Texas Tech has played its fair share of tightly contested games this season. In head coach Joey McGuire’s first season, the Red Raiders have found more ways to lose these games than make the necessary winning plays. Against the Jayhawks, Texas Tech grabbed the early lead and held it into the fourth quarter. With 8:06 left in the game, Kansas scored to cut the deficit to a 28-33 game. Was Texas Tech going to let another fourth-quarter lead slip away? Not on this night. Thanks to key plays down the stretch, Texas Tech defeats Kansas by a score of 43-28.
Red Hot Start
Offensive coordinator Zach Kittley could not have dreamed of a better first quarter. The Red Raider offense scampered down the field in just eight plays and only 3:09 minutes. It would be the first of four consecutive scoring drives for Texas Tech. With three touchdowns in their first four drives, the required five touchdowns the Red Raiders were after seemed obtainable by halftime. Quarterback Tyler Shough, who was starting due to Behren Morton suffering an ankle injury against TCU, was operating the offense with confidence and precision. Even quarterback Donovan Smith got in on the touchdown party early. Shough would finish the game going 20-of-33 passing for 246 yards and one touchdown. And then, just like that, Kansas’s potent offense started warming up.
After falling behind 24-7, Kansas quarterback Jason Bean led consecutive Jayhawk touchdown drives cutting the lead to 24-21. Late in the first half, the Jayhawks were driving and after a four-yard gain by Kansas running back Devin Neal, head coach Lance Leipold opted to take a timeout with 21 seconds left. It didn’t seem all that significant until Bean threw an interception on the very next play. The Red Raiders were able to hit on a big completion with just six seconds remaining in the half. Kicker Trey Wolff would nail a 51-yard field goal, pushing the halftime score to 27-21. This was especially significant since Kansas’ kicker Jacob Borcila would finish the game having missed two field goals in the game.
Defenses Owned The Third Quarter
Credit to both defensive coordinators as the game shifted significantly out of halftime. Both offenses appeared unstoppable after the first half. And yet, both teams combined for zero points in the third quarter. But the most significant defensive news for the Red Raiders had nothing to do with the result of their efforts. All-American candidate Tyree Wilson suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out for the rest of the game. Wilson, a projected first-round NFL draft pick, might never play a game for the Red Raiders depending on the severity of the injury. However, even after Wilson left the game, the Texas Tech defense continued its elevated play in the second half.
After the teams volleyed back and forth for a stretch in the fourth quarter, Texas Tech took an eight-point lead with under five minutes remaining in the game. Kansas came back onto the field looking to tie the game up. It has been in these areas of the game where Texas Tech had let games slip out of their hands more often than not. But on the very first play, Bean was sacked and committed his second turnover of the day. Jaylon Hutchings scooped up the ball for the Red Raiders inside the Kansas red zone. Texas Tech only surrendered seven points in the second half to this high-octane Kansas offense. On the ensuing drive by Texas Tech, even though they had scored enough points to cover five touchdowns, running back Tahj Brooks ran into the endzone with 3:33 to officially hit the five downtown mark.
Texas Tech Defeats Kansas And Needs One More Win
These winning moments have escaped the Red Raiders this season, but on Saturday night, Texas Tech seized these opportunities. Texas Tech now needs to win one of its two remaining games to become bowl eligible. It would mark the first time since the 2012 and 2013 seasons that Texas Tech goes bowling in consecutive seasons. Next week, Texas Tech has to travel to Ames to take on a tough Iowa State team that will provide a tremendous challenge to this Red Raider offense.