To say that Graham Harrell struggled would be an understatement the same magnitude as saying the Titanic had a little accident.
Harrell threw two interceptions and only a single touchdown pass. That pass was a deep post to Michael Crabtree in the forth quarter that saw the All-American and Biletnikoff winner spinning out of a tackle to run the remaining yards to finish off the 82-yard play.
Harrell never looked comfortable in the pocket and seemed to spend the entire evening under or over-throwing receivers, something that is extremely rare from the typically surgical Harrell.
Harrell did do a better job during the second half and checked into several very successful running plays and calmed down a little.
While Texas Tech players and coaches will certainly take the win for what it was worth, it is very difficult to expect this team to be able to fulfill the expectations that have surrounded them without improved quarterback play in the upcoming games.
Running Backs : B+
The lone offensive bright-spot during the Raiders hard fought 35-19 came from the "Three Headed Monster." Shannon Woods, Baron Batch, and Aaron Crawford are quickly shaping up to be one of the best running back trios that Texas Tech has ever had and certainly the best under Head Coach Mike Leach.
Woods scored two touchdowns while Batch flashed the speed and elusiveness that made him a highly touted recruit coming out of high-school. Add in the hard-nosed running of Crawford and there's hardly a situation that the Raiders can't find a running back to fill.
The biggest contribution that the running backs made, which doesn't show in the stats, was the tremendous blocking all night long. Whether it was for Harrell, each other, or blocking on jet-fly sweeps to Eric Morris and Ed Britton, the backs did a tremendous job of blocking in all phases of the game.
Wide Receivers : C
The Tech receivers didn't help their faltering quarterback as they had a tough night catching the football. Michael Crabtree missing a read on a stop fade, Eric Morris missing a catch on a crossing route, or Detron Lewis having difficulty catching the ball repeatedly on arc screens.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the evening was the clutch play of redshirt freshman Tramain Swindall who came into the game and made several clutch catches to help the Tech offense through some of their struggles.
Offensive Line : B
Louis Vasquez didn't play and Rylan Reed was in and out of the line-up as the Tech offensive line struggled for the second week in a row. Stephen Hamby again struggled playing left-guard, though he did settle down as the game wore on. This is the first game that Vasquez has missed a start since the Texas A&M game in 2006.
Chris Olson saw time at left-tackle as Rylan Reed was spelled and Olson looked experienced beyond his years with a strong debut at left tackle. Olson has been a jack-of-all-trades practicing at both guard and tackle spots before seeming to find his niche at left-tackle.
If it appears that Louis Vasquez is to be out again this coming week as the Raiders take on Southern Methodist Saturday, Lonnie Edwards could see increased time at left-guard since his size (6 feet, 313 pounds) is more conducive to the Raiders style of play.
Athlete of the Game
While Eric Morris struggled catching the football, he did a brilliant job as a punt returner with the first return for touchdown since Danny Amendola went 90 yard against Kansas State in 2004.
With over 130 yards of total offense and the afore-mentioned punt return to go with a rushing touchdown, Morris was the lone spark for the Red Raiders until Michael Crabtree's long catch and touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Overall Offensive Grade : C+
The Red Raiders got away with playing lackadaisical, sloppy, and uninterested offense for the second week in a row after a difficult outing that was hidden by the final statistics in the 49-24 win over Eastern Washington on the August 30th.
An uncharacteristic start to the 2008 season, it should now be blatantly apparent to the Red Raiders that they must improve their offensive execution if they hope to win games once they get into Big XII play.
While the "Three Headed Monster" at running back has proven to be a greater asset than hindrance, they cannot be expected to carry this football team as the season continues to unfold.