With the arrival of the No. 11 Texas Tech, a new challenge confronted the No. 3 Texas Longhorns. David Pierce’s team hadn’t faced anyone the caliber of the Red Raiders in over a month, and the weekend set versus the in-state rival carried with it major Big 12 Conference and postseason implications.
The Texas defense matched the inconsistent output of the Texas offense. If I’m going to hold that the Texas offense wasn’t quite as good as 63 points on the scoreboard suggests, it’s only fair to point out that the Texas defense wasn’t quite as bad as a series record 56 points allowed implies.
LUBBOCK -- With 3:13 left in the game, Texas was down 56-41 after a 75-yard scoring run from Texas Tech’s SaRodorick Thompson. That jaunt seemed like the dagger, yet another Red Raider score resulting from Longhorn lapses in basic football fundamentals.
Texas Tech hasn’t really been much of a problem for Texas since Mike Leach left. The Longhorns went 8-2 against the Red Raiders in the 2010s, despite it being a historically terrible decade for Texas football. The two losses were relatively recent (2015 and 2017) and also both at DKR rather than in Lubbock.
While Texas was doing what it wanted to UTEP (though the Miners bounced back against Abilene Christian and are now 2-1 - look out, y'all) Texas Tech was struggling with the Houston Baptist Huskies, narrowly edging them 35-33. This single data point doesn't suggest that Texas Tech is particularly awesome at football, but opening game struggles and quick fixes are not uncommon in the college football world. If you would like to argue about the potential for a team to grow from Game 1, I have some Texas-Maryland game film to show you, if I hadn't set it all on fire and mailed the ashes to Tom Herman.
Tom Herman has a home record of 14-5 as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. He has only dropped two games at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium since 2018: a one-point loss to West Virginia in 2018, and a seven-point loss to eventual national champion LSU in 2019.
Back in the early 2000s Texas teams all followed a very similar pattern for the season. They’d lose to Oklahoma in October and drop one other game either in the non-conference or toward the end of the year that would invariably be the difference between having a Big 12 title/BCS season or not. The three-game stretch following the Oklahoma game could always be counted on to supply a three-game winning streak as the Longhorns adjusted to whatever deficiencies Bob Stoops had made apparent for them.
Ever since Mike Leach stepped on campus in Lubbock, the Red Raider offensive identity often revolved around a fast-paced offense predicated on the forward pass. Second-year head coach Matt Wells and his offensive coordinator, David Yost, are no different. In their first season, the Red Raiders were 10th nationally and 1st in the Big 12 in plays per game, per TeamRankings.com.