On Saturday night, the Red Raiders defeated the FIU Panthers in Lubbock by a score of 54-21 to move to 3-0 on the season finishing up non-conference play.
The Red Raiders got off to another slow start after a couple of three-and-outs back-to-back. They really struggled to move the ball at all and gain a first down.
FIU would drive down for a touchdown after a seven-yard run by Running Back D’Vonte Price to give them the early 7-0 lead.
Tech’s defensive turnover machine would continue after Safety Marquis Waters intercepted FIU Quarterback Max Bortenschlager for a 71-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
FIU would run 21 plays in the first quarter compared to Tech’s 7, so it was not the ideal start that Matt Wells wanted to get off to.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Panthers were threatening once again, but the Tech defense stood up and forced a 32-yard field goal by Kicker Chase Gabriel but was wide left.
Tech would take advantage of the missed field goal and a deep ball from Quarterback Tyler Shough to Wide Receiver Kaylon Geiger for 52-yards for his biggest reception of the season. Geiger finished the game as the leading receiver with six receptions for 121 yards.
This would set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Shough to Tight End Travis Koontz to give the Red Raiders the lead 14-7 early in the second.
The Panthers would answer back with a touchdown of their own after a 69-yard pass from Bortenschlager to Wideout E.J. Wilson Jr. to tie the game at 14 apiece.
It would not take the Red Raiders long to strike again after a 15-yard pass from Shough to Geiger and then a 59-yard pass to WR Dalton Rigdon which set up RB SaRoderick Thompson for a one-yard touchdown run to go up 21-14. This was Thompson’s first TD of the year, he has missed the past two games due to injury.
Tech’s defense would force the punt and allow the offense to go to work once again, in which they would drive down and Shough would throw his second TD pass of the game after a 28-yard reception to WR Trey Cleveland to go up 28-14 late in the second.
After another three-and-out by the Panthers, Tech would get the ball back with 2:57 left in the half, and after a couple runs by Running Back Tahj Brooks and receptions by Wide Reciever Erik Ezukanma, Koontz would get his second touchdown reception of the game on a one-yard pass from Shough to take a commanding lead 35-14 going into the half.
Koontz finished the game with 6 receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He has already surpassed his touchdown total after only attaining one last season.
Tech would open the half with the run and drive down the field on a great-looking drive but would not be able to punch it in and had to settle for a 21-yard Jonathan Garibay field goal to go up 38-14.
FIU would put together a nice drive of their own and Bortenschlager would throw a two-yard touchdown pass to WR Nate Jefferson to close the lead 21-38.
The Red Raiders would answer right back after a 25-yard touchdown pass from Shough to Freshman Tight End Mason Tharp who would get his first career touchdown to go up 44-21. Tharp finished the game as Tech’s second-leading receiver with three receptions for 61 yards and a TD.
Tech would get on the board again after a Garibay 28-yard field goal to give Tech the huge lead 47-21 early at the start of the fourth quarter.
Even Henry Colombi would get in on the fun after he would come in to replace Shough with his own touchdown after a 19-yard run to extend the lead to 54-21.
Shough had a career night after finishing with 399 yards passing and 4 TD’s all of which are career highs while throwing a 74% completion percentage.
Even the famous rapper himself Waka Flaka was enjoying the high-scoring Tech offense because it certainly was a party in Jones AT&T Stadium last night.
The Red Raiders are now 3-0 on the season after finishing up non-conference play. They will travel to Austin next weekend to face the Longhorns for their first conference game of the season.
The game is set to kick off at 11:00 a.m. and will be televised on ABC.
If the Red Raiders expect to come out with a victory, they will need to come out to a fast start and play smart football. The Tech defense will need to contain Texas RB Bijan Robinson to be successful.
This will be a great test for the Red Raiders to prove how good this offense can be with Shough at Quarterback and Sonny Cumbie up in the press box as the play-caller. It will also go to prove how good this Tech defense is and if Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson can keep the Longhorns in check!