One of the only question marks surrounding the Texas Tech offense was the ability of B.J. Symons to take over as the new starting quarterback. Symons had a nice game against SMU, completing 23 of 38 (60%) of his passes for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns. The only negative of his performance was an interception caused by a ball that was tipped at the line. Symons showed good leadership and made some great throws during the game. Look for more of the same next week against the Lobos.
Defense Clamps Down On Run
The other big question heading into the season was how good the Texas Tech defense would be. The unit started five freshmen, but showed some promise. The Mustangs came into the game with the goal of running the ball right at the Red Raiders, but were only moderately successful. After a long first drive, the defense stiffened up. The highlight was the interior run defense, which gave up hardly any plays over a couple of yards. Runs to the outside were a little more successful, but overall it was a good performance. The Red Raiders held SMU to just 85 rushing yards, and 280 yards of total offense. They also forced 4 turnovers (3 interceptions, 1 fumble) and scored a touchdown in the game.
Very Special Teams
The Texas Tech special teams held up their end of the game as well. The highlights were a pair of long returns. Wes Welker scored a touchdown on a 50-yard punt return to tie the NCAA record for most career punt returns for touchdowns. Johnny Mack had an 80-yard kickoff return to start the second half in style. The return came after an earlier 40-yard return in the first quarter. SMU wisely decided to kick away from Mack on their third and final kickoff. The coverage teams also played well. Other than a 49 yard return against backup special teams players, the kickoff team was all over SMU, largely because the Tech kickers forced touchbacks on all but 3 kickoffs. Alex Reyes had just 2 punts. The first pinned SMU at the 7, while the second went out of bounds.
All He Does is Score Touchdowns
Taurean Henderson started the season right where he left off. Henderson scored the first three touchdowns of the game. The first two were runs, while the third was on a deep pass over the middle. Henderson came out of the game shortly after the third touchdown to allow Mack to get some playing time. Henderson finished the game with 6 rushes for 48 yards and 3 catches for 44 yards. That means Henderson averaged 10.2 yards per touch, and scored on a third of the plays he touched the ball.
Efficient Use of Time
According to Coach Leach, time of possession is "The most irrelevant stat in the history of football", and this game showed why. Despite a 20-minute disadvantage in time of possession, the Red raiders scored 48 more points and gained 157 more yards. The only concern related to time of possession is number of plays. The Mustangs had 84 offensive plays to the Red Raiders' 64. This isn't too much of a concern yet, but if it continues it could be indicative of a problem.