Two weeks ago, the Red Raiders shocked the No. 3 Sooners and college football when they defeated the potential national championship contender in Norman 41-38. They were only the third team to defeat Oklahoma at home in the Bob Stoops era.
They came back the next week to face lowly, unranked Iowa State. But, the Cyclones easily defeated them by a score of 41-7.
So what happened?
“We don’t know to handle success, obviously,” said Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville.
They had an impressive 572 yards against the Sooner and only 290 against Iowa State. In addition, 12 of the 15 possessions Tech had ended in punts or interceptions.
“I keep telling everybody, you can’t win games and championships with offense every week,” Tuberville said. “Your offense is going to have a bad game. You’ve got to have a defensive football team.”
In the loss to Iowa State, who had not won a conference game, the defense gave up 512 yards, 368 of those yards were rushing and the Cyclones took an early 21-0 lead. Credit has to be given to the Cyclones’ offensive line who held their own in the game. Iowa State quarterback Jarred Barnett, who is known for his mobility, rushed for more than 100 yards. The Red Raiders could not contain him consistently. Mobile quarterbacks such as Barnett and Baylor’s Robert Griffin have consistently been a problem for the Red Raider defense.
An important factor of the game was that the Cyclones had possession of the ball for 40 minutes of the game, giving the Red Raiders little time to score and putting a lot of pressure on the defense, who is ranked 93rd nationally. The offense was waiting impatiently on the sideline for most of the game.
In a span of three weeks, the team went from being unranked with no votes, to ranked 19th by the Associated Press, to receiving no votes again.
“We’re exactly the same team,” he said. “We just played totally opposite of the way we played against Oklahoma.”
Although the game against Iowa State did not turn out how the Red Raiders had hoped, the offense is still ranked 14th nationally in scoring with an average of 29 points per game.
But Seth Doege, who was Tech’s hero when they defeated Oklahoma, finished the game against the Cyclones 16-of-32 for 171 yards and two interceptions. They completed a mere three of 13 third down conversions and punted the ball nine times.
“We’re not fast enough, we’re not quick enough, we’re not big enough on the defensive line to say we can go lineup and just shut anybody down on defense,” Tuberville said. “Or we’re not good enough on offense experience-wise to say we can go out and score 40, 50 points every time we lineup unless we have a lot of confidence.”
The real question is, who is Texas Tech? Was the fluke defeating Oklahoma or losing to Iowa State?
“[Texas Tech] will come into Austin mad,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown. “Iowa State is one of those teams that when they get you like they did us last year, they relish that opportunity.”
It is not clear why Tech’s dramatic breakdown occurred last Saturday or how exactly they potentially ruined Oklahoma’s national championship hopes, but it is clear they are coming to Austin on Saturday determined for the “W.”