FCS opponents often don’t tell much about the winning FBS team. But the Red Raider’s recent history against FCS opponents has required some extra sweat to find a victory. However, this year proved to be a “normal” experience against Tarleton State. The Red Raiders are no longer winless as Texas Tech’s talent ruled the night as they secured their first victory by a score of 41-3.
Controlled Game From Kickoff
For the overacting part of the fan base, seeing a three-and-out on the opening drive did nothing to relax everyone. However, a pick-six by the defense on their first time on the field quickly squashed that concern. Tim DeRuyter’s defense forced 3 total turnovers in the game. Tarleton State only had a total of 342 yards of total offense in the game. Much of that did not come until late in the game when the game was well in hand. Texas Tech’s talent on defense made it all but impossible for the Texans to do anything on offense. Tarleton State’s first three drives only netted 15 total yards of offense. There were moments during the game in which Tarleton moved the ball in the middle of the field but was never able to get any points to show for it.
Wanted More Out Of Starting Offense
Quarterback Tyler Shough was orchestrating the offense to “only” 17 points in just over one half of football. For as dominant as the Red Raider’s defense was, there is a case to be made that the offense could have done more. Shough’s final numbers were only 10-of-20 passing for 123 yards and only one touchdown. This biggest stat was seeing a zero in the turnover column for Shough. He has made some horrendous turnovers in both losses this season. So while it would have been nice to see more out of the offense, Shough playing a clean game was a step in the right direction. The rushing attack did exactly what it needed to do against a less talented team. The Red Raiders averaged 5.7 yards per rush on 39 rushing attempts controlling the line of scrimmage all game.
Morton and Shough Split Snaps
The highest-rated quarterback recruit in school history made his 2023 debut early in the third quarter. There have been rumblings from the fan base to let quarterback Behren Morton take over for Shough. By the time Morton came in, offensive coordinator Zach Kittley was not going to get exotic with the offense. The play calling was very vanilla as there was no need to do much offensively against the overmatched Texans. That said, Morton did not make any major mistakes. He finished the game going 8-for-13 passing for 72 yards, one touchdown, and one interception (which was more of a lack of the receiver not being on the same page as Morton). Ultimately, Morton’s play did not give the coaching staff any reason to play him over Shough. But it was encouraging to see Morton come in and play with confidence in the offense.
Will Need More Than Just Texas Tech’s Talent In Big 12 Play
Texas Tech’s talent was plenty to secure the first win of the season for the Red Raiders. Would the fan base would have wanted this game to be week one instead of week three? Maybe. It could have served as a sudo0 preseason game before diving into a very challenging non-conference schedule. But that isn’t how the schedule played out. And now the Red Raiders kick off their Big 12 schedule next week with a road trip to Morgantown against a desperate West Virginia team. This game against Tarleton State was nothing more than some mouthwash to get the nasty taste out of Red Raider fans’ mouths. There is a great opportunity for the Red Raiders to build momentum early in Big 12 play with how the schedule sets up. Can head coach Joey McGuire get this team to finally play up to its ceiling in 2023?