Texas Tech wants to air it out and the Red Raiders have done that, but perhaps it is time to ground it out.
With a top 10 defense and a quarterback situation in flux, a healthy running game could be the key to Saturday's Big 12 matchup with Iowa State (1-3 overall, 0-1 in Big 12), if not the remainder of the season.
It definitely altered the complexion of last week's game against Kansas. After rushing just three times for nine yards on four scoreless drives in the first quarter, No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0) ran the ball eight consecutive plays on its opening drive of the second, muscling its way 61 yards down the field to set up a Ryan Bustin field goal and its first points of the game. The Red Raiders would rattle off the next 51 points on the way to a 54-16 whipping.
Though Tech ended up throwing for 404 yards, the point was made; we can lean on you if and when we have to.
"I thought we had some good movement up front," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We'd still like to be better, but it really kind of kick-started our offense when we had that one drive where we were able to hand it off a few times in a row, get the quarterbacks comfortable and score some points."
The Red Raiders are averaging 54 passes and 33 rushes per game, which is actually a pretty good ratio for an "Air Raid" offense. The amount of attempts is not the problem. The problem is Tech is averaging a paltry 3.4 yards per carry, which is among the worst in the country.
At times this season the offensive line has failed to get a good push, and other times even when they have, the backs failed to accelerate through the hole. No matter which of the three promising, yet inexperienced quarterbacks line up behind center, a productive ground attack would alleviate a lot of pressure.
But, it's obvious the offensive line and backs have yet to gain Kingsbury's trust.
"I don't care how it gets done, as long as we get the ball in the end zone," Kingsbury said. "So we'll see if we can get it rolling again this week. That will be nice. If not, we'll just throw it every play. So that's kind of where we're at."