Talented freshmen will, at times, look like freshmen on a football field. Unfortunately for Texas Tech quarterback Behren Morton, tonight was that night. A night that had so much buzz coming in with momentum building, and a Patrick Mahomes Ring of Honor ceremony, went flatter than a soda left open for three days. Even with a Texas Tech run in the second half, Baylor quickly stomped it out. The Red Raider faithful watched Texas Tech drop their first home game of the 2022 season to Baylor by a score of 45-17.
Too Much Negativity
Morton’s insertion into this Texas Tech offense had shifted the offense into a new gear. But in order to have maintained that tempo, the Red Raiders had to avoid the negative yardage plays. Credit to the Baylor defense for making life difficult all night for the Red Raiders. Including a total of five interceptions, Texas Tech finished the game with 14 negative plays. That number is very similar to the total number of negative plays the Red Raiders had in losses to NC State and Oklahoma State. Morton ended up finishing 11-for-33 for 152 yards, one passing touchdown, and three interceptions.
The Red Raider offense seemingly was stuck in first gear the entire first half. A sold-out Jones At&t crowd had palpable excitement they were ready to use to create a true home-field advantage. Just one Texas Tech run early in the game would have been the spark the crowd needed to fuel the home team. But instead, there was a constant waiting for something to happen followed by disappointment. At one point in the third quarter, Baylor took a 24-7 lead with 11:09 left in the quarter. There was a visible exodus of fans and students that left the stadium coming back from the commercial break. Those who stuck it out on this Halloween weekend were only served up more tricks than treats.
Questionable Quartberback Selections
Coming into this game, offensive coordinator Zach Kittley had done a masterful job handling a quarterback room with three viable options at quarterback. But tonight was the first night where it seemed all of his decisions to change quarterbacks backfired. It appeared after the opening drive of the second half that Morton would be pulled, but he responded nicely with a touchdown drive. Texas Tech eventually got it to a one-score game going into the fourth quarter.
On a critical fourth-and-two, when one last Texas Tech run was needed to tie up the game, quarterback Donovan Smith came into the game. The Red Raiders were able to convert the fourth down. Instead of Morton coming back into the game, Smith remained in the game and threw a costly interception. Morton had seemingly found his mojo again and was playing much better at this point in the game. But Smith’s interceptions let the last bit of air out of the stadium for any true comeback attempt.
Tyler Shough, who hasn’t thrown a game pass since week one, came in with just over four minutes left in the game. Texas Tech was down 31-17 at the time and his first pass was a pick-six. It seemed to be a very odd spot to have Shough come back into the game. It also was a very long throw across the field that seemed doomed the moment it left Shough’s hand.
Texas Tech Run Over By Dominant Baylor Rushing Attack
Red Raider head coach Joey McGuire and his defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter could not find any adjustments against the Bears’ ground game. It was spearheaded by Baylor running back Richard Reese. When the clock struck 0:00, Reese had 36 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. The Baylor offensive line was consistently resetting the line of scrimmage. Six different Baylor players had a rushing attempt for a team total of 231 yards. If not for a fumble in the third quarter, it is very likely Texas Tech never would have gotten the game within two scores.
The final score did not represent how close the game was. After all, it was 24-17 when the fourth quarter started. And yet, it was an appropriate final given how dominant Baylor was in the trenches. They held the ball for 40:17 compared to Texas Tech’s 19:43. Combine that with how many mistakes the Red Raiders made throughout the entire game, and a 28-point defeat shouldn’t surprise anyone. Texas Tech now has to lick its wounds and prepare to travel to Fort Worth to take on undefeated TCU.