First and foremost, props to the crowd, more specifically the 16,000 plus students, that were in attendance at Jones AT&T stadium on Thursday night. While it's not quite what it was from 2003-2009, it's a step in the right direction.
Bottom line, Texas Tech won. They found a way to win despite sputtering offense, which hasn't been the case in the spread offense era. I'll leave the officiating alone. It was bad. It was bad for both sides, and I think all of the penalties, reviews and indecision slowed Texas Tech down at key times.
Game Ball – Defense: Terrence Bullitt 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 pass break ups. The guy we saw out there on Thursday night was better than the 2011 version of Terrence Bullitt. He played his assignment as well as anyone can play and did different things that showed he could cover as well as rush the passer. 4 pass break ups is more than some good DBs have in a season. He had that as an OLB. In a game won by the Texas Tech defense, Bullitt was the best player on the field. Let's hope this sets the tone for the rest of conference play.
Honorable mention: Jackson Richards. The INT was huge, but he got the start and fought off double teams the entire night. It didn't show up in the stat sheet, as he had 0 tackles, but his play allowed others, including Bullitt to shine.
Game Ball – Offense: La'Raven Clark. With the OL questioned all week, and really all season, and also playing without Beau Carpenter for a second consecutive week, Clark drew the toughest assignment he'll have this side of Jackson Jeffcoat. Clark limited the defending Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Devonte Fields. to 3 tackles, and basically made Fields a non-factor. He was already on the NFL radar, now the dot gets a little bit bigger.
Best play: Davis Webb 19 yards TD pass to Bradley Marquez. The offense had sputtered in the 2nd & 3rd quarters. Baker Mayfield had just been helped off the field. Davis Webb, after throwing two interceptions a week ago in his debut marched the team down the field and scored after TCU tied the game. That was a big league throw at a big league moment.
1) Run game. Still. Sorry, but it's still an issue. Look around the conference at the teams that Texas Tech wants to compete with and they will have to run the football versus Baylor, OU and OSU if they want to contend for a conference title. (Yes, it's winnable this year.) As much as the OL was praised for stepping up, this team is still having a tough time running the football. Not having Carpenter in the lineup hurt a bit, but as a whole the OL still needs to find a way to get Washington and Williams to average more than 3 yards per carry, which they did not versus TCU.
2) Mayfield locking on inside receivers. In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, outside receivers were targeted a total of 3 times. One of those targets was the bogus interception by John White covering (and I do mean covering) Marquez. When Webb came in, the football started going back outside again.
Part of this may be Mayfield trying to do too much himself and not going through all of his progressions. We see this with young quarterbacks all of the time. Hopefully it gets better as the season goes on.
3) Eric Ward 0 catches. I know he was going up against a defender that will be drafted pretty early, but Eric Ward expects to play on Sundays as well, and didn't get the opportunity to make many plays.
In all, Texas Tech won at home versus a ranked opponent in September for the first time since 1989, and is 3-0, and could possibly be ranked when Sunday rolls around. There are a lot of teams that would love the opportunity to be 3-0 and ranked right now, but looking at the Big 12, the league is winnable and they'll have to get better to do that.