Will Smith and the Defense Play Huge as Texas Tech Wins an Ugly Game Against the Texas State Bobcats to Move to 4-0 on the Season
The #25 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders were looking to move to 4-0 on the year as the Bobcats of Texas State came to town. The offense was looking to improve on some of the things they had struggled with in the TCU game the previous week. They were unable to do so as both Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb would get their chances in the game, and both would have their good and bad moments.
The team's first drive would start well but they could not punch it in as it resulted in a 29 yard field goal by Ryan Bustin to put Tech up 3-0 with 10:49 left in the first quarter.
The Tech defense would continue their hot streak as they got a big goal line stand from linebacker Pete Robertson when he picked off the Texas State quarterback at the 5:17 mark in the first to give the Red Raiders the ball at the one yard line. Freshman Baker would squander the defense's gift though as he would throw his fourth interception with 3:16 left in the first to give the ball back to Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione and his offense.
Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt's defense would come up with another huge turnover as Bruce Jones would force a fumble in tech territory to give the ball back to Texas Tech and after one quarter of play the Red Raiders were up 3-0.
Baker Mayfield (Pictured Above) and the offense would get the ball to start the second quarter and get a good drive going. They would go for it on a fourth and short however and would not get it as Baker would try to scramble and would be sacked with 14:35 left in the second. On Texas States first play the defense would come through yet again as Kerry Hyder striped the TSU running back. Hyder would then be striped and the ball would be recovered by linebacker Will Smith. He would take that fumble all the way to the house to put Tech up 10-0 at the 14:28 mark in the second quarter.
The Red Raider defensive unit would force a punt and when the offense came out on the field, Davis Webb was the one leading the Tech offense on to the field due to either a lower back injury to Baker or just head coach Kliff Kingsbury looking for a spark. The team would stall under him as well though. With 11:07 left in the first half they would attempt another fourth down try, but Webb would botch the play to give the ball back to the Bobcats.
The offensive line would take another blow on that drive as Anthony Moralas would leave the game with an injury to his leg. He would not return as Baylan Brown replaced him at left guard.
Wallerstedt's defense would force another punt but on the first play Webb would throw his first pick of the game with 9:23 left in the half to give Texas State the ball at the eleven yard line. The defense would make a key goal line stand as TSU would try to go for it on 4th down as a roll out pass to the right would fall incomplete. The offense under the control of Webb would struggle again though as they would be force to punt.
Webb would finally get going as he drove the offense down and would eventually connect on a thirty plus yard pass under intense pressure from the Bobcat defense to Jakeem Grant to put tech inside the TSU ten yard line. They could not finish the drive again however as Ryan Bustin would be force to kick his 2nd field goal (a 21 yard attempt) of the game to put Kliff Kingsbury and company on top 13-0 with :20 seconds left in the first half.
Texas Tech would finish the first half with no offensive touchdowns despite having almost 300 yards of total offense including 73 on the ground and earning fourteen first downs.
The defense was the real story of the half as they held TSU to just 84 yards of total offense. They managed just nine yards on the ground on fifteen attempts. They also forced four turnovers including two fumbles and two interceptions and limited TSU to just four first downs. Penalties would really hurt Tech's momentum in the first half. They only had 4 for 25 yards but they would come at some very inopportune time. They would plague them in the second half as well as the team finished the game with eight penalties for 65 yards.
The Texas State offense would finally get there offense going on their first drive of the second half as the Bobcat running back Robert Lowe busted out for a 49 yard touchdown run to put the score at 13-7 at the 12:55 mark in the third quarter.
Texas Tech would strike back quick though as Davis Webb (Pictured Above) would hook up with senior Eric Ward on a 5 yard touchdown pass to extend their lead back thirteen as the score was 20-7.
Later in the quarter, Derrick Edwards would break lose for a 51 yard gain thanks to a nasty block by TE Jace Amaro to put Tech into TSU territory. Amaro would have another nice game as he had nine catches for 87 yards. A holding penalty on a touchdown run would stall that drive as kicker Ryan Bustin knocked in a 27 yarder to make it 23-7. That is how the third quarter would end.
Tech would get the ball to kick off the fourth quarter with great field position. They would do so as the Tech special teams sniffed out a fake punt "fumble-rooski" type play. Davis Webb and company would finally take advantage of what the defense gave them as he would connect with Bradley Marquez on a ten yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 30-7 with 12:57 left to play.
At that point Texas State would bring in their back up freshman quarterback Jordan Moore and in a sense concede the game.
Ryan Bustin would add a 36 Yard field goal to to put Texas Tech up 33-7 at 9:37 left in the fourth quarter as he tied a career high for field goals made in a game.
The game was not with out some fourth quarter drama however, or at least for Texas Tech fans. Webb would add to his interception to his season total at 4:41 in the fourth on a very ill advised pass as he threw into a cluster of Red Raiders and Bobcats. The throw would bring Baker Mayfield back into the game as Kliff Kingsbury was clearly unhappy with Webb's decision on the previous possession. The game would end with the Red Raiders moving to 4-0 on the year as the final score would be 33-7.
With the inconsistent play at the quarterback position, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has a lot to think about on their bye week before they get back into Big 12 play. The sub-par play also brings the dreaded question up to the fans. Do we have a quarterback controversy? That may be more true then ever right now as sophomore Michael Brewer is said to have started to practice some. If he were to get healthy and these struggles continue, the possibility of him getting his chance at starting this season are getting better and better.
The answer's to these questions will have to wait though as team will not be back in action until October 5th when they head to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the Jayhawks in their first Big 12 road game of the year.