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Texas Tech Needs to Manage Clock Better To Win

In Red Raiders' 45-17 loss to Baylor, turnovers and time of possession took Texas Tech out of the game.

If you examine the statistical breakdown of Texas Tech's Saturday loss to Baylor, you'll notice that there were two glaring disparities that went in the Bears' favor; turnovers and time of possession. Now, obviously, you can't lose the turnover battle five to one and expect to win, but this game was largely out of hand before Tech's last few turnovers occurred. Really what sunk the Red Raiders' ship was the fact that they just never had the ball, and that their defense never got a break.

The time of possession gap was staggering as the Bears controlled the rock for over 40 minutes of the game. 40 minutes and 17 seconds to be exact, a program record and also twice as long as Tech held the ball on Saturday. Why was the time of possession so out of balance? Well, the answer's actually pretty simple.

Baylor ran the ball really well. Texas Tech did not. 

Yes, quarterback Behren Morton's first couple interceptions were not ideal, but the Red Raiders were right in the mix during the third quarter, cutting the lead to just one score late in the period. Morton looked like he was starting to find his stride after a rushing score, and Tech looked like it might make a push to even things up. Unfortunately, it was at that same time that the defense ran out of gas and Baylor poured on 21 points in the fourth quarter, burying the Red Raiders beneath an avalanche of power running. 

Behind a 36 carry, 148 yard performance from running back Richard Reese, the Bears bulldozed Tech for 231 yards on 59 total rushes, 23 more attempts than Texas Tech's 36 runs. That kind of rushing attack ate up the clock and kept Tech's defense on the field way longer than it could handle. In the end, the levies finally broke and Baylor was able to run away with it.

Aside from their running troubles, the Red Raiders completed only 12 of their 38 pass attempts, which held the clock up even more. It was a disappointing outing for the offense, but not an unpredictable one. This season, when Tech hasn't run the ball well early, the Red Raiders have put themselves in big holes and exhausted their defense by halftime. That kind of start can't survive against a powerful running team like Baylor, especially when you add five interceptions to the equation.

If there's a silver lining, it's that Tech running back Tahj Brooks looked pretty good when he did get the ball and some decent blocking. He finished with 98 yards on 16 carries and has been a capable runner all season. Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire just needs to prioritize establishing the ground game early, which can be difficult with this front line. But it's something the Red Raiders will eventually have to figure out, no matter how effective their Air Raid offense becomes.

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