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Texas Tech's Joey McGuire Backing Off From Fourth Down Gambles?

After Texas Tech only went for it on fourth down once in their win over Iowa State, perhaps head coach Joey McGuire is becoming less risky.

Texas Tech keeps its offense on the field for fourth down more than any other team in the FBS. The Red Raiders have gone for it 45 times this season, and it's already become a staple of Joey McGuire's identity in his first season as a college head coach.  Lately, though, Tech has been having more success when they gamble less.

In the Red Raiders' 14-10 win over Iowa State, they only tried one fourth down conversion, which was successful. They actually went for it less than their opponents, as the Cyclones converted on just one of their three fourth down tries. A week prior against Kansas, Tech only tried twice on fourth down. The Red Raiders won that game too. So, is McGuire starting to see the light? 

It certainly looks like it. Texas Tech punted seven times against the Cyclones, a season high for the Red Raiders. Slowly, Tech has backed off its tendency to gamble on fourth down, and it's beginning to pay off. They've been the more conservative team in each of their last two games and have come out on top. Will that trend continue in the final games of the season?

Tech has one more regular season game and then a bowl appearance, both of which will be indicative of the direction the program heads in next year. The Red Raiders' willingness to punt has paid dividends, largely because of the offense's effectiveness in scoring position. The Red Raiders scored touchdowns on both of their red zone appearances Saturday night, giving them the crucial four point lead that put them in the winners' circle.

A big part of that offensive success has been senior quarterback Tyler Shough, who orchestrated that final scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. His performance across his last two starts has to make Tech fans wonder what may have been, if not for a shoulder injury. That's not to say that backups Donovan Smith and Behren Morton didn't deliver in big moments, but the Red Raiders are undefeated when Shough starts, and that can't be ignored.

Now Shough will have a little extra time to impart some veteran wisdom upon this Texas Tech squad before the 2022 season comes to a close. These extra weeks of practice that come with the bowl game couldn't be more critical to the development of this program under a first time head coach. That head coach seems to be finding his footing in the big show, and now, he'll have the chance to finish his inaugural campaign on a high note. 

The Red Raiders end their regular season on Saturday against the Oklahoma Sooners at Jones AT&T Stadium at 6:30 p.m. CT. Join for live game updates just after kickoff.

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