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Texas Tech Wins The Texas Bowl

A late-game push kept things interesting into the wee hours of the morning, but Texas Tech wins the Texas Bowl by a score of 42-25.

A matchup between Texas Tech and Ole Miss surely was going to be a shootout right? Both of these teams ranked near the top of the national rankings when it came to plays run per game. Neither team is ever worried about the time of possession, so we were destined for a track meet at NRG Stadium in Houston. Instead, the Red Raider defense turned in one of their best performance of the 2022 season. Some late-game scores by both teams might give off the impression that it was exactly the shootout that was expected, but that was not the feel of the game for the first 57 minutes of play. In the end, Texas Tech wins the Texas Bowl by a final score of 42-25.

Great Ode To The Pirate

The horrific news of former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach suddenly passing away at the age of 61 shook the college football world. Many teams, including these two playing in the Texas Bowl, had decals on their helmet to honor the late head coach. But it was the gesture by Texas Tech that really was a perfect nod to its late head coach. When Leach broke onto the college football landscape nationally, it wasn’t just the Air Raid that gained attention. It was the splits by the offensive linemen that were also eye-popping. The average spacing between each of the offensive linemen (aka the splits) is normally around six inches, more or less.

Leach’s linemen at Tech had anywhere between 2-to-3 feet between each player, spreading defenses out, unlike anything that had been faced before. On Texas Tech’s first play on offense, the linemen lined up in the original Leach Air Raid offensive lineman gaps. The Red Raiders ultimately took a delay of game call on it, to which Ole Miss declined the penalty, allowing the offense to simply run first down again.

Dominating Defensive Effort In First Half

It was no secret that Texas Tech had struggled against the run this season. Coming into this one, Ole Miss had the exact offensive attack to give this Red Raider defense fits all night. But Texas Tech’s defense came out in this one flying all over the field. It started with back-to-back fourth down stops to open the game for Texas Tech’s defense. Stand-out Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins was held to eight yards on eight carries in the first quarter and finished the half with only 17 yards on 12 carries. The Rebels attempted five fourth-down conversions in the first half, and only converted one of them. Most notably, Texas Tech forced three turnovers. The Red Raiders turned those into 13 points. This outstanding effort defensively was the foundation of a 26-7 halftime lead.

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Gritty Second Half Effort By Red Raiders

The Red Raiders still left plenty of points on the field. While they went 6-for-8 in the red zone in terms of scoring any points, they had to settle for more field goal attempts than they are normally accustomed to. Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough did not have the prettiest game a quarterback would dream of. Overall, he was 24-for-39 passing for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. But it was Shough’s legs that shined, especially on critical third and fourth downs throughout the game. He finished the game with a total of 25 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Shough’s total of 64 touches in the game earned him a well-deserved ice bath.

Texas Tech was the most disciplined team in this one, and it made a huge difference. Ole Miss had two players ejected from the game for targeting. The Rebels were flagged eight times for 86 yards. They also turned the ball over five times to Texas Tech’s three turnovers. Fourth down, a down neither of these teams is scared of also proved to be critical in determining the outcome. Texas Tech was five-for-six in converting its fourth downs, while Ole Miss was only two-for-seven. Every time Ole Miss seemingly was going to make a late push, the Red Raiders responded. Even with Ole Miss scoring and cutting it to a 10-point game with 3:10 remaining, the Red Raiders ran the ensuing onside kick attempt back for a touchdown as Texas Tech wins the Texas Bowl.

Texas Tech Wins The Texas Bowl And The Future Is Bright

An eight-win campaign at many college football programs around the country would not be anything to celebrate. In fact, there are more than a handful of programs that have established themselves in a manner that an eight-win season would be an unequivocal failure. However, Texas Tech is not one of those places. Especially with what the last decade of Red Raider football has looked like. This is the first eight-win season since 2013. The Red Raiders finished the season winning their last four consecutive games.

Head coach Joey McGuire came into this game with a brand new contract. It was announced on Wednesday McGuire signed a new six-year, $26.6 million contract. The new deal has him coaching the Red Raider through the 2028 season. He has a recruiting class hovering right around the top 25 nationally. This program could not be trending in a better direction with a new-look Big 12 entering into its first season next year.

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