches while Koontz just had the one for a two yard touchdown.
They both helped open up holes in the run game and allowed for whoever was carrying the ball to not only get through holes in the middle but also run outside and get around the edge. With the speed that players on this roster possess, being able to get on the outside and force the defense to stretch out will open up the middle of the field for these guys to dominate.
This next stretch for the Red Raiders will be against most of the better teams in the conference, and will require a group effort on offense. This position group will need to get involved more, especially Tharp downfield, if Tech wants to take advantage of these teams.
Offensive Line: A
The passing game not being a big factor wasn’t due to this position groups performance. They were solid in pass protection and gave the quarterbacks plenty of time to operate, which is all you can really ask.
The big guys did open up some big holes for everyone to run through and put this game away by the first half. It was clear that wherever Tech wanted to run the offensive line was going to open up the holes necessary to get there. While the Jayhawks might not be the most dominant up front on defense, this was hopefully a good sign of things to come as its just over the halfway point of the season and this group looks to have gelled well together.
The offense knew that they wouldn’t need to put the ball in the air too much in order to win this game, and they executed that plan well. Getting as many people involved in the run game as they did was good to see, and it was nice to see them have a clear game plan for Smith.
Using this two-quarterback system seems to be what Tech wants to do going forward, but will it work against the better teams in the conference? Colombi is clearly the better passer of the bunch, but Smith’s ability to run and keep the defense honest with the pass as well will be key going forward.