Last Saturday was… certainly something. All of us collectively sat back and slowly died inside watching the utter collapse of what’s supposed to be a Power 5 Five team. I’m surprised Red Raider fans didn’t gather their pitchforks and torches in front of Kirby Hocutt’s office, demanding Matt Wells’ head on a silver plate after the game.
Despite the scoreline, the offense scored 35 points and gained 520 total yards. Since I’m just grading the offense, these grades won’t be as bad as you think.
I promise you, there are some positives to take from this game. So put down those flasks, wipe away those tears, and adopt an optimistic mindset. Here we go.
This grade is a combination of both Tyler Shough’s and Henry Colombi’s performances. I’ll give Shough a B and Colombi an A-, resulting in a B+.
The game started with Shough. He scored Tech’s first touchdown of the game on a six-yard rush and completed nine of 11 passes. On the surface, that doesn’t look like a bad game. However, that pick-six he threw was awful. It was a terrible read, a terrible decision, and Shough paid for it.
After he broke his collarbone, Colombi came in to replace him. He did way better than Shough, tossing three touchdowns and 324 passing yards. Some of his throws were very impressive, too, including this 40-yard pass to Myles Price.
Tech’s big-play ability massively increased with Colombi on the field. With him taking the starting reigns in Shough’s 6-8 week absence, look for that to continue.
Oh, and Donovan Smith got a touchdown too. It came in garbage time, but it was still nice to see.
Running Backs: C+
It was a quiet day for Red Raider running backs. Tahj Brooks was ruled out with an injury, meaning Xavier White got the start. He only gets 20 yards on seven carries, while SaRodrick Thompson got 54 yards on 16 carries. Chadarius Townsend saw increased action as well, rushing for 30 yards on two carries.
It’s now clear Brooks is Tech’s best running back, as the rushing attack looked empty without him on the field. The offensive line wasn’t doing them any favors, but Brooks has an explosiveness that no other Tech running back has.
UT’s margin of victory was 35 points, so having Brooks out there may not have made a huge difference anyway. However, the Red Raiders lack something in his absence, resulting in a poor ground game.
Wide Receivers: A
Despite the scoreline, it was a good day for Tech’s receivers. Kaylon Geiger gained 100 yards for the second straight game, and others like Loic Fouonji, Myles Price, and Erik Ezukanma found ways to produce.
The big plays only came when Tech was down by three or four scores, but that’s not the point. Like last week, the Red Raiders are finding ways to get everyone involved. Wide receivers were the only position group that shined throughout the whole game.
On the bright side, it’s something to build on heading into the next game.
Offensive Line: D
I feel like a broken record talking about Tech’s offensive line every week, so I’m going to keep this short. Texas Tech’s offensive line again failed to block and protect. Once again, they keep making too many mental mistakes. This is known by now, but it’s the weakest unit on the team.
I mean, what even was that? Are they even trying? It’s disappointing, to say the least. That’s all I’m going to say.
I don’t grade coaching every week, but this week is different. Why? Because it’s absolutely the main reason Tech lost this game.
The coaching was atrocious, the playcalling was terrible, and there didn’t seem to be a gameplan at all. Three run plays in a row when you’re down by 21 points? That doesn’t make any sense. The Red Raiders don’t have a talent problem, they have a Matt Wells problem.
Simply put, the coaches were not adequately prepared to take on Texas. They did not get their team ready enough to play. This is an 8-9 win roster that will win only 5-6 games with Wells unless he vastly improves.
Sadly, I don’t think it happens. Like years past, Wells will just stick his head in the sand and pretend everything is fine when it isn’t.
Onto West Virginia.