Numerous themes may emerge from any football game, some more obvious and others.
And what hopefully emerged from Texas Tech's 45-38 victory over Baylor is a
dramatic momentum shift for the Red Raiders. After a humiliating road loss to a
bad Iowa State team, and facing early deficits of 7-0, 14-7 and 21-14, the
Red Raiders finally lit the afterburners and soared to a solid win over a
dangerous and much improved Bear football team. Tech next welcomes to town an
Oklahoma State program that hasn't won in Lubbock since the World War II era.
The Red Raiders appear to be slowly finding themselves. And if they can ambush
the highly ranked Cowboys next week they may find themselves en route to a
pretty good season despite a bleak first four games.
MO' MOORE, PLEASE: The road back to the playing field has been a long one for
senior cornerback LaRon Moore, but once he finally got back on the grid he
showed us what we've been missing. Moore made two key plays late in the game
when the Bears were frantically attempting to complete a comeback. First, he
made an excellent stop on
Robert Griffin who had caught a throwback pass at the
Tech 21 on fourth-and-15. Then, on the first play of Baylor's next drive he
tackled perpetual thorn in the side Kendall Wright for a one yard loss. With
Tech's problems at corner of late, Moore may be exactly the right remedy.
AND MORE BULLITt WHILE WE'RE AT IT: After watching redshirt freshman
Terrance Bullitt light up ball carriers in practice I've been looking forward to him
being given the opportunity to do the same against an opponent. That opportunity
finally arrived against the Bears and Bullitt did not disappoint. In the first
significant playing time of his Tech career Bullitt registered three tackles
including one devastating hit for a loss, and also made a nice play in coverage
on a pass that was tipped by
Bront Bird. With Tech's surprising struggles at
safety we will hopefully see more hot lead in future games.
TURNOVER DRAUGHT: After starting the season by generating 11 turnovers in three
games, the Texas Tech defense has now gone two games (nine quarters, actually)
without recovering a fumble or snaring an interception. And it is surely no
coincidence that the Red Raiders have allowed an average of 45 points per
contest in the last two games after having allowed 23 points per game in the
first three. The sooner the defense emerges from its turnover hibernation the
STEPPING UP: Over the last week or two I have been lamenting the disappearance
of all Tech receivers not named
Lyle Leong. Well I can give that refrain a rest,
for at least a week anyway. Leong, who has been a touchdown machine, had another
good afternoon but did not score a touchdown. Picking up the scoring slack were
Alex Torres who caught seven balls including two for touchdowns, and
Detron Lewis who caught 11 passes and a touchdown. Austin Zouzalik also made a
significant contribution. I'm not sure whether or not Tech's offensive staff
challenged the other receivers to rise to the occasion, but they certainly did.
GETTING A GRIP ON GRIFFIN: One nightmare scenario that was definitely playing in
the minds of many a Red Raider fan prior to this game was Baylor's Olympian-type
quarterback Robert Griffin lancing through a hapless Tech defense like... well... like
Brad Smith or Colt McCoy. It certainly seems as though the Red Raider D has
historically struggled against mobile quarterbacks, and Griffin is mobility
defined. So how did the Red Raiders fair against greasy fast Griffin? They
allowed him to pass for 384 yards, but more important, surrendered only 18
rushing yards to him on 11 carries. I suspect James Willis assigned a
Griffin, and playing the role of 007 may well have been freshman Tre Porter who
started in place of Sam Fehoko and led Tech in tackles with 12. It was
refreshing to see the Tech defense actually account for a running quarterback
for a change.
ON-SIDES OBSERVATION: Without yet having heard or read any commentary on the
disastrous on-sides kick that Baylor's Terrance Ganaway returned for a
touchdown, I'm nonetheless reasonably sure that Tommy Tuberville has come in for
a drubbing over this call. But in actuality, the call was a good one. If
had merely kicked the ball the required ten yards he would have recovered it
easily because the Bears were caught completely off guard. Instead, Corona
kicked it eight and then was joined by several Red Raiders
who mooned over the ball like Cro Magnon Man observing fire for the first time.
You can watch football as much as you like but you will never have seen it all.