Texas Tech was notoriously thin at quarterback entering this season following the transfers of Michael Brewer (to Virginia Tech) and Baker Mayfield (to Oklahoma), but the Red Raiders became Kate Moss-thin after Davis Webb was lost to an ankle injury during last week’s 82-27 blowout at TCU.
The Red Raiders gave true freshman Patrick Mahomes the first start of his career tonight versus Texas, but he left the game in the second quarter after taking a nasty (but clean) shot from Longhorns cornerback Quandre Diggs. With all their scholarship quarterbacks gone, Kliff Kingsbury turned to a freshman walk-on with a famous name: Vincent Testaverde.
The true freshman from Tampa, Fla., entered with the Red Raiders trailing 10-6 (Mahomes had fumbled after getting hit by Diggs, and the ‘Horns turned it into a 25-yard touchdown drive), and cooly hit 3-of-4 passes for 49 yards – the first four passes of his career. DeAndre Washington, Quinton White and Kenny Williams combined to rush five times for 26 yards, as Texas Tech turned Testaverde’s debut drive into a nine-play, 75-yard scoring march to grab a 13-10 lead.
It’ll be Testaverde’s show for the rest of the night, as Mahomes will not return to action. He hit 13-of-21 passes for 109 yards before his exit.
Texas leads 17-13 just before the half at press time.
(Photo credit: Texas Tech athletics)
Texas Tech had done it. More than a quarter into their visit to No. 10 TCU and already trailing 24-17, the Texas Tech defense had forced its first punt.
Facing a fourth-and-7 from the Texas Tech 38, Gary Patterson pulled out a fake punt, and Red Raider defender Justis Nelson was flagged for interfering with Josh Doctson on a pass by punter Ethan Perry that may or may not have been catchable. One play later, Trevone Boykin found Deante’ Gray for a 24-yard touchdown pass and TCU grabbed a 31-17 lead.
It’s been that kind of day as the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders have combined for 84 snaps, 30 first downs, 655 yards from scrimmage and 57 points as TCU leads 37-20 at the break.
Aside from a defense that has obviously struggled to stop the Horned Frogs’ offense, Davis Webb hasn’t the cause much with one interception and two lost fumbles – on Texas Tech’s last two possessions of the half – leading to 13 TCU points.
Trevone Boykin has missed on nearly half his passes (14-of-27) but made his completions count, going for 199 yards and three touchdowns. The big play combination of Kolby Listenbee and Josh Doctson have combined for six grabs for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and Aaron Green has added six rushes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Webb has posted good numbers, 14-of-26 passing for 286 yards and two scores, but negated much of it with his trio of giveaways. DeAndre Washington has found space in the middle of TCU’s defense, rushing eight times for 64 yards with a long of 48, while Webb’s two touchdown passes have come on plays of 57 (to Kenny Williams) and 56 (to Devin Lauderdale) yards.
After scoring 10 points in the game’s first three minutes and 12 seconds and 17 in the first quarter, the Red Raiders managed only a 38-yard Ryan Bustin field goal in the second quarter.
TCU will receive the ball to open the second half.
Arkansas leads Texas Tech 28-21 at halftime of a game where both offenses have played the part of irresistible force, and each defense has complied by playing the part of eminently movable objects.
The key sequence came at the end of the first half. After converting consecutive 3rd-and-longs through the air and generally treating Texas Tech’s defense like an uninvited guest, Arkansas for some reason called a reverse on 1st-and-10. Hogs running back Alex Collins tossed the ball into thin air, and Texas Tech recovered with 2:02 remaining at their own 27.
Red Raiders signal caller Davis Webb threw incomplete on first and second down, and then tossed an ugly interception to Arkansas’ Martrell Spaight, which he returned to the Texas Tech 12. Jonathan Williams scored one play later, giving the Hogs a 28-21 lead.
Texas Tech simply put, has not played smart football. Far from it. The Red Raiders’ defense has played dumb – three personal foul calls committed – and poorly – multiple third-and-longs allowed, a non-existent rush defense – and, as a result, is in position to lose this game.
Webb has completed 18-of-30 passes for 141 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Webb could – should – have thrown three more picks if only Razorbacks defenders managed to hold on to the ball in bounds. DeAndre Washington has been the bright spot for the Red Raiders’ attack, totaling six rushes for 40 yards and three grabs for 32 yards.
Arkansas has had its way with the Texas Tech front, powering its way for 28 carries for 152 yards and four touchdowns. The running back tandem of Williams and Collins have combined for 20 rushes, 110 yards and all four of those scores. They’ve been a question that Texas Tech can not answer. Quarterback Brandon Allen has added 49 passing yards on only 10 attempts and one rush for 21 yards.
Arkansas gets the ball to open the second half.
UCLA linebacker Myles Jack became a bit of a national sensation last season when the Bruins chose to put him on offense for certain running plays, often with success. Texas Tech may be looking to reverse that idea in 2014. Kenny Williams, the leading rusher for Texas Tech in each of the past two seasons, is reportedly getting some practice time at outside linebacker this spring.
Well, that is interesting.
Williams rushed for a team-high 497 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but the Red Raiders may have enough talent to work with out of the backfield in 2014 with DeAndre Washington showing he is capable of carrying the football last season in split duty with Williams. Texas Tech also has Quinton White on the roster. White saw some limited action last season but appears to have potential to play his way in to the running game at Texas Tech this season. Williams moving to the other side of the football could help accelerate that path.
What makes the decision to try his hand at defense is the fact that Texas Tech has 12 linebackers on their roster, so depth is not appearing to be too much of a concern. The Red Raiders lose a pair of starters this season, but with 12 players on the roster for four linebacker spots (assuming Texas Tech sticks to a 3-4 defense), Texas Tech is not extremely thin at the position, but it could benefit from having another player to count on if needed.
There was a time not so long ago we lauded the Big 12 for their quarterback arsenal. The 2013 season is certainly painting a different picture early on. Thursday night’s Big 12 contest between Texas Tech and TCU was more of a defensive exhibition but did provide some late offensive highlights as Texas Tech moved to 3-0 with a 20-10 victory over the visiting Horned Frogs.
While we generally tune in to see what Texas Tech will do on offense, Thursday night was all about the defense. TCU picked off three passes from Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield and managed to get just three points out of it. Mayfield later had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. Davis Webb came in to continue leading the offense and he soon had an impact when a tipped pass was hauled in by Deandre Washington, who then dashed down the left sideline for a 46-yard touchdown, or so it seemed. Washington dropped the football just before crossing the goal line and an official review marked the football at the 16-yard line thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Texas Tech tacked on to the play. A holding penalty would later push Texas Tech back to the 21-yard line but Webb completed a pass to Bradley Marquez for a touchdown and late 17-10 lead.
On this night, that was enough to hold on for the win, but TCU may have some griping to do with the officials late in the game. A TCU punt saw a kick-catch interference called against the Horned Frogs that looked to be non-existent on a video replay. On the ensuing Texas Tech possession a late fumble recovery by TCU was not awarded even after an official video review despite Texas Tech already having run a play. Texas Tech kept the football and added a field goal to build a ten-point lead.
Penalties were everywhere in this game as well. The two teams combined for 23 penalties which accounted for 205 yards. It was a long night for all.
TCU will return home next weekend to play SMU. The Mustangs are struggling at the start of the year, entering the weekend with a 1-1 record boosted by a 31-30 victory over Montana State. TCU’s defense will continue to be the strength of the Horned Frogs this season, as expected. Nothing from Thursday night’s game suggested otherwise, but without Casey Pachall at quarterback it is clear the Horned Frogs are struggling on offense. That is an area that could take time before TCU can be a regular threat in the Big 12. But Gary Patterson is a good coach. Give him time and he’ll get something going.
Texas Tech will stay home for another in-state showdown next week. The Red Raiders will host Texas State, playing their second season at the FBS level. Texas State is off to a 2-0 start with wins over Southern Mississippi and Prairie View A&M and they will be coming off a bye week before making the trip to Lubbock. This should be a game that sees Mayfield calm down a bit and play closer to what we saw in the first couple of games.