On Saturday night in their first home game at Jones AT&T Stadium, the Red Raiders defeated the Lumberjacks 28-22 in an offensive struggle to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Tech offense picked up right where they left off last weekend, on a third-and-eight Quarterback Tyler Shough would hit Wideout Erik Ezukanma who picked up where left off on a deep in route in stride.
From there Ezukanma would do the rest and take it 76 yards to the house for the touchdown to give the Red Raiders the early 7-0 lead early in the first.
After this drive, the Tech offense really struggled to get into the end zone and move the ball.
Tech had 145 yards rushing last week against Houston, but they really struggled to do that in the first half.
And late in the first quarter, the Lumberjacks would get on the board after an 18-yard Pick-6 by Cornerback Willie Roberts off of Shough.
The Tech offense was non-existent in the second quarter and could not move the ball anywhere.
Stephen F. Austin’s offense looked like Tech’s offense did on their first drive, they had no problem moving the ball up and down the field.
Their Quarterback Trae Self had 343 yards and one touchdown, and Tech’s defense could not stop Receiver Xavier Gibson who finished with 13 receptions 158 yards.
The Lumberjacks took the lead early into the second after a 23-yard field goal by Kicker Chris Campos to take the lead 10-7.
They would threaten to strike again later in the second towards the end of the half but on a deep ball to Gibson in the end zone, Tech’s defense stood up and Cornerback Demarcus Fields made a great defensive play to break up the pass.
Campos would make another appearance with a 35-yard field goal with 1:23 to extend their lead 13-7.
Shough would end up getting picked off again by Jeremiah Miller. Shough did not have the best outing after finishing the game with 163 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Tech would go into the half down 7-13 in their first home game.
Coming out of the half the Tech offense was revitalized and on their opening drive of the second half, Running Back Tahj Brooks broke one for a career-long run for a 67-yard touchdown run to give Tech the lead back 14-13.
Later in the 3rd quarter, Tech’s defense would stop them and force a punt and give their offense the chance to extend the lead.
Tech’s offense would go on a nine-play, 97-yard scoring drive and finish it off with a 1-yard Brooks touchdown. He finished the game with 11 carries 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Starting the fourth quarter the Lumberjacks had the ball and driving and Self threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Running Back Ja’Bray Young but would fail on the two-point conversion failing to tie the game bringing the score to 21-19.
On Tech’s next drive they would go down again after a play from Shough to Ezukanma who took a short pass and took it down inside the 10-yard line almost getting into the endzone.
Ezukanma finished the game with 6 receptions 144 yards and a touchdown. Over the last two games, he has accumulated 323 yards receiving ranking him top in the nation.
To finish out the drive Running Back Xavier White would get in for the four-yard touchdown run extending Tech’s lead 28-19 early in the fourth.
The Tech defense would rise up and force a 36-yard field goal after a sack by linebacker Krishon Merriweather, Campos would knock it through to bring it to six 28-22 halfway through the quarter.
Tech’s offense would stifle at the end unable to put it away and would trade punts for a little while until Stephen F. Austin had the ball with the opportunity to score and take the lead late in the 4th.
The defense would come up huge on the last drive of the game after on 2nd-and-goal Lineman Jaylon Hutchings would sack Self forcing them into a long third down.
They would keep them out of the end zone and would come down to the Lumberjacks final chance but after pressure in his face he would deliver a ball throw and it would be turnover on downs securing the win for Tech after taking a knee to run out the last 1:07 in the game.
This was not the same team we saw last week when it comes to intensity and physicality, but they made the big plays when they needed to be made and moved to 2-0 on the season.
The Red Raiders will play host again next weekend to FIU with kickoff set for 6:00 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+. Tech will look to come out a lot better and put that game away early and move to 3-0 before starting conference play against Texas in two weeks.