Tech-TCU helps Big 12’s national perception
America tuned in to see a shootout Thursday night when Texas Tech played TCU on ESPN. Instead, America got a throwback.
Tech upset the Horned Frogs 17-14 in an old-fashioned football game.
When you think Texas Tech and a Big 12 game, visions of 63-49 spring to mind. Tech played one of those games, against Houston, earlier in the season. But Thursday brought a game straight out of 1968.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was on hand to call the game and saluted the Red Raiders via twitter: “What an effort by (head coach) Kliff Kingsbury, (defensive coordinator) David Gibbs and the Texas Tech football program on reinventing themselves tonight offensively and playing lights out on defense. Huge win by the Red Raiders! Congrats.”
This was as non-Big 12 as you could find. Tech had 17 first downs and 353 total yards. TCU had 20 first downs and 411 total yards. Each team punted seven times.
Four years ago in Fort Worth, TCU routed the Red Raiders 82-27. Tech two years ago played games of 68-55, 59-45, 44-38, 66-59, 45-37, 45-44 and 54-35.
“It was four years ago I walked off that field and they’d put 82 on us,” Kingsbury said Thursday night. “So to come back and have that type of performance, I’m really proud of what that side (defense) of the football’s done — has fought and fought, and that was the consistency that we’re looking for from that group with all that veteran leadership.”
This was a game good for Big 12 PR. The national perception that the Big 12 plays arena-style football was laid to rest, for at least one night.
This was an old-fashioned field position game. Each team started five possessions inside its own 20-yard line. TCU started from its 1- and 2-yard lines. Tech started from its 1-, 2and 3-yard lines.
Tech used its third starting quarterback of the season, sophomore Jett Duffie, and he produced both Tech touchdowns on big plays, a 62-yard pass to Ja’Deion High and a 38-yard run.
“There’s only one person to blame — that’s me,” defensive-minded coach Gary Patterson said. “I allowed two big plays. We had a week-and-a-half to get these guys ready and obviously we did not on offense and we gave up two big plays on defense.”
That usually won’t get you beat. But Thursday night, it did.
Coach on the hot seat
The 1989 Kansas State Wildcats went 0-7 in the Big Eight Conference. That was Bill Snyder’s first season in Manhattan.
Now Snyder is in his 27th season as the K-State coach, and his next-worst conference record was back-to-back 2-6 finishes in 2004-05. Which prompted Snyder to think his time was over. He resigned, only to return three years later.
Now it’s 2018, and K-State could be headed for another disastrous Big 12 finish. The Wildcats are 0-3 and already have lost to Baylor.
KSU hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday, and a defeat sends the ‘Cats to 0-4 in the Big 12.
There is no pressure on Snyder concerning his job. He’s the made-est of men in Manhattan. But Snyder wants to eventually hand over the program to his son, Sean.
That will be difficult to do if the Wildcats aren’t thriving. And it will be difficult for Snyder to stay if KSU continues to plummet.
Both West Virginia and Iowa State had September games cancelled by weather. South Dakota State at Iowa State and West Virginia at North Carolina State.
So a likely Cyclone victory was wiped away, and what would be WVU’s toughest to date was removed.
Which makes their game in Ames, Iowa, very interesting on Saturday.
The Mountaineers are 5-0, having beaten Tennessee, Youngstown State, Texas Tech and the Big 12’s two Kansas schools. N.C. State, also 5-0, is ranked 20th.
The Cyclones are 2-3, despite shuffling through quarterbacks, having started three so far. ISU lost 13-3 at Iowa, 37-27 to Oklahoma and 17-14 at TCU. But the Cyclones won 48-42 in Stillwater last week with true freshman QB Brock Purdy playing all but the opening drive.
Iowa State is tested. West Virginia, not so much. The Mountaineers are 6 ½-point favorites on the road, but let’s go with Iowa State in the upset.
Ranking the games
1. West Virginia at Iowa State, 6 p.m., Fox Sports 1: Cyclones’ only victory in the series came in 2013, 52-44 in Ames.
2. Texas Tech at TCU, played Thursday night: Red Raiders won 17-14, setting themselves up for an upper-division finish in the Big 12 and the Horned Frogs perhaps for a lower-division finish.
3. Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 11 a.m., ESPNU: Cowboys might need this game for bowl eligibility — they’re 4-2 but still have OU, Texas and West Virginia on the schedule.
4. Baylor at Texas, 2:30 p.m., ESPN: Can the Longhorns survive the post-Dallas letdown?
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury celebrates a 17-14 victory at TCU on Thursday.