It’s a bye week in Lubbock, so in stead of previewing the upcoming matchup we’re going to dedicate this whole blog to the West Virginia game, and all of the nonsense it induced for Texas Tech fans. Lets get started by talking about Texas Tech’s 42 to 34 loss to West Virginia.
What a wild game. West Virginia came our swinging with all they had. And they looked every bit like the playoff contender I feared they might be. Tech had no chance to stop them in the first quarter. Will Grier and Marcus Simms were in synch and they simply could not be stopped. It certainly didn’t help that the Red Raiders came out flat and unprepared. Defensively, they were on their heels and at the mercy of Will Grier. They weren’t getting any pressure on Grier, and the WVU offensive line was by far the aggressors. There’s no sugar coating it, that first quarter was bad. Offensively, it wasn’t much better. Alan Bowman was missing throws, receivers were dropping passes, and the offensive line was getting no push up front for the running attack. With a score of 35-10, it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse… Then Alan Bowman got absolutely hammered by two defenders, resulting in a collapsed lung and knocking him out for the rest of the game, and likely the next few weeks at least.
Jett Duffey came in on the final drive of the first half and forced a deep throw into coverage for an interception. All seemed lost. Then things changed in the second half… I don’t know what changed, but the Texas Tech defense didn’t allow another point to the high powered offense. They started to get pressure on Grier, the coverage tightened up, and the run defense was solid.
Obviously, a score of 35-10 at the half means that both the defense AND the offense was really bad in the first half. But Kliff Kingsbury adjusted on the fly and changed his gameplay altogether. Jett found a nice rhythm, and we started to see that juice we have all been hoping to see out of Duffey. The backup lead an incredible comeback, highlighted by an unreal, Lamar jackson-esque 4th down scramble that lead to a TD and cut the lead down to just 8. Unfortunately, after another big stop by the defense we saw the reason Jett had not yet proved worthy of a starting position. Driving down the field to potentially tie the game and send it to overtime, Jett lobbed up a duck for the WVU defense. The DB picked it off and took it to the house, ending the comeback right then and there. All of the great plays made by Jett leading to that moment were forgotten immediately, and we were left with the image of that gawd-awful interception.
Addressing The Fans
It was a gut-wrenching loss, for sure. But the reaction by Texas Tech fans since the loss, and quite frankly during the game, was an embarrassing display of their (our, I guess) lack awareness about what is and is not acceptable for this program in 2018. I have 3 major complaints for my fellow Texas Tech fans…
First: We all know that Kliff is on the hot-seat. But apparently some Tech fans don’t know why… Well, it’s because in years 2013-2017, Texas Tech would have lost that game 58 to 17. But thats not what happened last Saturday. In stead, we saw a team fight back and come one drive away from completing what would have been a historic comeback. That, to me, is a huge positive and shows real progress. But for some reason, many Tech fans believe that loss was the last straw… THAT was the game that made some believe that a change must be made. I mean, did we expect a Big12 Championship the year after going 6-7? Why does a TD loss to a top 10 team cause such outrage? I realize the first half was bad, but football is a 4 quarter game. I have been as critical as anyone when it comes to Coach Kingsbury, but for THIS to be the game that some fans consider unacceptable… Thats ridiculous! Now, if they have a repeat of that first half against a team thats inferior (ISU, KSU, Bay, KU) then we have some real issues. We simply have to let this season play out. I believe there are many signs to point to that indicate that this is a different team than past Kingsbury teams. One bad (although it was really bad) half does not outweigh the positive steps I have seen this year.
Second: Yes, Jett Duffey throw a horrendous interception that ended any chance at completing the comeback. But how quickly we forgot that we have no chance to win that game without him. Honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised at this point. Its been the same bull crap narrative surrounding Jett all season (including fall camp). Theres this notion that he doesn’t understand the offense because in his total career of 3 quarters of playing time, he sometimes misses a read. Guess what Tech fans, most guys don’t really learn how to play QB in major college football until they get a decent amount of experience. The response is obviously, Alan Bowman. Well a couple points there. 1. Bowman is an outlier. The kid has gotten off to a better start than just about any true freshman QB I have ever seen. 2. Even Bowman hasn’t been perfect. He got away with some really bad decision early in the OSU game. But guess what? Thats okay! Because he’s a true freshman and the good FAR outlays the bad right now. But if Duffey had made those throws, Texas Tech twitter, RedRaiderSports.com, and fans at home would all be yelling about how careless he is. I don’t know why its this way, but Bowman gets a benefit of the doubt and Duffey doesn’t. Not from fans and not from radio hosts in Lubbock. Jett will very likely get the start against TCU, and I cannot wait to see what he does. I think he’s going to really show out, and depending on how long Bowman is out, this QB situation could get interesting again.
Last. Lubbock, what the heck happened to you!? You used to be known as the toughest fans in the Bug12, now you empty out The Jones at halftime!? Come on, be better than that! This isn’t Waco, we don’t need to cover half the stadium in a tarp to make it look full. For my entire life Jones AT&T Stadium has been one of the best home fields in the country… Now, a couple touchdowns behind and we bail on the team… Be better Lubbock!
Stay alert for my preview of the TCU matchup early next week. And I will try to carve out some time to talk Texas A&M, Baylor, Astros playoffs, and some Rockets as well.