When you play as well as Texas Tech played against Texas St., there's not a lot to say from a criticism standpoint. The Red Raiders went out and did what they were supposed to do for the second consecutive week. They improved on some areas and there are some areas that need more improvement, so my apologies if this seems a little nit-picky or overly critical .
Who was in: Alfredo Morales started for the 2nd consecutive game at left guard. Beau Carpenter continued to play well when he was in there. Carpenter sealed the hole for Stephens 46 yard run. Branden Jackson started at left defensive end over Dartwan Bush.
Who was out: Eric Ward and Javares McRoy didn't make the trip. Ward because of injury and McRoy due to family issues. I'm a little concerned about Ward this season because he was held out of contact during the fall after missing the entire spring. Now after his first real contact in 8 months, he's on the shelf. In his place Javon Bell started at X receiver and Darrin Moore at Z. It was nice to see them on the field at the same time. Jace Amaro (H) and Tyson Williams (Y) also started at receiver spots.
Offense – QB Seth Doege. Handing a game ball to a QB is kind of cliché, but 319 yards passing and 5 TDs leading your team into what was called the "biggest sporting event in San Marcos history." Most of the time he made it look easy, hitting a double digit number of receivers for the second consecutive week.
Defense – S Cody Davis. He may get the chain gang award for the second consecutive week as well. The biggest thing about his 88 yard interception for a TD is that it killed the momentum for Texas St. It's also the 3rd time the defense has inherited a short field after a turnover. The Chain Gang has only allowed 3 points off of those turnovers, which means they've actually scored more points on the drives following a turnover than they've given up. We'll track that stat and see how long it lasts.
Run defense: Good again for the second consecutive week. The speed of Tech's defense is noticeably better. This team gashed the Red Raiders for 256 yards on the ground a year ago and that number was nearly cut in half this year. Marcus Curry was very limited. I would have liked to see the Red Raiders get a better opportunity against him, as he is regarded as their most talented back.
Pass offense: Texas Tech said they were going to attack with the outside receivers all week. They did. Bell and Moore combined for over 150 yards and 3 TDs. Welcome back, boys. Mission accomplished.
Running game: Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens each averaged over 10 yards per carry. The carries weren't plentiful, with the concentration on the passing game, but they did what they needed to do. A very quiet performance that totaled almost 200 yards.
Pass defense: 2 interceptions and Neboh had another go through his hands. When the Bobcats replaced Rutherford with Arndt, the new QB came out and went 4/6 and threw for a TD. The Red Raiders adjusted after that and seemed to clamp down. It's also worth noting that the TD was scored on an OLB, not a member of the secondary.
Special Teams: Texas Tech didn't punt, hasn't miss a place kick, and recovered a muffed ball on a kickoff. I like what Coach Lovett has done.
Room for improvement:
Offense: Score on the first drive. The Red Raiders have turned the ball over on their first drive each of the last two games. The turnover against Texas St, was a botched play on a 4th down, but fueled the momentum for the Bobcats and the crowd. I loved the play call, but you have to execute.
Defense: Hate to be nit-picky, but Leon Mackey has had two costly personal foul penalties in the last two weeks. He has to play in control.
Step 2 of the journey was a pretty good one. Let's hope the Red Raiders continue to build on after this impressive win.
Big 12 Observations:
Kansas State – Probably the most impressive win of the weekend. Miami looked disinterested and lackadaisical. A lot of that was because K-State took it to them early. The game in Manhattan is going to be pretty tough.
Oklahoma St. – A little reality for the ‘pokes. From this vantage point it looks like the role of Justin Blackmon is going to be more difficult to replace than Weeden. This one wasn't completely on the freshman QB and his 3 INTs. The receivers didn't help their teammate out and the defense that has led the country in turnover margin the last two years could only muster a recovered fumble.
Texas: They shutout a UNM team 45-0, but the lobos ran for over 200 yards and averaged 4.38 yards per carry. Texas only averaged 4.7 yards per carry and no back had over 50 yards. You would think that would be higher. That said, UNM didn't get into the red zone, so the Longhorns put the clamps down on defense when they had to.
Iowa Stete – Beat Iowa in the rivalry game 9-6. Eerily similar to a 9-6 win they had in Lincoln a few years ago. Not pretty, but they are 2-0, and their defense held Iowa to 68 yards rushing and a little over 2 yards per carry. Tech's game against the Cyclones remains the most important game of the season.
OU – We didn't learn anything new about the Sooners. I think there are still some problems with their offensive line and their front seven. Let's hope they can all play up to Landry Jones' standards.
Baylor and West Virginia were both off this week. Baylor has Sam Houston St. next week and then Louisiana Monroe on the road on a Friday in 2 weeks. Yes, the Louisiana Monroe who just knocked off #9 Arkansas. Oops.