The Texas Tech Red Raiders Fall for the Third Game in a Row at the Hands of the Kansas State Wildcats
The Texas Tech Red Raiders were looking to get their season back on track after losing their previous two games. Kliff Kingsbury's squad was 7-0 and ranked #10 in the nation just three short weeks ago has all been lost their way as the competition has gotten better and the injuries have started to mount up. This would be the case again on Saturday as Tech would get blown out at home by a score of 49-26.
Now the Red Raiders came in sporting some custom uniforms in honor of the "Lone Survivor" tribute they were doing but that was as flashy as the team could get. It was also the final home game of the year and Senior Day for 18 graduating players.
Tech would start the game out hot as quarterback Davis Webb would take the opening drive straight down the field but their red zone woes continued as they were forced to cap off their 14 play 69 yard drive with a Ryan Bustin 23 yard field goal to put the Red Raiders up 3-0.
Kansas State would strike right back as they would exploit the struggling Tech defense. They opening drive would take only 47 seconds as John Hubert rush for 63 yards for the score to give the lead to the Wildcats at 7-0.
Kliff Kingsbury's offense would respond with a 15 play 75 yard drive that would find the end zone on a Davis Webb pass complete to Eric Ward for a two yards touchdown. That would be the final time the Red Raiders would have the lead as Bill Snyder and his Kansas State run game would score 28 unanswered points to put the halftime deficit at 35-10.
At the half the Tech rush defense proved to be the difference once again as the Wildcats would score on their first five drives of the game with all but one of those drives being capped off by a rushing touchdown. Bill Snyder would exploit defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt's depleted defensive line as they rushed for over 200 yards in just two quarters of play.
The Tech offense would seize a little momentum at the start of the second half as they would make a change at the quarterback position. With the Tech offense struggling in the the first half under Davis Webb's command, Kliff Kingsbury turned to freshman Baker Mayfield. He would be sent in to try and bring the team back but those hopes would be short lived as he would turn the ball over via fumble on his first drive to give the ball back to Kansas State. The defense would finally get a stop as they forced a punt. The Tech offense would find some rhythm on this drive all the way to the end zone as Mayfield would rush for a four yard touchdown run but the extra point would be blocked to put the score at 35-16.
Later in the third quarter Ryan Bustin would add another field goal to drop the deficit to 35-19 going into the final quarter of play. The Wildcats would extinguish any hope the home team had left though as they would earn two quick touchdowns thanks to a failed onside kick attempt by head coach Kliff Kingsbury that would push the score 49-19 and seal the win for Kansas State.
For the game, the Tech offense would out gain the Wildcats 459-367 but the story of the game was not only the rushing game but the turnovers and penalties. The Red Raiders hurt themselves quite a bit on Saturday as they drew 10 flags for 80 yards to go along with their three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). One of the few bright spots in the game was senior Eric Ward (Pictured Above) as he would have a nice final game in Jones AT&T Stadium. He racked up 107 yards on 11 reception with a touchdown in the loss.
The Red Raiders would add a late touchdown but would lose by a final score of 49-26 to fall to 7-3 on the year and 4-3 in Big 12 play. This loss also raises many questions going forward as it pertains to the quarterback position and what to do with his injury prone defense. Kliff Kingsbury will really earn his money the next two weeks as the team is trying to avoid yet another late season collapse. The team must now head to the other AT&T Stadium in Dallas as they take on the undefeated Baylor Bears who just knocked off Oklahoma by a score of 41-12 on Thursday night. This game that once seemed to have serious conference title implication has all but lost its interest so to speak with the Tech slide. With the way Baylor runs the ball and the Red Raider defense has stopped the run, many are picking the Bears to run away with this one.
Tech is now fighting to find anything positive going into this game as they team has been effectively blown out early in both of their previous two losses. One thing is for sure, the praise or blame for this season is going to fall on the shoulders of the first year head coach Kliff Kingsbury.