It has come to this. After forging a 15-game winning streak over Baylor, Texas Tech can no longer beat the Bears. Whether Baylor's quarterback is a Heisman-winner whom the media has already enshrined in Canton, or a guy named Nick Florence, the Red Raiders still lose. The grades for Tech's second straight loss to the Bears cannot be good.
Quarterbacks: Seth Doege often plays like Drew Brees and Drew Barrymore in the same series. At times he looks like an All American and at others looks as though he belongs on the bench. Doege's accuracy and arm strength are not at issue. His decision-making and lack of awareness are the problems. And these deficiencies resulted in four killing turnovers against Baylor. By the by, Michael Brewer's lone pass of the game was also nearly intercepted. Had he put the ball on the money, it was a touchdown.
Running Backs: Kenny Williams averaged almost seven and a half yards per carry and SaDale Foster over six. Each had a run of 20 yards or more. Pass protection was sound.
Receivers: Getting open is sometimes a problem for this group, but on the whole, the receivers performed well. Darrin Moore had a monster game. Without out him, the score would have been ugly. Eric Ward also had a very good game, including a couple of his customary spectacular grabs. He also dropped one ball. The inside receivers, particularly Tyson Williams, were strangely silent. After two straight productive games, Williams caught only one pass against the Bears. Blocking on the bubble screen was not up to scratch.
Offensive Line: After several poor showings of late, this unit really came through. Outside of a few penalties, their play was meritorious. Seth Doege was never sacked, and was rarely pressured. The Bears blitzed frequently, but blitz pick-ups were spot-on. Run blocking was very good. Only once was a Tech back thrown for a loss. Deveric Gallington and Le'Raven Clark were road graders. Jared Kaster played some snaps at right guard because of injury situations, and there was no noticeable drop-off.
Defensive Line: There was feast and there was famine for the defensive line. Kerry Hyder played the best game by a Tech defensive lineman in recent memory, with 11 tackles and two tackles for loss. I hope he gets the post-season recognition he deserves. Delvon Simmons got Tech's lone sack on a stunt. A few more stunts and twists might have been in order. Dartwan Bush created some pressure, and Branden Jackson batted down a pass. However, Tech allowed 278 rushing yards and could not contain Lache Seastrunk. Pete Robertson was flagged for two facemask penalties, one of which gave Baylor a critical first down on 3rd-and-eight.
Linebackers: Far too many missed tackles. Aside from the failure to create turnovers, poor tackling by the back seven has been the defense's chief problem. Blake Dees doesn't have the speed to play effectively in space and Will Smith takes bad angles. Sam Eguavoen, perhaps surprisingly, has emerged as the team's best linebacker, and he's still a work in progress.
Secondary: The poor tackling even afflicted Cody Davis, who had perhaps his worst game of the season. Tre Porter made a couple of nice tackles, but also missed a few. Teams have zeroed in on Tech's inability to cover the deep ball and are exploiting the weakness without mercy. Cornelius Douglas' return didn't make much difference, although he was the only Red Raider physical enough to tackle Seastrunk. The blown coverage that gave Baylor a touchdown right before halftime was brutal.
Special Teams: Jakeem Grant's 97-yard kickoff return provides hope for the future. Give this guy a crease and you give yourself a very good shot at six points because Grant will not be caught in the open field. Kramer Fyfe's short kickoff and the poor coverage that accompanied it, led to Baylor's first touchdown and allowed the Bears to get off the mat.