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Texas Tech's Fourth Quarter Woes Get Worse in Loss to TCU

Texas Tech has the makings of a good football team, but have crumbled in the fourth quarter of too many games this year.

Despite finding themselves down by 17 points during the fourth quarter, the Texas Tech Red Raiders were basically in control for most of their 34-24 loss at No. 7 TCU on Saturday. They went into halftime down by only three, having stifled the Horned Frogs offense, and even had the lead to start the final quarter before things took a turn for the worse. 

TCU scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, drowning out any chance Tech had at an upset win on the road. If that sounds familiar, it's because the fourth quarter hasn't been very friendly to Tech this season. In fact, the Red Raiders are one of the worst fourth quarter teams in football, ranking 125th of 130 in opponent scoring during the final 15 minutes.

On average the Red Raiders give up about eleven points per fourth quarter, which means they have to either go in with a big lead or score two late touchdowns of their own to even have a chance. Unfortunately, Tech's offense is averaging less than a touchdown (6.5 points) of their own fourth quarter scoring, which has left them up the creek without a paddle. 

In 2022, Texas Tech has played its best football in the second and third quarters (and, surprisingly, overtime), but have been atrocious in the first and final periods of the game. The Red Raiders first quarter defense is 99th in the FBS, whereas in the second and third, they rank 48th and 70th, respectively. None are great, but their first and fourth quarter marks are truly troubling. It's also worth noting that Tech's offense ranks 29th in third quarter scoring, and below 70th in all other periods. 

There are teams that are slow starters, and there are teams that are weak finishers. Texas Tech is both right now, and that's not a recipe for success in the Big 12. There are some potential reasons and remedies for this issue, like a better running game or less untimely fourth down failures. But it's important to remember this is Joey McGuire's first year at Tech, and his first year as a college head coach. 

There are kinks to work out, surely, but the future does look promising. Tech's lost four of its last five contests, all coming in conference, so things may taste a bit sour right now. The Red Raiders did take down two ranked teams, though, to start the fall and have a legitimate chance to win their final three games, even with the questions surrounding their current quarterback situation. 

But if they want to finish strong in the season, they'll have to start doing the same in games. Fourth quarter shut outs should be the goal for Tech going forward. That would a huge step forward as they prepare for  a potential bowl game and the 2023 season. 

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