What a week it has been in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech’s new football coach Joey McGuire dominated his opening press conference, and a Texas Tech upset on the field wrapped a shiny red bow on the week. Thanks to a 41-38 thrilling victory over the Cyclones, Texas Tech completed its path to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2017.
Hall Bottled Up
Texas Tech has had multiple matchups this season against robust and talented running backs in Big 12 play. To date, they had failed spectacularly. Breece Hall was coming to Lubbock looking to feast on the Red Raiders once again. But understanding that simply containing Hall would give the Red Raiders a good chance to win, they finally rose to the occasion. Hall did find the endzone three times, however, he was held to only 2.8 yards per carry on 18 rushing attempts. In total, Iowa State only rushed for 89 yards in the game.
Coming Out Party On Offense Big Reason For Texas Tech Upset
There was some mystery about who would start this game after Tyler Shough began practicing again after the bye week. But it was Donovan Smith who would get the start in this one and did he shine in his first full game as the starter. Smith demonstrated his elusiveness and how difficult it is to bring him down throughout the game. He also showed good command of the passing attack. He finished 25/32 for 322, three touchdowns, and one interception. Smith also had 14 rushing attempts for 50 yards.
The entire offense had an offensive explosion for the first time in Big 12 play. The offense jumped out to a 31-14 lead at halftime and ended the game with 529 yards of offense. Interm head coach Sonny Cumbie has made it clear he wants to be retained as the offensive coordinator and this type of performance is going to give him a nice feather in his cap.
Win Six Didn’t Come Easy
As well as the first half went for the Red Raiders, the third quarter had a strong déjà vu odor permeating Jones AT&T stadium. Iowa State only scored seven points in the third, but two stalled-out drives by Texas Tech started the bad vibes. Texas Tech took the opening drive of the second half to the ISU 11 and was faced with a fourth and one. As well as the offense played in the first half, going for it was all but a given.
The Cyclone defense rose to the challenge and stopped Smith on a QB power run to the right. After the Red Raiders forced a punt, they took the ensuing drive back down to the ISU 23. A fourth and three appeared to be a good time to attempt a field goal. After all, a 40-yard field goal was in Jonathan Garibay‘s range and had not missed a field goal all season.
Cumbie made it clear he was not going to let off the gas and went for it again. A QB power run to the left was bottled up again and that is when the uneasiness set in. Iowa State would cut the lead all the way down to 31-28 early in the fourth quarter. Thanks to a great response, Texas Tech pushed the lead back up to 38-28 on a 13 yard run by SaRodorick Thompson. But after a Cyclone touchdown with 6:20 remaining in the game, Texas Tech picked a horrible time to suffer their only three and out on offense.
This Texas Tech Upset Required A Record Ending
Iowa State marched down the field in 15 plays to kick a game-tying field goal with only one minute remaining. Texas Tech had no timeouts remaining. For as well as the Red Raiders had played, the Texas Tech upset bid felt like it was slipping away. But Cumbie let Smith and offense go to work from their own 20. Smith was able to get the team to the Cyclone 44 yard line with just four seconds left.
Prior to those final four seconds, Garibay’s previous career long was 48 yards. But Cumbie sent him out to attempt a 62-yard field goal. The normal whipping winds of west Texas settled down to nothing. Garibay blasted his kick through the uprights as it finally settled on the Marsha Sharp freeway.
Huge Start For McGuire Era
Garibay’s 62-yard game-winner shattered the previous Tech field goal record. The previous record was 57 yards set by Blade Adams against Texas A&M in 1977. The kick sent jubilation through the city of Lubbock. Fans come pouring out of the stands to celebrate Texas Tech securing bowl eligibility.
Those valuable practices and game experience as McGuire takes over are only going to help springboard his new coaching tenure. Texas Tech has Oklahoma State and Baylor remaining on the schedule. While another Big 12 win seems unlikely, this team put a stamp on the 2021 season that could reverberate throughout this program for years to come.