Texas Tech started the season off the right way (technically) with a win in its only tune-up game for the 2020 season. Some questionable coaching decisions and sloppy penalties kept the Red Raiders from pulling away.
Here are five takeaways from Texas Tech’s win over Houston Baptist …
Bending and breaking
The Red Raider defense is predicated on bending but not breaking: Sacrificing yards to save from allowing points. Against the Huskies, the Red Raiders showed some bending, forcing an interception and a turnover on downs on two defensive possessions in the red zone, but also showed some breakage.
Texas Tech’s defense allowed huge plays for scores, including two 65-yard touchdowns and 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Red Raider defense gave up 33 points, including 23 in the second half, in addition to 600 total yards of offense.
Sustained rushing success
After rushing for 92 yards in the first half, Texas Tech’s ground game scuffled a bit in the third quarter. On the final two drives of the game, Tech relied heavily on the running game against a drained Huskie defense.
SaRodorick Thompson took the bulk of the work with 22 carries, 118 yards on the ground and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Freshman Tahj Brooks had eight carries for just 25 yards but did score the first touchdown of his collegiate career. Alabama transfer Chadarius Townsend also took a few snaps at running back.
On an offensive drive starting at their own 5-yard line, the Red Raiders went three and out largely due to false start and a delay of game penalties. These were just two of 13 penalties Texas Tech tallied on the day for a total of 104 yards penalty yards.
Texas Tech started to gain momentum on a drive in the middle of the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead and after picking up a first down, the Red Raiders picked up back-to-back false start penalties turning first and 10 into first and 20.
Week 1 can be a sloppy week for penalties, but Texas Tech would likely have put this game away earlier than it did if the sloppiness was cleaned up or at least reduced.
A large portion of Houston Baptist’s offensive success came when throwing the ball to one of two Sterns. Josh and Jerreth Sterns, no relation, combined for 17 catches, 339 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Josh provided the deep threat, going the distance on a 65-yard touchdown and a 75-yard touchdown. Jerreth racked up 12 catches, 130 yards and a score in the slot finding the holes in Texas Tech’s defense many times.
Bowman’s big moments
The third-year starter may have struggled early, but Alan Bowman came up big when it mattered most. On third and eight just inside Huskie territory with 8:46 to go, Bowman avoided the rush in the pocket and ran for the first down after dodging a pair of HBU defenders.
In the first quarter, Bowman overthrew Dalton Rigdon on a pass over the middle that Houston Baptist picked off. After that, Bowman struggled to hit on his deep throws, but that was the redshirt sophomore’s only struggle. He made smart decisions with the football and didn’t give away any other possessions or take unnecessary risks.
Bowman ended the day with 430 yards through the air and a pair of passing touchdowns, in addition to his four rushes for 21 yards.