Texas Tech had the opportunity to end 2015 by measuring itself against one of the most storied programs in college football, LSU, in the Texas Bowl. The result was a stark reminder that the Red Raiders still have quite a ways to go before they are ready to compete on a national level.
LSU proved to be the more talented and physical team in every facet of the 56-27 Tigers’ victory. As expected, LSU star running back Leonard Fournette had a huge game scoring five touchdowns (4 rushing and 1 receiving) and rushing for a Texas Bowl record 216 yards.
Given that the Texas Tech defense had been allowing an average of 231 yards per game, most people believed that Fournette could realistically reach 300 or more yards on the evening. But a spirited effort from defensive coordinator David Gibbs’ much-maligned unit kept Fournette reasonably corralled for the first three quarters of the game.
But eventually the Tech defense ran out of gas, as it has all season due to its lack of depth, only this time the offense could not bail the Red Raiders out.More from Wreck'Em Red
While Fournette was doing what he had done all season in leading the nation rushing, the LSU pass rush kept Texas Tech’s offense from doing what it had done all season. Coming into the game, Texas Tech’s offense was second in the nation in scoring and quarterback Pat Mahomes was first in the country in total offense per game at almost 400 yards.
But against the Tigers Mahomes was sacked six times and hit or hurried on almost 20 more plays. The fact that the sophomore quarterback was able to throw for 370 yards and 4 touchdowns (3 to senior receiver Jakeem Grant) was just short of a miracle.
Everything Texas Tech accomplished against the stellar LSU defense was due to Mahomes’ ability to elude the overpowering Tiger pass rush and make plays down field while scrambling. LSU shut down the Big 12’s leading rusher, Tech’s DeAndre Washington (37 yards on 10 carries) and put a clamp on every receiver other than Grant.
When Texas Tech had the ball, the game looked like it was two players versus eleven as Mahomes and Grant did everything they could to keep the offense moving. But aside from Grant, the next best performance from a Tech player labeled on the roster as a receiver was Cameron Batson’s 3 catches for 47 yards. Washington did catch 8 balls for 87 yards, most coming on broken plays where Mahomes was able to find him as an outlet just before being sacked.
And while the final numbers were simply disheartening in all areas of the game, Texas Tech received a reality check that might be exactly what this program needs as it heads into year four of Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure.
That revelation is that the roster desperately needs more and significantly better talent at almost every position. Every Texas Tech fan or observer was well aware that the team needed more depth, especially on defense but most thought that the talent of the starting offense was good enough to compete with anyone.
Afterall, the Red Raiders did score 50 points or more in five games this season and came within two points in Austin of hitting that mark for the sixth time. But last night, even Tech’s all-American Le’Raven Clark was made to look second-rate…by a true freshman, LSU defensive end Arden Key.
The nation’s No. 24 recruit in the 2015 signing class made Texas Tech’s senior left tackle and NFL prospect look absolutely awful. The matchup was a microcosm of the entire game.
At almost every position, LSU had a better, stronger and faster athlete than Texas Tech. Forget the fact that Texas Tech was driving to even the score (actually to pull to within one point if Kingsbury did not go for two) late in the third when an unfortunate bounce off a Mahomes incompletion turned into the game-changing interception at the goal line. The truth is that Texas Tech was not equipped to beat an opponent like LSU.
Unless it is one of the three College Football Playoff games, bowl games are relatively meaningless. They usually are not rivalry games (though we came close to having one this year) and nothing more than pride and a big trophy are on the line.
Sure, a bowl win sends the program into the offseason with some warm and fuzzy feelings and a tick of momentum in the recruiting game but Texas Tech has completed 95% of its 2016 class by now (assuming that all current verbal commits stay with the Red Raiders until signing day in February).
So what the Texas Bowl really was for Texas Tech was an opportunity to measure where the program stands against one of the standard-bearers in the game. This morning, Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury wake up knowing that this program, while headed in the right direction by simply qualifying for a bowl after a 4-8 2014 season, has miles to go if it wants to compete with the elite in the game.
That is a stark and painful reality that should drive every person in the program during the off season. Texas Tech must learn from this humbling lesson and use it as motivation to improve in the film room, on the recruiting trail and in the weight room. The latter of course being after all the bruises inflicted by Fournette and Key have finally healed.
LSU and running back Leonard Fournette meet Texas Tech's high-power offense in Tuesday night's Texas Bowl. Photo: Getty Images
One of the nation’s most prolific offenses meets this season’s previous Heisman Trophy favorite when the No. 20 LSU Tigers (8-3) battle the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) in Tuesday night’s Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.
The Tigers, and the rest of the nation, believed running back Leonard Fournette would coast to the Heisman ceremony and easily snatch up the most coveted individual award in college football. But once LSU entered the heart of its SEC schedule it dropped three straight games and the sophomore rusher was held to 230 total yards after gaining more than 150 in each of the previous seven contests.
The slid nearly cost LSU head coach Les Miles his job, before Fournette pounded Texas A&M for 159 yards and a touchdown for a 19-7 win in the regular season finale. Fournette finished the season with 1,741 yards and 18 touchdowns, leading the country’s ninth-best rushing attack.
But Miles and the Tigers are in danger of losing consecutive bowl games for the first time since his tenure began in 2005, largely due to the fact that no one in the country has managed to keep the Red Raiders and quarterback Patrick Mahomes out of the end zone.
The sophomore Mahomes blew away the Big 12 with 4,283 passing yards and 32 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions, and while Texas Tech’s defense couldn’t withstand the competition, the Red Raiders offense ranked second in the country with 46.6 points and 389.7 passing yards per game. Mahomes was just as lethal on the ground, gaining 484 yards and 10 scores off 118 attempts.
Unfortunately for the Red Raiders and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, they too ran into trouble when playing their conference’s elite squads. After a three-point loss to then No. 3 TCU, Texas Tech was endured a crippling 28-point letdown to Baylor and later dropped three straight at Oklahoma, vs. Oklahoma State, and at West Virginia.
Putting Mahomes and Fournette on the field has Las Vegas predicting a major shootout between the two programs, but the presence of the weapons around the two stars almost guarantees it.
The Tigers relied on Fournette and the ground game to do the heavy lifting, but receivers Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural combined for 1,135 yards and nine touchdowns while quarterback Brandon Harris made the most of his limited pass attempts for 1,904 yards and 12 touchdowns for a 127.8 passer rating.
Mahomes would hit leading receiver Jakeem Grant 80 times for 1,143 yards and seven scores, while junior receiver Reginal Davis also collected seven touchdown receptions, which helped senior running back DeAndre Washington to rip off 1,455 yards and 14 touchdowns.
LSU basketball is a toilet this year. The Tigers are 9-10 overall, 1-7 in SEC play, and they sit second to last in the conference, just one spot above the only Tigers worse than LSU: Missouri.
So the season has been more or less a wash, but today against Texas Tech they managed to do something today that will live on in the Not Top Ten archives forever.
Freshman Skylar Mays, desperate to find the open man on the perimeter, accidentally passed the ball straight to a Texas Tech player on the bench, all because the player was standing and held his hands up.
Texas Tech dude on the bench puts his arms up. LSU dude passes him the ball. pic.twitter.com/mvPm4XH3A7
I’ve watched it about 50 times and every time I still laugh.
The Tigers currently trail the Red Raiders 55-38.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. LSU Tigers
Bowl Betting Spread Pick: Texas Tech +7.5 (December 29th 2015)
5* Free Play on Texas Tech – The Red Raiders closed the season strong by beating the Longhorns 48-45. They boast the nation’s second highest scoring offense, averaging 46.6 points per game. They will play LSU in the Liberty Bowl, and the Tigers are favored to win by at least a touchdown. If this was a regular season game, I’d say that LSU should be a favorite. The Red Raiders though might be better equipped for a bowl game. LSU has failed to cover in each of it’s last four bowl games, and it lost three of it’s final four games of the season. Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris was picked off five times while throwing for just three TDs in those games. Kliff Kingsbury will have had over a month to come up with creative offensive schemes, and the Red Raiders have the personnel to execute. I’ll take Texas Tech as a dog in this game, and wouldn’t be surprised if they win outright!Related Picks:
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LSU Tigers vs. Texas Tech Red RaidersCFB: 9:00 PM EST Dec. 29, 2015
#20 ranked LSU (8 - 3) will be squaring off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7 - 5) in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl on December, 29th at NRG Stadium. LSU was one of the better teams in the NCAA last season but a rash of losses in the final month of the season severely tested the patience of their fans. Texas Tech closed out the season by winning two straight and they'll have some sneaky upside against LSU.
Texas Tech is a vertical team thanks to the play of QB Patrick Mahomes (4,282 passing yards, 32 TDs, 79 QBR). The Red Raiders were 2nd in the NCAA in passing yards and 2nd in points scored. Fortunately for Red Raider fans we saw Texas Tech establish their ground game with DeAndre Washington (223 carries, 1,455 yards, 14 TDs) to give the team some flexibility on offense.
LSU is 3-1 ATS in last 4 games overall.
LSU is 1-4 ATS away from home last 5 games.
Texas Tech is 3-0 ATS in last 3 games overall.
Under is 4-0 in LSU last 4 games.
Over is 4-1 in Texas Tech's last 5 games.
LSU is an elite defensive team that likes to run their way to victory while Texas Tech likes to sling the ball and win shoot outs. The offensive struggles for LSU the last 5 weeks of season make it nearly impossible to overlook and even with 2 weeks of practice we can't believe it's fixed. Final Score Prediction, Texas Tech Red Raiders win outright as underdog 30-24.Latest Articles Canucks at Sabres 10/20/17 - NHL Picks & Predictions Jazz at Timberwolves 10/20/17 - NBA Picks & Predictions Capitals at Red Wings 10/20/17 - NHL Picks & Predictions NFL Week 7 - Schedule, Free ATS Picks, Odds, & Totals Colorado State at New Mexico 10/20/17 - CFB Picks & Predictions Western Kentucky at ODU 10/20/17 - College Football Picks & Predi. Air Force at Nevada 10/20/17 - College Football Picks & Predictio. Marshall at Middle Tennessee 10/20/17 - NCAAF Picks & Predictions College Football Week 8 - Schedule, Free ATS Picks, Odds & Totals Parlay Profits - 2 Team Parlay College Football Week 8 Post your comment
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