Not So Special Teams

Special teams was a major problem for the Red Raiders on Saturday against Kansas State.

Field goals can sometimes be the deal breaker in what team walks away with a victory or suffer a deflating loss.

Texas Tech has been known for its quality special teams play throughout this season, especially with the leg of Donnie Carona.

Against the Aggies, the Red Raiders, when drives stalled, relied on their kicking game to put crucial points on the board. Tech would attempt five field goals in that game, making four, and having one blocked and returned for a touchdown.

Coming into this week Kansas State, like the Aggies, were able to stall a couple of Tech drives forcing the offense off and special teams onto the field.

Special teams were one of the many Achilles heels for the Red Raiders in Saturday's 41-34 loss to then-No. 17 Kansas State.

In the first and second quarter of the game, Tech attempted two field goals – both blocked.

"They did a good job of coming," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They came through different gaps. Numbers 95, 94 just got their shoulders turned. Got penetration, and we weren't physical enough at the point of attack, bottom line."

With those two blocked field goal attempts that brings it to a total of three blocks by opponents on the season.

Unlike the block by A&M, which the defender came off the edge, Kansas State came right up the middle, hurdled the linemen, and sent the football spiraling in the opposite direction.

The issues were not only on the field goal unit, but also on the kickoff team.

At the start of the second quarter, following Tech taking its first lead of the game on a seven-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Washington, the Red Raiders gave the lead right back.

Awaiting the kick at the goal line for the Wildcats was freshman wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

Lockett on the season had only one kickoff return for 10 yards to his name, but showed his speed and ability to return kickoffs with a 100-yard dash beating the Tech coverage team.

This was the first kickoff returned for a touchdown against the Red Raiders since Terrance Ganaway for Baylor did it last season in the Cotton Bowl on an on-side kick attempt.

With that the Wildcats had successfully scored their first two touchdowns in the game without the offense producing a single point.

These kinds of issues cannot happen week in and week out, Tuberville said, and some things will have to change.

"We're probably going to have to bite the bullet and play a lot of these young guys and put them in and let them play because they're standing over there watching while you got a guy playing 60 or 70 plays on defense. Then having them play 15 to 20 plays on specials teams. It's just hard to do that," he said. "We're trying to get the best of both worlds, but we're playing a lot of young guys at other positions.

"So we'll make some changes going into this week on special teams."

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