It’s 4:48pm on Tuesday as I start writing this, and I’m still very, very sad. What happened on Saturday was a microcosm (vocab brag) of this entire Texas Tech seas… Check that, of my entire life as a Texas Tech fan. It was right there… We had it… We outplayed the #7 ranked team in the country in a game that could have been the defining moment game of Kliff’s best season in Lubbock. Leading at the half, this offense looked as good as they had all season, the defense was doing their best to stick with Kyler Murrey and that explosive Lincoln Riley offense. After 2 early interceptions by Vaughnte Dorsey (have a day young man!) it looked like they had done enough. Bowman’s offense would take care of the rest in the second half…
Then… Everything changed.
While warming up for the second half, Bowman collapsed in pain. After taking a hit earlier in the game, he apparently aggravated his previous lung injury and was hospitalized once again with a partially collapsed lung. More on that later.
So the second half belonged to Jett. Despite being proved wrong on my pre-season prediction that Jett Duffey was the best QB on the roster, I still have confidence in him. He came in and did all you could have asked him to do. He took care of the ball, didn’t make any head-scratching decisions, and gave his team a chance. However, the offense was clearly not the same once the QB change was made. Bowman was abusing OU’s small CB’s with quick strikes to the big fellas on the outside (Wesley & Vasher), he was dumping it off to De’Leon Ward on screens and check downs at a very successful rate, and despite the complete lack of a running game, the offense looked unstoppable, at least against that defense. With Duffey, the quick striking, which requires quick decision making, was no more. With Duffey at QB, the entire identity of the offense changed, that doesn’t necessary have to be a bad thing, but it’s obviously not ideal to have to completely shift the game plan half way into the game. In fact, that is precisely what Kliff has been forced to do in 3 of this teams 4 losses. With Duffey, ideally you’d like to be a run-first offense, which is not a spot that Texas Tech is in the position to be. For whatever reason, this offensive line has lost its ability to run block. They do a fine job in pass protection, but simply haven’t been able to move the LOS since the Oklahoma State win.
Defensively, I have a hard time being too upset about that performance. Yes, Sermon ran all over the place. Yes, Kyler quick twitched his way to first downs time and time again. But that’s just whats going to happen against OU… The fact that Tech was able to force two quick turnover’s, where Kyler was clearly rattled. Then force a huge 3 and out to start the 2nd half was, in my opinion, really impressive. As high on this defense as I have been all season, this is still the Big12. Honestly, making enough defensive plays, without their best player in Dakota Allen, was all you could ask for.
Something that has to be talked about, officiating was quite simply atrocious. I’ve already gotten into it with a few OU fans on twitter about this. Somehow, they have the belief that they were screwed over by the refs… They apparently think it’s a travesty that their CB’s aren’t allowed to grab, push, and shove WR’s for an entire game. They can’t believe that their offensive linemen aren’t allowed to punch Tony Jones in the face, because “Jones started it!!” They have chosen to ignore the fact that said offensive lineman should have been ejected for that punch… But hey, those are just rules. Why would I expect them to be followed!? I guess they conveniently forgot the “face mask” call against Tech’s center, the replay shows CLEARLY that there was no face mask, instead OU’s defensive linemen was palming Jack Anderson’s face like a basketball… Now realize they aren’t the brightest of folks up there in Norman, but surely they know that’s not allowed… No? They don’t? Yikes!
Look, the officials, as bad as they were did not cost Tech this game. But the whining and crying from spoiled OU fans is just pathetic. They refuse to see, or are too stupid to realize that Big12 refs have NO reason to be biased towards anyone except the Sooners, as they’re the only sure thing for the playoffs if they win out. When I see comments like, “well we’re in Lubbock, so we’ll have to beat the refs too” I literally laugh out loud. Big12 refs are not good, everyone knows this. But for that fan base to act as if they haven’t benefited from the crooked stripes for the past 20 years is a joke.
I firmly believe that Tech would have gone on to win that game had Alan Bowman been able to finish. But he didn’t… So what now? Well, sitting at 5-4 overall (3-3 in the Big12), Tech now needs to win out to ensure Kliff Kingsbury returns as Head Coach in 2019. With Bowman likely out for next week against UT (and possibly the rest of the season), that will be tough to accomplish. As petty as it may seem, the difference between 8-4 and 7-5 is massive. I think this team can do it. Will they? We will see…
Stay tuned for my preview of Tech Vs Texas coming very soon. Should be a fun one…