Texas Tech may be 5-5, but the Red Raiders are undefeated this season when senior quarterback Tyler Shough gets the start. Shough made his second start of the year against Kansas on Saturday and looked like the field general who had won the job coming into the fall. Had he not suffered a shoulder injury in Tech’s first game of 2022, Shough’s only other start this season, the Raiders’ record might look a little different than it does currently.
The Red Raiders started hot behind Shough’s veteran leadership, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. That’s their highest scoring first quarter all season, an area which has plagued Tech. Head coach Joey McGuire has acknowledged their sluggish starts and now, it looks like Shough may be the remedy for those problems. It’s been a quarterback carousel all season, but Shough should be the starter until the final curtain call.
The senior completed 20 of his 33 pass attempts against the Jayhawks for 246 yards and a touchdown, adding 76 rush yards and a score with his legs as well. Shough wasn’t the only Red Raider motoring the Tech offense forward, though.
Texas Tech’s run game was firing on all cylinders on Saturday, as the Raiders combined for 264 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. If ball carriers like SaRodorick Thompson, Cam’Ron Valdez, and Tahj Brooks hadn’t taken the majority of Kansas’ defensive focus, Shough wouldn’t have had nearly the performance that he did.
Kansas did some damage of their own via the rushing attack too, though, as Jayhawks running back Devon Neal got dangerously close to 200 yards on the night (190 rush yds). Tech’s defense may have given up some big plays, but they held fast when it counted, stopping two Kansas drives in the red zone, both of which resulted in missed field goals. If the Jayhawks turn those two scoreless possessions into touchdowns, this would have been a dramatically different ball game.
Really, this is the only way that this Texas Tech formula works. The defense is good enough to make some key stops, but points will be scored. That’s not an issue if the Raider offense puts up over 40 of their own points, though. That hasn’t happened much this year. In fact, this is only the third time Tech has surpassed the 40-point mark, and only the second instance against an FBS program.
With only a couple of weeks left, and then a potential bowl game, Tech should focus on getting out to fast starts in each of their remaining contests. They came into the Kansas game averaging only six points per first quarter, but if they can bump that up to 10+ points, this Red Raider team may have something to show in the season’s home stretch.
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