Overrated: In the waning moments of Tech's 49-14 over then No. 5 West Virginia, the Red Raider student section taunted the Mountaineers with chants of "O-ver-Rat-ed!" Unfortunately, that adjective also describes Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders entered the tilt with Kansas State ranked No. 14 in the nation, but after getting butchered in Manhattan, it's clear that ranking was a mirage. It was a mirage borne of the win over a vastly overrated West Virginia squad that KSU destroyed the next week, and an overtime win over a TCU team that this Saturday was demolished by Oklahoma State.
Tech is above average, and quite a bit better than last season, but is still nowhere near championship caliber. They are capable of winning or losing their remaining four games.
Breaking Bad at the Halftime Break: The Red Raiders trailed by a mere field goal at halftime, but this Tech fan didn't feel confident. One got the sense that the Red Raiders hit KSU with their best shot in the first half, yet still trailed. And as halftime approached, the Wildcats were beginning to impose their will on Tech. Worst suspicions were confirmed as Kansas State mashed the Red Raiders in the third quarter, outscoring them 21-7 and icing the game.
Offense, Special Teams Lost Game in First Half: Credit Art Kaufman's defense with playing a stellar first half. In holding the Wildcats to 13 points, they were playing championship football. Indeed, as well as this group played, Tech should have had a substantial lead at the break rather than trailed by three points.
But Tech's offense repeatedly bogged down in Kansas State territory rather than coming away with points. Seth Doege fumbled away a great scoring opportunity because he didn't recognize a blitz and check into a different play. The Red Raiders settled for a field goal and had another blocked. A Kramer Fyfe squib kick set the Wildcats up in great field position at their own 41. They converted that field position into a touchdown. And thanks to a terrible 10-yard kickoff return by SaDale Foster, Tech had no chance to score on their final possession of the half.
Squandered opportunities and special teams botches spoiled a great defensive effort. And that was all she wrote. Tech had nothing for KSU in the second half.
Receiver Deficiency Hurts: Tech's offensive gameplan was to attack Kansas State deep, but the Red Raiders didn't have the hosses to execute it. Tech's longest passing play was a mere 32 yards.
Austin Zouzalik and Alex Torres are good, tough mid-range possession receivers, but they hardly present the deep threat that the injured Jace Amaro and Javon Bell did. Neither does Tyson Williams. Darrin Moore's lack of speed limits what he can do deep. And Marcus Kennard has been a major disappointment.
Right now, Eric Ward is Tech's only deep threat. Therefore, as much as Doege would like to throw the ball downfield, most of the time he simply cannot because the receivers are covered.
How ironic that Tech's most glorious week of the season in which they beat West Virginia, was also the week in which the Red Raider offense was effectively eviscerated.
Physicality Doesn't Equal Victory: Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has said that the more violent football team wins 90 percent of the time. The Tech-KSU game fell in the other 10 percent.
The Red Raiders, particularly on defense, played their most physical game of the season. They really took the fight to Kansas State, and actually outgained the Wildcats, yet lost by 31 points. Tech came to play, and had a pretty good gameplan. At the end of the day, though, the Red Raiders were beaten by a clearly superior team, and by a KSU coaching staff that adapted and adjusted better than did Tech's coaching staff.
Hang ‘Em High: When Seth Doege misses, he misses high. And high passes are often tipped. This is why he has a bit of an interception problem. The reason an unusually high percentage of his interceptions are returned for long yardage or touchdowns is because most of the picks are to the outside of the field, away from potential tacklers. Doege's high pass to Jakeem Grant in the flat, which was tipped, intercepted and returned for a touchdown, was a microcosm of Doege's difficulties.