Red Raiders halt Cougars’ 16-game home win streak
The defense gave a valiant effort Saturday but ultimately came up short in a 27-24 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, snapping the Cougars’ nation-leading 16-game home win streak.
The Cougars couldn’t muster enough offensive strength to keep the Raiders at bay and struggled all game to gain momentum against the supposedly soft Texas Tech defense.
“We are obviously disappointed in the game and the outcome,” head coach Major Applewhite said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. I told the guys anytime you turn over the ball five times as a football team and only get one turnover, you’re not going to win many games.”
Cougar quarterback Kyle Allen couldn’t go through his progressions all game and seemed off en route to a two-interception game. The defense gave Allen chances all game, but, ultimately, the Red Raiders’ spread-attack offense wore them down.
The Texas Tech offense didn’t just attack the Cougars through the air — they found room on the ground and slashed the defense for 200 yards rushing and a touchdown. Red Raider QB redshirt sophomore Nic Shimonek continued his stellar year by passing for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Matthew Adams again led the Cougars in tackles, but he could not rally the defense against the Red Raider offense. The Cougars kept up with Tech in the first half by limiting Tech to just 210 yards and 13 points. The Cougar offense, however, struggled in the first half, recording only 133 yards.
“There were some very good things that Kyle did,” Applewhite said. “Obviously the turnovers are what’s glaring point right, but there were some great throws that he made — some great decisions. Right now, we have to go back and look at those decisions. Whether it’s in the red zone or in the open field, we have to be critical of ourselves.”
The only positive to come out of the half for the Cougars is the first start of the season for offensive weapon sophomore D’Eriq King. He was all over the field, playing running back and wide receiver with precision. King ended the first half with a touchdown — the only sign of life for the Cougars, who ended the second quarter down by three points.
“That’s the way we will continue to game-plan,” Applewhite said. “I have worked with a lot of great coaches and for a lot of great coaches, and one of them told me, ‘If you’re not giving it to people who can score, then what are you doing?’ We’re going to continue to feature players like D’Eriq.”
The game got away from the Cougars in the second half. The Red Raiders quickly went up by 20 points by the end of the third quarter, totaling 363 total yards on offense with 20 first downs — twice as many as the Cougars.
The fourth quarter didn’t fare much better for the Cougars. The Red Raiders ended the game with 521 yards on offense and 27 points. QB Kyle Allen was benched in the fourth quarter and replaced by junior Kyle Postma after multiple miscues, including two interceptions.
The Cougars’ loss is a wake-up call that they won’t be playing teams like Rice every week.
“I’m a sore loser. I don’t take losing very well,” said senior safety Garrett Davis. “The thing that we have to do is to be critical of ourselves and figure out exactly what we need to do to get better and clean up the things that we did do well.”
The Cougars will be on the road against the Temple Owls in their first conference game of the season on Saturday.