The Texas Tech Red Raiders hosted the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night with more than Texas Pride on the line, but bowl implications as well.
The game began with a blitz pressure by Texas Tech’s undersized defense on third down to force a 46-yard field goal attempt by Nick Rose to take a 3-0 lead.
An offensive pass interference call on the Red Raiders set its offense back 15-yards, which forced a punt on its first possession.
On the ensuing possession for the Longhorns, Texas Tech defensive lineman Jackson Richards was able to get the sack on Texas’ quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, by grabbing his ankles in the Texas end zone. Richards forced the fumble and Brandon Jackson scooped it up for the Red Raiders’ first touchdown on the night. Kicker Ryan Bustin’s point after attempt shot off the upright, and Texas Tech took a 6-3 lead despite Bustin’s shortcoming.
This was the fifth defensive or special teams’ touchdown the Longhorns have allowed in the last five games.
When the Red Raiders got the ball back, offensive lineman Alfredo Morales was penalized for a questionable chop block that pushed the offense back 15-yards. Senior linebacker Steve Edmond sacked Tech’s backup quarterback Patrick Mahomes, forcing the Red Raiders to attempt a field goal where Bustin missed again from 29-yards out.
Tech LB Pete Robertson registered another sack on Swoopes, forcing Rose to kick a 37-yard field goal that he’d miss, following a ten play, 60-yard drive.
On the Red Raiders’ following drive, Mahomes was leveled by Texas’ senior cornerback Quandre Diggs. Junior defensive end Shiro Davis recovered the fumble, and two plays later, Texas running back Malcolm Brown punched it in for the touchdown. This was the Longhorns’ first touchdown in 83 minutes following the shutout at Kansas State.
Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, associate athletic director Blayne Beal took to Twitter to announce that Mahomes would be out for the rest of the game.
Since head coach Kliff Kingsbury took over two years ago, the Red Raiders have played five freshmen quarterbacks, two of which were walk-on true freshmen. With a backup who has seen very few reps with the starters, this changed the Tech game plan dramatically.
Tech’s next available quarterback was untested walk-on freshmen, Vincent Testaverde — the son of legendary NFL veteran Vinny Testaverde.
On his opening drive, he hit wide receiver DeAndre Washington, who converted on 3rd & 13 for the first down. Kenny Williams capped off a 75-yard drive for the touchdown.
Just as quickly as Texas Tech scored, the Longhorns answered on a huge 68-yard pickup by receiver John Harris, followed by running back Jonathan Gray who finished it off for the score. Texas tight end Geoff Swaim was injured on the play while playing fullback but returned shortly after.
On the final play of the half, Swoopes’ pass intended for Jaxon Shipley was broken up by junior defensive back, J.J. Gaines. The Longhorns went for it on 4th & 1, but the play was rushed and Swoopes threw an incomplete pass. Texas Tech took over on downs, but the clock expired and ended the half with the score 17-13 in favor of the Longhorns.
Nick Rose booted a 42-yard field goal to open the half, giving Texas a seven-point lead. Unfortunately on Texas Tech’s following possession on 4th down, Testaverde took a crack at a downfield pass but was just shy of the receiver.
Jaxon Shipley scored his first touchdown of the season on a four-yard pitch and catch by Swoopes in the end zone to open up the 4th quarter. Malcolm Brown scored on Texas’ next possession which extended the lead to 34-13.
Texas was dominating the run game, and had nine second half plays of ten yards or more. And much to the frustration of Red Raiders’ fans, the size of the Texas Tech defense just couldn’t stack up against Texas. The Longhorns racked up 242 total rushing yards, compared to Texas Tech’s 154. Tyrone Swoopes finished the game 13 of 28 for 228-yards and a touchdown. Wide reciever John Harris recorded a career high 5 receptions for 165-yards. The Longhorns had a total of 51 rushes for 242-yards, and three touchdowns.
The big game-changer for the Texas Tech Red Raiders was the loss of Patrick Mahomes, and that created a huge problem which forced them to try and find a rhythm without a tested game plan. Despite the loss, Testaverde threw for 118-yards and a touchdown, plus one rushing touchdown by Kenny Williams.
Another factor that worked against Tech were the penalties, which totaled six for 70-yards — two of which were on offensive pass interference, and a chop block.
Texas’ schedule for the rest of the season includes hosting the No. 20 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Nov. 8, a road contest at Oklahoma State, and a date with No. 7 ranked TCU in Forth Worth. Following today’s 34-13 win over the Red Raiders, the Longhorns (4-5) need one win to become bowl eligible.
The 3-6 Red Raiders’ race to become bowl eligible is difficult as well. They will host the No. 18 ranked Oklahoma Sooners next week, followed by a road game at 2-6 Iowa State, then they will head to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. to face the No. 13 ranked Baylor Bears. For Tech to go bowling, they will need to knock off a top-twenty team, plus win on the road at Iowa State — a tall order for a team that’s already suffered monumental losses this season, both in play, and on its depth chart.
Kingsbury is now 0-2 against in-state rival, Texas. And despite an overhaul year at Texas, head coach Charlie Strong picked up where Mack Brown left off against the Red Raiders.
*Section Photo credit to Chris Covatta, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports.