Texas Tech headed into Manhattan on Saturday hoping to start turning around a decade-long losing record against the Kansas State Wildcats.
The Red Raider offense would turn it up a notch in the second half but ultimately would fall short after too many special teams gaffes in the first half.
The Wildcats got off to a strong start on their home turf with an aggressive opening drive, eating up around four minutes of play time. But after a 3rd and out, they faked a punt and came up short. The Red Raiders took over, but couldn’t string anything substantial together. During Texas Tech’s punt attempt, K-State blocked it and recovered in the red zone. The blocked punt was the second of the season against the Red Raiders. A few plays later, the Wildcats were able to put points on the board with a bullet to Moore, taking the lead 7-0.
Then, disaster struck. Wildcats defensive end Khalid Malik hit Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman low and well after he threw a pass. K-State drew a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty for the late-hit. Bowman headed to the sidelines, and in came Henry Colombi, the transfer from Utah State.
Colombi fought the Red Raiders into the Wildcats’ red zone before faltering. But kicker Trey Wolff hit an upright with his attempt, leaving the Red Raiders scoreless in the closing minute of the first quarter.
Bowman headed to the locker room, leaving Colombi to wrangle some offense for the Red Raiders. However, the Wildcats’ defense was able to snuff out his pass attempts.
A Texas Tech punt placed K-State at their own 3-yard line following a bad decision by the kick returner, leaving the WIldcats in dire straits. Skylar Thompson, however, found a huge gap on 3rd down and pulled off a first down to keep the drive alive.
Later that drive, Texas Tech’s Riko Jeffers smashed into Thompson and was called for targeting. Jeffers had lowered his head and laid Thompson out. The K-State QB walked off the field favoring his right arm, and the team’s offense was taken over by Will Howard. Jeffers was booted from the game.
The Wildcats’ drive continued on the ground and led to a rushing touchdown, padding their lead, 14-0. It was 97-yard drive that started with one quarterback and ended with another. It was a double blow to Texas Tech’s defense.
Colombi attempted to rally the Red Raiders’ offense in the final four minutes of the half. During a drive, wide receiver Kesean Carter would also be injured after landing awkwardly on his arm. Carter would walk off the field on his own. The drive ended with another missed field goal by Trey Wolff, this one from 35 yards out. What could have been a 14-6 game continued to be 14-0.
The Red Raiders headed to the locker room and would head into the second half with zero points.
The second half would be a brand new story with Texas Tech and Colombi heating up and opening the second half with an 18 play touchdown drive capped by a touchdown throw to KeSean Carter from Colombi. Kansas State would respond with a field goal to make it 17-7.
The Red Raiders would stay hot this time with the legs of Xavier White who would but through the middle of the Kansas State defense for his first rushing touchdown as a Red Raider.
After forcing a punt, Texas Tech would have an opportunity for their first lead of the game.
Colombi would lead the way down the field with four straight completions around some more Xavier White rushing yards with a drive capping touchdown throw to Myles Price. The touchdown would give Texas Tech its first lead of the game 21-17. Kansas State would waste no time regaining it though with a three-play touchdown drive making it 24-17 in the Wildcats favor.
Texas Tech would throw an interception on the following drive but force a punt and get the ball back with just over five minutes remaining in the game. The drive would come down to a pivotal 4th down which would be converted by Colombi using his legs. The conversion wouldn’t stand though after a holding call on the Red Raiders. Now 4th and long near the 50-yard line, the Red Raiders would punt back to the Wildcats down three with under four minutes remaining in the game.
The Texas Tech defense would hold the Wildcats to back to back third downs, but Duece Vaughn would but a huge play on 3rd and five on a 70-yard slant route to put the game out of reach for the Wildcats.
The Texas Tech offense would push the ball down the field but would run out of time losing 31-21 in Manhattan, Kansas.