LUBBOCK — Saturday's season finale against Houston went perfectly for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders walked away with a victory and exacted a small measure of revenge for last season's heartbreaking in Houston. The win guaranteed a winning season for Tech. As is the case with any game, there were some highs and lows.
Maybe it's only proper that the season went much like this game. There were moments when it looked as if Tech was a perfectly well-oiled machine with a full load of fans on its trailer ready to plow through the opposing team. Then the fans would quickly jump off before a near crash only to see the machine recover nicely for a steady drive. The Red Raiders were not flashy, were not brilliant. But Tech used a consistent game interrupted only momentarily by two bad turnovers to win its seventh game of the season — an average victory amount for the last 10 years.
"We would have liked eight or nine, 10 games, but we won seven," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Didn't look like we was going to win seven about five weeks ago but after the Missouri game we looked like we picked it up pretty good. And it's about the players coming back each week and practicing hard and playing hard and trying to get better."
Good: Playing Well Early
For the first time in several games, Texas Tech started quickly. Furthermore, the Red Raiders were able to withstand a Cougars offensive outburst in the first quarter. Of Houston's 20 points in the game, half of them were scored in the first quarter.
Not so good: Giving Up The Run
The Red Raiders gave up a ton of yards to Houston's high-powered offense. Even playing their third-string QB, and having left a starting receiver at home for disciplinary reasons, the Cougars managed 585 yards.
Good: Tech D
Despite Houston's 441 yards passing and 144 yards rushing, James Willis' defensive unit stood strong when it mattered. Bront Bird picked off David Piland, Tech stopped Houston on 4th and goal from the 1, and Tech's special teams unit snuffed out a fake punt.
Not so good: One Mistake That Could Have Hurt More
Although he played very well, Taylor Potts' lone interception was a tough one for Texas Tech. The miscue came immediately following Bront Bird's INT and killed Texas Tech's momentum. Had the Red Raiders scored on that drive, it could have been the backbreaker Tech seemed to be searching for the rest of the evening.
Good: Lyle Leong's Final Home Salute
In what has become something of a tradition, Lyle Leong gives a rigid, military style salute following his touchdown receptions. With 7:15 remaining in the game, Potts found Leong, who darted into the endzone and was able to give the Jones AT&T Stadium crowd one final salute. The touchdown gave Leong 17 for this season and 30 for his Texas Tech career.
What's next: Going Bowling
The Red Raiders will go to one of three bowl games, the Texas Bowl in Houston on Dec. 29, the Pinstripe Bowl in New York on Dec. 30, or the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day. The Red Raiders would more than likely face Illinois or Northwestern in Dallas or Houston and could play its first Big East opponent, Syracuse, in New York.