The Texas Tech program had more on-the-field games to celebrate this year than they had in the previous three seasons. But it is hard not to think about what could have been. Of course, there are some games that many would rather forget for the rest of time. Let’s take a look back at how painful the 2021 Texas Tech losses were for Red Raider fans.
6. Oklahoma State
The home finale of the 2021 season was a dud. Oklahoma State had the best defense in the Big 12 this year and, boy howdy, did the Cowboys stifle the Red Raider offense. The final score, 23-0, might give the illusion that the game was close. Especially knowing it was only 16-0 going into the fourth quarter. However, seeing Texas Tech could only muster 108 yards of total offense reveals just how one-sided this loss was. But in terms of a sting suffered by fans, this one hurt the least in 2021.
In its first game without Matt Wells as the head coach, the Red Raiders had to travel to Norman to duel with a tough Sooner’s team. And while this would be considered a “down” year by many Sooner fans, they still won ten games. It was always going to be tough ask to go on the road against one of the best teams in the conference, especially with a coaching change. It certainly showed in a 52-21 defeat, but there were not any realistic expectations for Texas Tech to pull off the upset.
Sonny Cumbie would coach his final regular-season game as the interim head coach against the eventual Big 12 champions. A 27-24 close loss to the Baylor Bears didn’t really sting. This was a loss more about a missed opportunity to steal a win against a top-tier opponent on the road. Again, no shame in losing to the conference champions by three in their stadium. But these are the games in the future Texas Tech has to capitalize on in order to elevate the program.
We now enter the part of the losses that truly burned. Not coincidentally, they all occurred under Wells’ leadership. Texas Tech had its homecoming game against a team that would ultimately miss a bowl game in the 2021 season. It was riding high after a physical victory over West Virginia. The defense must have stayed in Morgantown for an extra week because they allowed TCU to rush for 394 yards. A 52-31 score is one of the 2021 Texas Tech losses in which the wheels on the Wells bandwagon fell off. It also signaled to the fan base that this team still had not made a true turn past mediocrity.
2. Kansas State
The last two Texas Tech losses could both take the top spot for different reasons. A 25-24 debacle felt especially gut-wrenching. The Red Raiders came out at the start of this game playing like a team looking to make a statement. They looked hungry, motivated, and passionate. Texas Tech was going to bury a team that started Big 12 play 0-3. Until they didn’t. The Red Raiders played quite possibly the worst half of football under Matt Wells. There were plenty of stats to quantify just how bad the second-half collapse was. But with all the team had to gain, and the manner in which they let it slip away, most years it would be harder to find a more nausea-inducing loss.
The Worst Of The Texas Tech Losses: Texas
That is unless the biggest rival of the Red Raiders hangs 70 on them. A 3-0 Texas Tech squad went down to Austin looking to prove itself against a team in the Texas Longhorns that appeared poised to challenge for the top of the Big 12. However, the Longhorns would prove just how far away from Big 12 contention they were by season’s end. This is a Longhorn team that would lose at home to Big 12 bottom feeder Kansas in Austin this year. And yet, Texas Tech arrived at Daryl K Royal Stadium and promptly got manhandled from beginning to end. This was the first loss that signaled the end for Wells. When it comes to Texas Tech losses in the 2021 season, it’s hard to get any worse than surrendering 70 points to a 5-7 team.