Texas Tech Can’t Overcome Missed Opportunities in Loss to #12 TCU [VIDEOS, PHOTOS]
During the college football realignment saga that saw four teams leave the Big 12 Conference during a two-year period almost a decade ago, many Texas Tech fans were wishing to be in a different conference, "anything, but the Big 12".
Well, the 2017 season has provided an inadvertent glimpse into what life would have been like for Texas Tech if it would have tagged along with Texas to another conference, maybe the Big Ten Conference. Remember the infamous "Tech problem" mentioned in an e-mail found during an open records request of Ohio State in 2010?
Let's take a look at the 2017 season for Texas Tech:
Seven games with 11 a.m. kickoffs? Check.
Creation/re-introduction of playing a conference game for a traveling trophy? Check.
Playing home games in stadiums about two-thirds full? Check.
All characteristics of Big Ten Conference football games.
Now, granted, a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek, but Texas Tech's game against TCU on Saturday felt like, and was played like, a Big Ten Conference game. There were only two possessions in the first quarter. The offenses were less than efficient, especially in the first half.
Both starting quarterbacks had trouble throwing in the 25-plus mph wind blowing from the north. Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek went 17-33 passing for only 137 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson went 6-17 passing for 85 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Robinson also rushed for 84 yards on 10 carries.
When it was all said and done, #12 TCU beat Texas Tech 27-3. Texas Tech only had the lead once in the game, after converting their opening drive into a field goal, to lead 3-0. In the red zone, Texas Tech ended up going 1 for 4, with their only red zone score being the field goal to put them up 3-0.
One of the bright spots in the Texas Tech loss was the return of running back Justin Stockton. He rushed for 124 yards on 21 carries, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
Texas Tech opened the game with the longest drive in college football this season: 21 plays, 70 yards and 8:52 time of possession. However, the Red Raiders couldn't punch the ball into the end zone and had to settle for a 22 yard field goal from Clayton Hatfield.
TCU responded with a marathon drive of their own, 10 plays, 63 yards and 6:14 time of possession. The Horned Frogs first possession of the game actually crossed over into the second quarter. KaVontae Turpin capped off the TCU opening drive with a 2 yard rushing touchdown. TCU's 7-3 lead with 14:54 left in the second quarter was their first lead of the game, and the Horned Frogs kept the lead for the rest of the game.
Texas Tech had an opportunity to chip into the Horned Frogs lead halfway into the second quarter. But Clayton Hatfield missed a 47 yard field goal attempt with about six minutes before halftime. Hatfield had the wind at his back, and there was no TCU rush, but his attempt ended up falling short.
The Red Raider defense held for the rest of the quarter, and at halftime, TCU lead Texas Tech 10-3.
To start the third quarter, the Red Raider defense continued to play relentlessly against TCU. The defense forced two punts and a fumble on TCU's first three drives of the second half.
The fumble came on a 1st & 10 from the TCU 20, starting a drive after a Texas Tech punt. Justus Parker chased Shawn Robinson deep toward the TCU end zone, the ball came loose and Vaughnte Dorsey recovered the ball at the TCU 6 yard line.
However, the Red Raiders opportunity to tie the game after the turnover was wasted. On 3rd & Goal from the TCU 6 yard line, Justin Stockton rushed the ball the TCU 2 yard line. At this point Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury opted to go for a field goal from the right hash mark. Hatfield's 20 yard attempt was pushed to the left, no good, and it felt like the air deflated out of Jones AT&T Stadium.
With the momentum at their back, the TCU offense started at their own 20 yard line and went 80 yards in 8 plays for a touchdown. Robinson connected with Jalen Reagor on a 12 yard touchdown pass. With the extra point TCU went up 17-3 with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
Texas Tech's next three drives ended with a fumble, interception and turnover on downs as the game slipped away into a loss.
Texas Tech's final chance to make a bowl game comes next Friday, November 24. It's the Red Raiders final game of the regular season and they will be on the road at the Texas Longhorns. Kickoff will be at 7pm and Countdown to Kickoff will be aired form 4pm-6pm on SportsRadio 1340 The Fan.