October 17, 2021

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Run defense proves to be a problem again for Red Raiders

Here are five key takeaways from Texas Tech’s 52-31 loss to TCU in Week 6:

Grounded and pounded, again

The Texas Tech run defense had been streaky early into this season, but it didn’t take long for the Horned Frogs to reveal its true quality. TCU picked up 160 rushing yards on only its first two drives of the game. Max Duggan only had to throw the ball two times on those drives, as his backs ran the ball with ease. By the end of the first half, TCU had already racked up 232 rushing yards and was averaging 7.7 yards per carry. By the end of the game, TCU had totaled 394 yards rushing and had two rushers over 100 yards. That level of efficiency is too easy to allow.

Early deficits

Just 10 seconds into the second quarter, the Red Raiders found themselves down 28-7. The Red Raiders have continually put themselves in poor positions this season. Henry Colombi threw a pass that was high but catchable that bounced off the hands of Myles Price and into the hands of a TCU defender. The pick-six grew the deficit to three scores early, forcing the Texas Tech offense to play with urgency and rely less on the run game. Even with Colombi regaining some confidence throwing the football, the Red Raiders went into halftime down 35-10. No matter how good Texas Tech’s defense plays, trying to overcome a 25 point deficit in 30 minutes doesn’t give them much of a chance any night.

The Trenches

As good as the rushers for TCU looked, a lot of the Horned Frogs’ offense on the ground was made possible by their offensive line. The big Horned Frogs in the trenches were easily overpowering the defensive front from Texas Tech. It didn’t help that the Red Raiders repeatedly only rushed three defenders, but there was simply no pressure put on the TCU run game. Opposing rushers finding themselves in wide open gaps has been a recurring issue for Texas Tech this season, and it’s one that needs to quickly be addressed.

Getting off the field

Not only was Texas Tech’s defense getting trampled on in the run game, but they also just couldn’t get themselves off the field. Through the first half, TCU had converted on seven of its eight third-down attempts. The Horned Frogs also converted on a fourth-down attempt that led to a touchdown drive. With the Red Raiders struggling on defense, they needed to put their offense back on the field but couldn’t find a way to do so. At halftime, TCU had already controlled the ball for 17 minutes.

Glimpses of hope

If you are looking for any reason for optimism after this game, turn to the individual performances of Colombi and SaRodorick Thompson. Colombi threw for 344 yards and touchdowns, completing 23 of his passes in the process. The most notable play of his day was a 55-yard bomb he put right in the hands of Kaylon Geiger. Colombi’s deep ball has looked reliable this season and even in a blowout loss, he threw the ball with confidence against TCU.

Thompson had really his first solid performance since returning from shoulder surgery. He totaled 119 yards and punched the ball in the endzone three times in this game. He also had a big 75-yard reception that was initially caught behind the line of scrimmage. Thompson has looked spotty at times this season, but he seems to be returning to his fully healthy self.

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

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