Texas Tech came out flatter than a finely pressed tortilla against TCU. This Red Raider loss in front of a homecoming crowd had many of them gone before the 2nd half even started. A 52-31 score left the Red Raider faithful embarrassed by another loss in which Texas Tech didn’t even look like a competent Power Five program.
TCU Rushing Attack Ran Wild
The defense had another opportunity against a top-tier running back in Zach Evans. It was no secret the defense would have to prevent Evans from producing big plays. From the opening drive, it was clear that the defense would not be up to the challenge. Evans had runs of 25 and 35 yards to set up the game’s opening score. He would rush the ball 17 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
But it wasn’t just Evans that stuffed the rushing stat sheet. Evans actually never came back on the field in the 2nd half from what appeared to be a coach’s decision. Kendre Miller had touchdown runs of 45 and 75 yards. He would finish the game with just 12 carries for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. Quarterback Max Duggan, who in two previous games against Texas Tech had run a combined 37 times for 229 yards and four touchdowns, was a non-factor due to the explosion by Miller and Evans. Texas Tech did not force a punt by TCU until there were three minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Stagnant Red Raider Offense
Last week against West Virginia, Henry Colombi filled in for the injured Tyler Shough and showed great poise keeping the offense moving and staying ahead of the chains. Colombi and the offense looked sterile and stale. Texas Tech welcomed back their explosive play-making receiver Erik Ezukanma and did not even throw the ball his way until the fourth quarter. Ezukanma would finish the game with three catches on four targets for only 23 yards. Offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie and this coaching staff failed the offense if their biggest playmaker only touched the ball four times in a game.
It wasn’t until mid-way through the 3rd quarter in which the offense attempted a pass more than 15 yards down the field. The offensive line had difficulties protecting Colombi as well. It did not help that the offense lost starting left tackle T.J. Storment to injury. Colombi was not particularly accurate in this one. He would finish the game 23-41 with 344 yards passing, zero touchdowns, and one interception. The rushing attack had a few bright spots. SaRodorick Thompson led the attack with 18 carries for 120 yards and 3 touchdowns. Xavier White also contributed with 9 rushing attempts and 51 yards and a touchdown. Overall, the offense lacked consistency, rhythm, and was too conservative for too long.
Hot Seat Is Warming Back Up With Red Raider Loss
Texas Tech announced on Friday plans to upgrade the football facilities by the start of the 2023 season. But will Matt Wells actually see the facility open as the head coach? With this Red Raider loss, Texas Tech sits 4-2 at the halfway point of the season. The remaining schedule for the Red Raiders is backloaded. At Kansas, home against Kansas State, at Oklahoma, home against Iowa State, home against Oklahoma State, and at Baylor to close out the season.
In their two losses, the Red Raiders looked more like a program from the Big Sky instead of the Big 12. Even if this team rights the ship against Kansas, they still need one more win to become bowl eligible. Make no mistake about it; a bowl appearance this year would signal progress and should be celebrated. However, they will be the underdog in every game starting with Kansas State. As they embark on the toughest part of the schedule, if the same team shows up that played against the Horned Frogs, Texas Tech will finish the season going 1-5 and miss the bowl season for the fourth consecutive season. That type of finish in a year where growth needs to be evident might be too much for Wells to survive.