Kliff Kingsbury, Patrick Mahomes and Malik Jenkins all touched on some of the adjustments the team made and I have to say I was impressed, not by what they said necessarily, but that they pulled it off, when watching the game the difference was so stark it was kind of bizarre.
Kingsbury's Willingness to Run the Ball
As Kingsbury said in the presser (which you can watch below) TCU rushed three and dropped 8 back in coverage. TCU only had five in the box for much of the game begging Tech to run it and run it they did. 49 times in fact with true frosh Da'Leon Ward getting 23 of those for 98 yards.
On Tech's "refuse to lose" fourth quarter scoring drive the Red Raiders rushed 12 of the 16 plays, including 9 straight to march 80 yards in 6:51 and tie the game up at 17-17 with just 1:28 in regulation.
It's also worth noting Tech ran the ball 22 times in the fourth quarter alone.
"Yeah, that's what they were giving us," Kingsbury said. "Gary was going to take away our best playmakers inside, they were doubling those guys which is smart. He wasn't going to let us throw the ball to win the game. We should have been more effective in the run game, throughout, we just weren't. Their front was doing a good job. When they're taking away the pass, daring you to run it and you're still not able to run it that's where the struggle comes in, but they manned up when we had to, Pat made a few big plays with his feet and found the way to win the game."
Gibbs, Tech Defense Gets Aggressive
The term aggressive may be the most over used adjective in all of sports, but it definitely made a difference in Fort Worth on Saturday. The Red Raiders not only blitzed on third down to get pressure on TCU QBs Kenny Hill and Foster Sawyer, but Gibbs had the cornerbacks challenge the TCU receivers at the line of scrimmage more often than previously this season. It didn't always work, but it did a lot.
TCU completed just 22 of its 47 pass attempts for 246 yards, TD, INT. It also didn't hurt that Gibbs benched DJ Polite-Bray, who I will just say has struggled mightily this season, for true freshman Douglas Coleman. Coleman is athletic, has decent size, is more physical than I expected him to be and above all else competes. He also snagged Tech's only turnover tonight, which was the Red Raiders' first forced turnover since the fourth quarter of the Kansas game on Sept. 29.
"We just new we had to get in Kenny Hill's face, the linebackers disguise a lot and attack, attack, attack," Jenkins said.
I don't know if this is an adjustment or not, but worth mentioning and definitely something to laud the coaching staff for. Texas Tech committed just one penalty for five yards, which is an amazing accomplishment for any team, but the Red Raiders were the most penalized team in the Big 12 heading into Saturday's game at 10 per for an average of 91.2 yards a game.
When I asked Kingsbury about it after the game he said it was "incredible" and I have to say I agree.
Texas Tech, a 9-point underdog, defeated TCU in Fort Worth behind aggressive defense, a physical and determined running game and solid, disciplined play. Incredible.