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Notebook: Texas Tech's Fast Start Propels Red Raiders To Victory Over Kansas

Texas Tech scored on its first four possessions and were able to hold on to beat Kansas in Week 11.

Slow starts have been a thorn in Texas Tech's side all season long. In a handful of games, the Red Raiders have put themselves in a big hole by failing to score points early. That wasn't the case against Kansas, as Tech marched down the field to score on each of its first four drives, three of those scores being touchdowns. 

The Red Raiders took an early 24-7 lead in the second quarter, and the gap was just too much for Kansas to overcome, something Tech has typically been on the wrong end of in 2022. Head coach Joey McGuire and the Raiders got back to .500 and are one game closer to bowl eligibility with two regular season games left on their schedule.

Here's a look at what stood out in Texas Tech's 43-28 win over the Jayhawks.

Tyler Shough Overcomes Adversity

Shough started this season by injuring the exact same shoulder that knocked him out of Tech's 2021 campaign. That would be enough to deter most people, but not the grizzled senior. Shough watched as his backups, Donovan Smith and Behren Morton, battled it out in his absence and listened to outsiders say they should remain ahead of him regardless of his health. Shough never wavered, though, and in his first start since the season opener, he led the Red Raiders to a convincing win.

He finished the game having thrown for 246 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. As impressive as his arm was, Shough made just as many big plays with his legs. The 6-foot-5 field general scrambled for 76 yards and a score on the night, picking up several key first downs along the way. Shough's ability and leadership seem to help this offense run much more smoothly. 

Dialing Back Fourth Down Aggressiveness

Tech leads the country in fourth down tries, and as long as McGuire's at the helm, they're going to be at the top, or at least close to it, in that category. That's ok, as long as it doesn't get out of hand (a la the Baylor game). The Red Raiders only went for it on fourth down twice tonight, converting once. To be fair, they didn't see many fourth downs because the offense was clicking, but Texas Tech opted to punt three times, which is progress for McGuire.

More important than the punts, though, were the field goals. Kicker Trey Wolff went three-for-three on his kicks, securing a crucial nine points for the Red Raiders. Without those, this final result may not have been in Tech's favor. Aggressiveness is good. It can get you extra points, and swing momentum, and the players love it, but it's important to find balance. As the old adage goes, all good things in moderation. 

Winning the Battle On the Clock

Texas Tech has been dwarfed in terms of possession time in its two games prior to this one. That lack of ball control led to a sporadic offense and an exhausted defense, both of which ran out of gas near the end. Against Kansas, though, Tech won that battle and its direct impact on the game was evident. 

The Red Raiders rushed for 246 yards and converted on seven of their 15 third-down tries. All of this kept the clock moving, the Raider defense resting, and the Jayhawks scrambling to keep up. Tech will never be a long, methodical drive type of offense, but it's imperative that they manage the clock to keep their defense fresh and keep their offense flowing. Shough seems to be the answer to that problem, as he's looked the most reliable of the three Tech quarterbacks so far this fall.

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