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Red Raiders Offense Short-Circuits in Loss to Bears

Texas Tech is used to high play volume and owning time of possession, but neither of those things happened against Baylor.

Texas Tech likes to play at pace on offense. That’s why, entering Saturday’s game with Baylor, the Red Raiders were averaging 36.3 points per game.

But there’s more to it than scoring points.

The Red Raiders averaged nearly 500 yards per game going into the contest. Part of that is the concept that offensive coordinator Zach Kittley’s offense is based on — play volume. That’s why the Red Raiders averaged 89 plays per game. Even with that play volume, the Red Raiders own a decided time of possession advantage for the season, holding the football 31 minutes, 13 seconds per game.

All of those concepts took a hit in Saturday’s 45-17 loss to Baylor.

The Red Raiders (4-4, 2-3 in Big 12) hadn’t scored fewer than 28 points in a Big 12 game. Saturday’s 17 points wasn’t the Red Raiders’ lowest total of the season. It was three more than the 14 points they scored against NC State on Sept. 17.

Much of that had to do with how Texas Tech’s offense short-circuited against the Bears.

Entering the game, the Red Raiders wanted to run 90 to 100 plays against the Bears. That never came close to fruition. In the first half, the Red Raiders ran just 27 offensive plays. The Red Raiders ended up running 74 plays for the game, but it was Baylor — thanks in part to its running game — that owned play volume and the game clock. The Bears had 89 plays and possessed the football for 40 minutes.

Yep, Texas Tech held the football for just 19 minutes and 43 seconds.

The other problem was Baylor’s defense, which stymied Red Raiders quarterback Behren Morton and the rest of the unit for most of the game.

Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire made good on his assertion that he might play all three quarterbacks this week — Morton, Donovan Smith and Tyler Shough, the last of which is finally healthy. Well, between the three they completed less than one-third of their passes (12 of-38). Worse, the Bears sacked the quarterback six times and the Red Raiders threw five interceptions — Morton threw three, Smith threw one and Shough threw one.

Tech had only one drive that lasted 10 or more plays, a 15-play drive that led to a Texas Tech touchdown in the third quarter. Unfortunately, that came after Morton threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half and Baylor turned that into a touchdown.

When an offense like Texas Tech’s is clicking, the idea of a fast pace and a high volume of plays sounds great. But, on a night like Saturday, when the offense fails and the opposing defense is creating havoc, well, not so much. It just shows that the Red Raiders’ offense still has a ways to go to get where McGuire wants it to be.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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