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KNEE-JERK REACTIONS TO UT WIN AT TECH

HD Contributor Allen Perkins gives you his "Knee-Jerk Reactions" to Texas' first win away from Austin of the 2016 season ...

 

The Tortillas were flying in Lubbock! Texas Tech marched right down the field on the opening drive without much resistance from the Texas defense. Tech did a great job of calling lots of different plays, attacking UT in a multitude of ways. UT used a 3 down line. UT had an equal mix of rushing 3, 4 or 5 players on the first TT offensive drive. Malik was rushing from the edge and also made a great tackle on a speed option play. Dylan Haines made a huge hit on Batson early in the drive. Holton Hill made two nice hits/tackles as well. TT scored on a play action pick play from about 5 yards out

TT leads 7-0, first quarter

 

 

Jacorey Warrick did a nice job of breaking the tackle on the KO, getting to the 31 yard line. Texas hit a hitch route to Jake Oliver who turned in huge YAC for a 52 yard gain. Texas followed that up with a screen to Dorian Leonard, and two nice runs by D’Onta Foreman, leading to a TD.

7-7, 10:43 left in the first quarter

 

Boyd had a vicious tackle. TT RB Da’Leon Ward had a big gain as Texas missed tackles. Haines did well to stop Mahomes on the QB keeper. 3 down UT. Dylan Haines, Breckyn Hager, Edwin Freeman made good tackles. At midfield, Mahomes was successful throwing a slant on a pick play. Cotrell put pressure on Mahomes and he threw a pass up for grabs, lucky it wasn’t intercepted. On third and 12, Malik Jefferson hit Mahomes as he released it. Mahomes was rushed and his completion was a yard short of the sticks. Tech kicked a 42 yard FG. Any FG is a victory for the defense. 

10-7 Tech leads, 7 minutes left in the first quarter.

 

UT was successful with their up tempo on this drive. Armanti Foreman and Jacorey Warrick contributed on short receptions. D. Foreman had multiple 5-7 yard runs, leading to a third and 6 from the TT 16.

 

TT called a TO before third and 6. Collin Johnson (6-6, 212) caught a TD on a corner route. Amazing catch. Fantastic job of getting his foot down. Great throw by Buechele. Texas ran a new formation with trips receivers to one side. This simplified things for Buechele. He only had to read one half of the field. The defense was in man and UT ran two short in routes to clear out for Johnson. I think Texas found their red zone go to guy, tough to stop a jump ball with Johnson. 

Texas leads 14-10 with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

 

Jonathan Giles was the star of this TT drive. DeShon Elliot made a good tackle and Brandon Jones made a big hit early in the drive. Texas played man the first 3 drives of the game. The corners were up pretty tight most of the time. Especially on the boundary receivers. Mahomes had an impressive throw to Jonathan Giles on a deep corner route. To this point, most of TT’s throws were short or intermediate (all less than 10 yards). UT was opting to keep everything in front of them. UT used a single high safety look a lot. Mahomes with a throwback pass to Q. White. TT threw a WR screen to Jonathan Giles for a TD. TT got away with a hold. Poona Ford blocked the PAT. 

TT leads 16-14.

 

Jake McMillon called for holding to start drive. A. Foreman on a slant. Jerrod Heard dropped a deep ball at the TT 35. That was Buechele’s first incompletion. UT incomplete on the next play as Ja’Shawn Johnson got a pass breakup. Dickson punted it away/out of bounds from the dangerous Cameron Batson. TT leads 16-14. 33 seconds left in the first quarter.

 

Holton Hill made two solid tackles. Hager penalty, in the neutral zone. Texas was allowing a lot of short passes. TT burned another TO. Mahomes bobbled the ball on a zone read. That kind of mistake is why UT is sitting back in coverage. Odds are an offense will get a penalty or not execute consistently if they have to go on long drives. Remember, the TT average third down distance was 7.5 yards coming into this game (one of the worst in the FBS). It’s hard to maintain that. TT at midfield third and 11. Malik was spying Mahomes successfully, dissecting the play and then attacking. Boyd almost got an interception on an underthrown pass. TT rugby punted to the UT 1. TT leads 16-14 12:44 left in the second quarter.

 

On this drive, UT used a new formation (at least three times). Swoopes was by himself in the shotgun with a two lead blockers on either side, no WRs. UT used this every time Swoopes was in at QB. Swoopes with his best run in a while, 8 yards from the UT 1. D. Foreman then had two short runs. D. Foreman needs to work on his pass protection, Buechele got hit as he threw. To this point of the game: 

Average yards to go on third down. UT - 7.5

Average yards to go on third down. TT - 11.3

 

Collin Johnson and D. Leonard both had short receptions. Buechele was dealing with pressure on this drive, leading to incompletions. On second down from the UT 24, D. Foreman ran for a big gain. To this point he had 10 carries, 101 yards, 10.1 YPC. D. Foreman became the 1st FBS player with 10 straight 100+ yard games since Ezekiel Elliot (15 such games in 2014-2015). After D. Foreman’s long run, he rested on first and third down, with 9:24 left in the second quarter.

 

I would’ve liked to see UT call a TO to get D. Foreman a chance to rest so that he could be in on third and four. Instead, Swoopes got three yards on third and four, then got the conversion on 4th and 1. On the next play, Texas finally threw a pass out of the new and improved 18 wheeler to Bluiett for a TD, however UT was called for a penalty. Shackelford and Perkins got called for a chop block. It was a good call. I know that UT is trying to simulate a run but I don’t think it’s necessary to perform a chop block there, TT would’ve probably bit on it anyway. 

 

Texas then faced a tough situation, first and goal from the TT 24. J. Oliver dropped a slant, then Collin tripped on second down and the pass fell incomplete. On third and goal from the TT 25, UT handed it off to D.Foreman. D. Foreman muscled his way down towards the TT 1, only to have it stripped. Douglas Coleman stripped the ball and ran it back 99 yards for a TD. 10-14 point swing. Texas could have been up 21-16 OR 17-16. Instead TT went up 23-14. A microcosm of the year. So close, only to have our hearts ripped out. In my mind it was a good play call by Gilbert because it sets up for the field goal (remember it was third and goal from the 25).   

TT up 23-14 with 7:30 left in the second quarter. 

 

UT from their own on 30, TT got away with a holding or PI on second down. Buechele with a poor drive, keeping it on a zone read and getting nothing. Followed by feeling pressure that wasn’t there and giving up on the play too early (sack). Block in the back by TT on the punt return, no call. 

TT leads 23-14. About 7 minutes left in the second quarter.

 

UT started with a blitz and press coverage, disrupting a screen. UT almost got an interception on second and 15 (miscommunication on the route). Holton Hill made a great tackle in the open field on a Mahomes scramble. UT with a big stop, halting momentum. 

TT leads 23-14. 5:33 left in the second quarter.

 

Kyle Porter with a decent run. Buechele mixed up his cadence to try to get the Dline to jump. A. Foreman and J. Oliver then got moderate gains through the air. Gilbert running a lot of plays with 4 WR and no TE, usually 3 WRs to one side. Porter with his two best runs of the year (huge holes). UT down to the TT 38. Buechele missed Duvernay on a post. UT second and goal, great play by (#31) TT DB Justis Nelson, reading the route and tipping it away from J. Heard. On third and goal Buechele threw a pretty pass to C. Johnson on a corner route/jump ball. Again, UT clears out space by running two short in routes. C. Johnson made an acrobatic grab. He did well to get a foot down and secure the football.

TT leads 23-21, 3:01 left in the second quarter.

 

Buechele and Collin Johnson spend a lot of time in the facility according to the FS1 broadcast (best friends allegedly). That’s the first time that I remember UT attacking the end zone from goal to go situations this year. Not screen passes or slants, but throws into the end zone. 

 

Tim Cole covered the screen well. Breckyn Hager allegedly talking trash with TT. TT was confused and called a TO. M. Jefferson with an amazing job, chasing down Mahomes on third down, tackling him before he could get to the marker. I like the idea behind putting two players back on punt returns. More likely to field the ball and a blocker to pick up any free running gunners. Texas almost blocked the TT punt. 23 – 21 TT leads. 1:54 left in the second quarter. 

 

If I would have told you that the UT defense would only give up 16 points at half, I bet we’d all take that. Collin Johnson prevented a sure interception as Buechele made a bad throw. A. Foreman with a huge play on third down. He bobbled and then secured the slant pass. UT at midfield. A. Foreman dropped a deep dig. Jake Oliver made a huge grab on third down (deep comeback route). UT kept going after DB Justis Nelson (#31). At this point, UT was at the TT 30 with 55 seconds left and one timeout. Buechele pump faked the screen and hit D. Duvernay for a first down on the sideline. UT ran a screen to get 3 yards (used last TO). UT faced a second and 7 from the TT 12, with 36 seconds left. Tech deflected the second down pass. Johnson dropped a third down hitch pass, it was low though. Trent Domingue ricocheted the FG off the upright. 

UT leads 24-23. 26 second left in the second quarter.

 

Tech kneeled to take us to halftime.

 

1st half stats that stood out.

Total Yards - UT 390, TT 233. UT had 191 rushing yards. TT had 41 rushing yards. UT was 5-10 = 50% on third down. TT was 1-5 = 20%. Coleman had the 99 yard fumble return for the TD.

 

Start of the third quarter. UT leads 24-23.

 

Strong is 13-2 when leading at the half. Kingsbury is 1-20 when trailing at the half. 

 

Fake the screen, slant to Duvernay. C. Johnson and A. Foreman then pulled in two short receptions. C. Johnson dropped the next pass. During this drive, D. Foreman had five short runs and one big gain around the left side (10-15 yards). Oline having a great game. TT’s DL Gary Moore was out and UT was gashing TT (especially on the left side of the Oline). The Oline blasted the TT Dline and Swoopes followed them into the end zone. The 18 wheeler could be a solid recruiting tool for “Tebowesque” players in the future. Texas leads 31-23. 11:57 left in the third quarter.

 

Breckyn Hager disrupted the first down run. Poona Ford had two nice tackles. Hager and Roach did well to force Mahomes into Ford. Mahomes then overthrew Coutee. Boyd did a great job of switching onto the receiver that came into his area.

 

TO this point Mahomes started 15-17, 2-8 since. 

 

Texas Tech ran a fake punt (Punter - Barden) on 4th and 8 from the tech 26. They got to midfield on the fake. Tech rolled their offensive line to the right but the three man “shield” shifted left and Barden went with them. Eventually, DeShon Elliot came up to make the tackle. Jordan Strickland missed the tackle in the backfield. Texas was fooled. They should have been more alert, especially in a one score game when a team is struggling offensively. Clearly it’s great to get a good return but there’s nothing like giving up a fake punt/FG or roughing the kicker to give the opposing offense another shot. It’s not as if our return game is successful anyway. TT must have seen something they liked after their first few rugby rollout punts.

 

Mahomes threw a deep ball that should have been intercepted by Jason Hall but instead fell incomplete. Mahomes scrambled out of the pocket and hit a wide open WR. M. Roach had a horse collar penalty on Mahomes. TT moved to the UT 20 after the penalty. Tech had 11 first downs in the first quarter. Only had three after that, 9:24 left in the third quarter. TT muscled a few runs to the UT 8. Strong called a TO. Boyd did a great job to knock the ball away just enough on second down, preventing the TD catch. TD TT on third and goal. TT used another rub/pick route and Dylan Haines couldn’t get over quick enough. There was contact from the TT receiver and by Bonney on the pick. It was hard to tell who initiated it.

31-30 UT leads. 7:33 left in the third quarter. 

 

Happy to see Jacorey Warrick contributing today. D. Foreman had three big runs on the drive. Including an untouched 38 yarder for a TD. The UT Oline played pretty well today. 

38-30 UT leads. 6 minutes left in the third quarter.

 

P.J. Locke, H. Hill and J. Bonney all had nice tackles on this drive. M. Jefferson forced Mahomes to throw it quickly on three occasions as he spied then rushed. Kris Boyd and DeShon Elliot did a great job of double covering a deep ball, knocking it away. UT then got a sack on third down. Four players deserve credit for the sack. M. Jefferson jumped into the air/passing lane (while spying). Erick Fowler and Breckyn Hager pushed their man back into Mahomes. D’Andre Christmas then got enough of a push so that Mahomes had nowhere to go. TT punter then stayed true to his average and shanked a 23 yarder. He had an average of 39.5 YP punt coming into the game.

UT leads 38-30. 3:30 left in the third quarter.

 

TT’s Nick Coleman made a huge play tipping away a deep ball on the UT drive. UT went three and out and punted. 

 

Mahomes made a great play, scrambling from McCulloch and completing a pass on the sideline for a first down. S. Evans did a good job of barely getting his hand in on a deep ball to force the incompletion. Mahomes then missed Giles when he was wide open. On the next play Mahomes scrambled around and found WR Derrick Willies. Willies hurdled Jason Hall but fumbled during the process. McCulloch with amazing hustle. He was spying on Mahomes and then ran all the way back, following the ball and got the fumble recovery. P.J. Locke was confused in coverage and missed the initial tackle. 

 

UT had two short runs and on second and 8, D. Foreman went practically untouched for a 74 yard TD. TT blitzed and there was no one at the second level. 

UT lead 45-30 with about 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

TT drove to the UT 30. DeShon Elliot did a great job of jumping in front of the deep ball and caught it. He went out of bounds though. On fourth down, Cottrell and Jefferson were all over Mahomes and forced a TO on downs (sack). 

Kyle Porter fumbled inside the TT 40. Ondre Pipkins (6-3, 325) recovered the fumble and started rumblin’ tumblin’ bumblin’ down to the UT yard line. Collin Johnson did a great job of making a tackle to save the touchdown. It was an important tackle because TT ended up wasting time scoring on the ensuring drive. TT could have used those precious second later in the game.

 

Tech moved down the field quickly with two intermediate and a nice run by Ward for a TD. UT leads 45-37 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

UT got to their own 40 on D. Foreman runs. TT’s knocked down Buechele’s pass on third down leading to a punt. UT leads 45-37. 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

TT couldn’t do anything. Malik Jefferson was all over Mahomes on third down. 

UT leads 45-37. Nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

Buechele had a poor drive. He kept it on the zone read and got stuffed. His second down pass was batted down. Buechele then missed a deep ball while under pressure. Dickson had a great punt, pinning it inside the five. 

UT leads 45-37. Seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

TT started the drive with a nice run by Ward. Then TT had some short runs to get to their 30. Breckyn Hager had a huge hit Ward. Boyd and Roach closed on Mahomes quickly on a scramble. Then, Mahomes scrambled and tried to jump over Boyd for the first down.  Boyd hit Mahomes low and Mahomes landed awkwardly. UT stopped Mahomes on 4th and 1 (QB sneak). Texas was understandably pumped up. UT leads 45-37. 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

 

UT got to a third and short with D. Foreman runs and then took him out on third and fourth down. It’s easy to second guess after the fact but not having D. Foreman in on short yardage late in the game is mind boggling. I don’t like the 18 wheeler call here (or anywhere really). Swoopes is running way to high. The low man wins. They had Foreman on the sideline two plays in a row. The 18 wheeler fails more than its successful (that’s how it seems). If D. Foreman is tired, call a timeout. Swoopes got stuffed on two short runs. TT deserves credit for stopping it. Brooks and Malik Jenkins did well to fill the hole on fourth down.

 

Last drive of the game…

 

TT started at their own 26 with 2:11 left. H. Hill with a great open field tackle, not letting TT get out of bounds (clock running). Paul Boyette had a silly hands to the face penalty. TT moved to midfield after the penalty. M. Jefferson tackled Ward short of the first down to keep the clock running. Jefferson then went out with an injury. The UT defense again did a great job of tackling Ward in bounds (Tim Cole made tackle the), TT only had one time out with 43 seconds left at this point. TT threw a slant over the middle and D. Cantrell got some extra yards but at least it was in bounds. P.J. Locke missed a tackle on this play. TT was at the UT 20. On first down, Bonney got beat deep but Cantrell couldn’t get his foot down in the end zone. Bonney never located the ball. On the next play, P.J. Locke nearly had the interception while guarding a post route. P.J. Locke left his own man to cover another WR (instincts). 

 

Third down and 10 from the UT 20 for TT. 16 seconds left. Hager and Jefferson made Mahomes throw it off his back foot. Mahomes was falling away and rolling to his left (tough for a right handed QB). The throw was short and it was an easy interception for Kris Boyd. Breckyn Hager tried to shake Mahomes hand afterward (camera cut away I couldn’t see if Mahomes obliged). 

 

Texas kneels and wins 45-37.

 

Crucial Plays (Missed opportunities/Bad mistakes)

 

UT held TT to a FG and blocked a PAT. Heard dropped a deep ball (3-7 points lost). Chop block on Kent Perkins and Zack Shackelford on the Swoopes TD to Bluiett. On third and goal from the TT 25, UT handed it off to D.Foreman. D. Foreman muscled his way down to the TT 1. TT then stripped it from D. Foreman and ran it back 10-14 point swing. Texas could have been up 21-16. Instead TT went up 23-14. Coleman made the play for TT.

 

Fake punt by TT from their own 26, leading to 7 points instead of 0. TT fumbled when driving for the tying score late in the third (3-7 points). The Kyle Porter fumble leading to TT TD (7-14 point swing). UT didn’t score on three drives that started in the TT side of the field. UT stuffed TT late in the game on a 4th down QB sneak. This was crucial because TT was in hurry up mode their next possession (last of the game). Just in general UT did a great job of keeping TT in front of them all day. This was crucial in many ways. When trying to mount their comeback, TT lost a lot of time when the clock would run on short passes.

 

 

Other Thoughts

 

D’Onta Foreman had 33 carries for 341 yards. 10.3 YPC, 3 TDs and a fumble. 

 

TT had 14 points off turnovers and UT had 7 points off turnovers

 

Second guessing not having D. Foreman in on the last UT drive (Swoopes was in instead). UT got stuffed.

 

Still don’t like the 18 wheeler. More problems than success. I loved the pass that was finally added in. It did get us a few yards and decent plays. Overall it’s still not worth it in my mind. Adding a play action rollout/bootleg to the 18 Wheeler with a RPO would be nice. Additionally, Buechele is flourishing with Johnson in the red zone now. I’m guessing he would’ve done it all season if given the opportunity.

 

Sterling Gilbert’s game plan was so much more diverse than we have seen this year. New/rarely used plays included: Slants, Deep digs, post routes, corner route to C. Johnson, toss play to D. Foreman from the shotgun, pass out of the 18 wheeler (would have been a TD without a penalty). UT also used a trips WR set and a 4 WR set with no TE (3 WR to one side, 1 WR to the other). I think this is great because UT rarely utilizes the TE in the passing game. Plus, UT is so loaded at WR. It gets a body out of the box also. I’m forgetting other wrinkles at the moment….

 

Regarding throws over the middle I imagine that with Buechele being shorter at QB, Gilbert was afraid of deflections by opposing Dlines. However, UT ran 10-15 yard routes over the middle, which helps to somewhat alleviate the deflected pass problem. Additionally, Gilbert might like perimeter based routes because it keeps defenders out of the box on running plays.

 

UT had another scoring drought in the game. UT did not score their last four drives. The drives ended as such: Fumble, punt, punt, TO on downs. Let alone, the UT defense gave the offense great field position multiple times. Of the four drives mentioned, UT started in TT territory three times and at the UT 40 on the other drive.

 

Texas contained Mahomes very well. The catalyst was Malik Jefferson, as he spied Mahomes. This is definitely a great role for Jefferson. It would’ve been wise to employ that strategy against Ertz. 

 

I was happy to see the DBs poke the ball out of the TT WRs hands as they attempted to complete the catch (leading to incompletions). I remember at least four instances off the top of my head (if not more).

 

UT definitely played some zone today. UT did well to show Mahomes different looks. The typical defense was rush three and spy with Malik Jefferson. Jefferson was out on at least one of the TT scoring drives. There was a discernable drop off when McCulloch was the spy.

 

Texas DBs need to work on catching the ball. As the saying goes, I guess that’s why they’re defensive backs. UT dropped at least three interceptions.

 

Coaching adjustment from halftime - - - TT was running a lot of pick plays/rub routes in the first half. UT decided to switch receivers in those situations in the second half.

 

UT did a good job confusing Mahomes. They didn’t give up any deep balls and only gave up the short stuff. TT beat themselves enough for it to make a difference.

 

Texas deserved to win this game. The fumble by Foreman (that led to a TT TD) was a fluke. The fake punt had nothing to do with the offense and the defense. Coaching could have been better on that though. Don’t forget about the J. Heard drop early in the game. 

 

An important win for the Horns. The first road win this year.

 

The biggest problem offensively was turnovers and drops. UT missed Chris Warren too whenever D.Foreman was tired. Porter made some big plays but also had a crucial fumble. Obviously, whenever D. Foreman is out, the offense suffers significantly. 

 

It was disappointing that UT couldn’t at least get a FG late in the game when they were deep in TT territory to extend the lead to two possessions.  

 

The next step for UT is to work on closing games and/or putting their foot on the throat of their opponents. 

 

 

I’d like to see more of Devin Duvernay and Jacorey Warrick on KO/punt returns.  

 

The blocking on WR screens was better today, especially early. 

 

Texas missed Anthony Wheeler today. We’ll be keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers

*****

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