Texas Tech Drops Seventh Straight To Wildcats

Texas Tech Drops

Consistency. When a team is trying to turn things around, getting consistent effort and consistent results are the mark of a program that has made real change. The effort from this Texas Tech team has been evident since the season started. But playing a schedule as tough as theirs, combined with the lack of depth at many positions on this team, was going to show up. The Red Raiders looked out of sorts for different stretches of their game against the Wildcats. The lack of consistent execution was the deciding factor as Texas Tech drops their week five game to Kansas State 37-28.

Second Straight Slow Start

Head coach Joey McGuire has got to wonder what is going on at the start of the games. Last week against Texas, the Red Raider defense was popped in the mouth as the Longhorns scored on four of their first five possessions. Luckily, the offense was able to keep Texas Tech in that game. This week both the offense and defense looked asleep at the wheel on both sides of the ball. It was 13-0 after the first quarter and things appeared bleak. But the tide began to change as the defense was able to keep back-to-back possessions by Kansas State that started in Red Raider territory. The defense forced two field goals, otherwise, this game would have been over by the end of the first quarter.

As the defense continued to rise up to the challenge in the second quarter, the offense finally got things rolling. The Red Raiders cut the lead to 13-7 with 1:24 left in the first half. Before that drive, they had only 48 yards of total offense. But thanks to a nine-play, 86-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Smith to Nehemiah Martinez. Smith would finish the game 34-for-48 passing for 359 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.

Clawed By Rushing Attack

Coming into this one, Texas Tech knew that particular attention needed to be paid to this Kansas State rushing attack. The final total clearly shows that did not happen, as the Wildcats ran for 347 yards. Both quarterback Adrian Martinez and running back Deuce Vaughn had terrific days on the ground. Martinez would finish with 171 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns. Vaughn finished with 170 yards on 23 carries. However, it wasn’t an issue of the Wildcats grinding down this Texas Tech defense. Most of the rushing attempts by the wildcats went for minimal gains. It was the big play that was the death of the Red Raider defense on Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.

Kansas State had three rushes that went over 50 yards. Removing those three plays, Kansas State rushed for just 152 yards on 33 attempts. If that was the final rushing total for the game, Martinez would have been forced to beat Texas Tech with his arms. He was only 12-for-19 passing for 116 yards, and the Texas Tech pass rush was applying good pressure on him on most of those dropbacks.

Texas Tech Drops First Of Consecutive Road Games

For much as the big play burned the defense, Texas Tech found itself tied and having forced Kansas State to punt, with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter. And just like the rest of their third-quarter possessions, the Red Raiders marched down the field. It appeared that they truly had overcome their terrible start to the game. But just after the fourth quarter started, kicker Trey Wolff missed a 42-yard field goal. Three plays later, Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman watched as Martinez scampered for his second big run of the day. Martinez’s 69-yard touchdown run seemingly deflated any possible comeback attempt as Texas Tech would turn the ball over on downs and fumble it to Kansas state on its ensuing possession.

With this defeat, Texas Tech drops out of their briefly held share of the Big 12 top spot. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech will travel to Stillwater next week to take on Oklahoma State. The all-time record between these two teams is 23-23-2, however, Oklahoma State has won 11 of the last 13.

Main Image courtesy AP Photo/Charlie Riedel