The Red Raiders avoided an embarrassing upset last Saturday, narrowly defeating Stephen F. Austin, 28-22. The game was highlighted by poor quarterback play and another terrible performance from the offensive line. The Red Raiders moved to 2-0, but there’s obviously work to do before their next game.
It was… certainly something, and there are many concerns heading into the next game.
Here are my offensive position grades:
Tyler Shough had a rough day, to say the least. He threw two interceptions, both of which were terrible decisions. The first was a pick-six that could’ve easily been avoided, and the second was a ball into double coverage. Shough doesn’t need to force throws like that, especially with the receiving talent around him.
He did throw a touchdown, but that play was largely made by Erik Ezukanma, not Shough. After his performance against Houston, it isn’t great to see that Shough’s inconsistency problems have followed him from Oregon to Texas Tech. All we can hope is that he turns it around before conference play starts.
Running backs: A+
While the passing game struggled, Texas Tech’s running game was on point. SaRodrick Thompson sat out again, so Tahj Brooks handled the starting duties once again. He put in another great performance, rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Xavier White got the chance to shine as well, rushing for 70 yards and one touchdown. Having Thompson back would benefit Tech, but the Red Raiders are currently doing just fine without him. Running back is the deepest position on the offense, and probably the only consistent position as well.
Wide Receivers: B+
Like last week, this is largely just a grade for Ezukanma, who was once again targeted the most by Shough. The junior caught six passes for 144 yards, turning a slant pass from Shough into a 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He bailed the Red Raiders out time and time again, being the best player on the offense for the second week in a row.
The reason this grade isn’t higher is because of the rest of the core. Outside of Ezukanma, Texas Tech’s wide receivers have combined for just 53 yards in two games. It might not seem like a problem, due to Ezukanma’s performances, but it is a problem.
This is mostly due to Shough targeting Ezukanma on repeat, but the rest of Tech’s wide receivers have to be given a chance. There needs to be a plan B if Ezukanma is either hurt or not performing well. Given the fact there’s a lot of young and talented receivers on the team, the ball needs to be spread around more than it has been.
Offensive Line: F
Another game, another terrible performance from the Texas Tech offensive line. They were no different from the Houston game, but the grade is lower for this game because I saw zero improvements from the unit. Shough made some bad decisions, but part of that was due to him having little time in the pocket. He was running for his life the entire game.
The Big 12 has some really good defensive lines this season. If the offensive line can’t hold up against SFA, can we really expect them to hold up against the defensive lines from OU, Iowa State, West Virginia, and others?