Red Raiders Caged by Cougars

The Texas Tech offense was one point, and yard, away from a dramatically different ending as they fall 29-28 in front of just over 30,000 fans in Houston. Held to only 7 points in the second half and allowing 10 points off of turnovers, the high-powered Air Raid offense was stymied by a feisty Cougar squad. Come inside for more from football analyst Mitchell Fish.

Red Raiders Caged by Cougars The Texas Tech offense was one point, and yard, away from a dramatically different ending as they fall 29-28 in front of just over 30,000 fans in Houston. Held to only 7 points in the second half and allowing 10 points off of turnovers, the high-powered Air Raid offense was stymied by a feisty Cougar squad. Come inside for more from football analyst Mitchell Fish. One quarterback from Abilene thrust himself onto the National stage as a calm, cool, and collected passer that is at ease with pressure on his shoulders.

The other may very well be known for arguing with the officials after a failed quarterback sneak on 4th and goal.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will leave Houston not only toting a 2-2 record and their first loss to a non-conference opponent since Texas Christian in 2006, but with more questions than when they left Austin a week ago.

While the Raiders showed that they can, at times, run and pass the football effectively, when the chips were down Tech was bested by a smaller Cougar defense and defensive line.

Tech had struggled in weeks, and years, previous with quarterback sneaks and once again tonight were stopped in a crucial point of what could be a turning point in both Tech's and Houston's seasons.

Tech attempted a quarterback sneak only once again the University of Texas and converted from a 4th and 1 to a 1st down.

But against Rice Potts was stopped 4th and goal from the 2 yard line (in a situation eerily similar to Saturday's game) and turned the ball over to the Owls on their own one yard line.

Against North Dakota Potts ran the sneak on 1st and goal, 2nd and goal, and 4th and goal (all from inside the 1 yard line) and only scored on his third attempt.

This is certainly not meant to take anything away from Potts, who has showed that at times this season that he can deliver strong throws and has played well in his first several starts. But until the Raiders' signal caller figures out the quarterback sneak it is not a viable short-yardage play.

While the argument can be made that there was no whistle on the play in questions or that Potts did in-fact score, the debate is moot as it is the men in the white and black striped shirts that will determine whether or not the ball crosses the plane. Being upset about the officials is one thing, but good teams overcome adversity whether it is officiating, penalties, or turnovers and the Raiders could not overcome that tonight.

The Tech defense played well at times this evening, and while Mike Leach enjoys saying that time of possession is the most useless statistic in football, it becomes very relevant when a team's defense is undersized and lacks any true depth across the defensive front. Houston led time of possession 33:13 to 26:47.

Is the Raiders' season over? By no means, but it becomes imperative for this team to figure itself out and quickly.

This isn't new territory for Leach and his teams. In 2004 after a thrashing at the hands of the University of Texas the Raiders went on to win 4 of their last 5 games including beating the #4 ranked University of California in the Holiday bowl.

In 2006 after losing at Colorado, the Raiders went on to win 4 of their last 6 games and defeat Minnesota in the Insight bow.

After a loss to the University of Texas in 2007, Tech went on to win games against Oklahoma, Virginia, and 10 straight wins in the 2008 season.

Solid and confident quarterback play is key to the Texas Tech offense, without the well-oiled machine becomes nothing more than a comedy of errors that is painful to watch. Taylor Potts has so far avoided one of these painful games, but tonight will be credited for a loss that he and his teammates had the opportunity to win.

Unfortunately, 1 point losses and 100 point losses count the same (when not considering the BCS) and Tech will now be staring a .500 record in the face next weekend when they take up action again at Jones AT&T stadium.

While Tech has what should be a fairly easy game against New Mexico next weekend (a team which beat the Raiders on a last second field goal in 2004), the Big XII Schedule looms large afterwards with Kansas State, at Nebraska, and at home against Texas A&M.

Until the Raiders figure things out on offense and defense, no win is guaranteed.


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