Red Raiders Smother Jayhawks

The goal was simple for a Red Raider victory this week against Kansas. The defense needed o to bounce back and keep a low-powered Jayhawk attack under 23 points. If not for a few garbage-time touchdowns in the last minute of the game, Texas Tech would have had its first shutout victory against an FBS opponent since 2005. However, this Red Raider victory was never in doubt as they won 41-14.

Dominate Red Raider Offense

Texas Tech’s star punter Austin McNamara had a light day as he never had to trot out with the punt team today. The rushing attack led the way as Texas Tech rushed for 244 yards. Four different Red Raiders ran for at least 20 yards, but it was SaRodorick Thompson who led the way with 13 carries for 83 yards. Quarterback Henry Colombi wasn’t asked to do much in the passing attack because the rushing attack was so dominant. He was only 14-20 for 124 yards with one touchdown and one bad interception that was underthrown into double coverage.

This was the first game Texas Tech fans got to see quarterback Donovan Smith attempt a few passes. Smith still carried the ball six times, but thanks to the game script, went 4-5 passing for 70 yards. Those game reps will prove valuable down the road. This allows Smith to be viewed as a true dual-threat to defenses and not such a specialized role.

A week after offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie seemingly forgot about Erik Ezukanma for three quarters against TCU, Ezukanma not only had two rushing attempts but also lead the passing attack with five receptions for 76 yards. Even with only a combined 25 passing attempts by Texas Tech, eight different players had a catch against the Jayhawks.

Defense Demonstrates Resiliency

This injury-riddled and maligned Texas Tech defense got off the mat in Lawrence. The Red Raiders shut out the Jayhawks for 59 of 60 game minutes. Kansas quarterback Jason Bean had shown flashes this season as both a passer and runner. The Red Raider defense held him to a combined 94 yards of offense and also intercepted him early in the game. Even with the defense allowing Kansas to find the end zone twice at the end of the game, they limited the Jayhawks to only 273 yards of offense (110 of that came in the final two drives).

The front seven of the defense improved its run fits and gap discipline. However, the ability of the front seven to reset the line of scrimmage still was absent. Kansas ended up rushing for a total of 145 yards in the game. The Texas Tech defense did not have a single tackle for a loss or a sack. Bean certainly was pressured a few times by this defense. However, not have a single tackle for a loss is still troubling with the teams who remain on the schedule.

Red Raider Victory Has Team On Bowl Doorstep

Travel back in time to August 20, 2021. If Texas Tech fans were told they would be 5-2, and one win away from a bowl birth, everyone would have signed up for that. Anyone claiming anything different is just lying to themselves. Now comes the biggest challenge for Texas Tech. They come back home against a tough Kansas State team who loves to run the football. The Red Raiders have struggled mightily against teams with strong rushing attacks. This game is going to be a true defining point not only for this season but for Matt Wells‘ future as the Texas Tech head coach. The game not only would secure a bowl season ticket but provided a much-needed confidence boost for a program climbing out of the bottom of the Big 12.

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