October 20, 2021

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5 key takeaways from Texas Tech dominant win over FIU: Offense shows promising signs

Here are five key takeaways from Texas Tech’s 54-21 win against FIU in Week 3:

Getting the ball back

Forcing turnovers is helpful for any defense, but it’s seemed to be a catalyst for this Texas Tech defense early into 2021. After forcing four turnovers against Houston in Week 1, the Texas Tech defense didn’t force any in a close game against Stephen F. Austin. After this game started with an eerily competitive feel, a 72-yard pick-six by defensive back Marquis Waters seemed to change the entire dynamic of the game. The Red Raiders went on to outscore the Panthers 28-7 for the remainder of the first half. More importantly, Texas Tech has already matched the number of interceptions they had the entire 2020 season.

Army of receivers

Erik Ezukanma had been the workhorse for this offense through the first three games, but as he missed a number of first-half snaps for an unknown reason, other receivers stepped up in a big way. Eight different receivers caught a pass in the first half alone for the Red Raiders. The most notable standout was Kaylon Geiger, who had four catches for 92 yards. Tight end Travis Koontz also had two touchdowns in the first 30 minutes of action. By the end of the game, Texas Tech had 11 different receivers with a reception.

Dialing up the pressure

A noticeable change in the defensive game plan came against FIU, as Keith Patterson dialed up the pressure. Texas Tech has been notorious for dropping eight into coverage the last two years, but he was not shy about blitzing in this game. The Red Raiders’ defense didn’t sack the quarterback much, but they contained the talented FIU run game to just 1.9 yards per carry.

Shough gaining comfort

Tyler Shough was coming off a forgettable night against Stephen F. Austin. He ended that game just 12-of-22 from the field, with 172 yards and two interceptions. It was a historically quiet night by Texas Tech standards. Coming into the game against the Panthers, his final opportunity to tune-up before Big 12 play, Shough did not disappoint. Shough ended the game 26-of-35 from the field, with 399 yards and four touchdowns. He connected on a number of deep balls that fell right into the hands of his receiver. Shough evidently elevated his confidence in this game, a necessity with Texas next up on the schedule.

Ground Raid

The Texas Tech running back room was one of the deepest position groups on paper heading into the 2021 season. The most notable member was the leading rusher from the previous two seasons — SaRodorick Thompson. The group was only bolstered with shifty backs in Tahj Brooks, Myles Price, and Chadarius Townsend. Three games into the season, the offseason hype has come to life on the field. The validity of the run game only increased in this game. Brooks had another strong showing, running the ball nine times for 47 yards. The Red Raiders had three other backs attempt at least two rushes, including Thompson who made his first appearance of the season. Another important element is the usage of Shough’s legs. Although he hasn’t been used in many designated runs, Texas Tech ran a handful of run-pass options in this game which could definitely be utilized more in the future.

Find more Texas Tech coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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