Categories: Tech News

Bets don’t pay off for Joey McGuire and Texas Tech Red Raiders in loss to No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs

Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire likes to play. He likes to take risks. He has a healthy respect for analysis. Sometimes the analytics tell you to.

Analytics really should have told McGuire to go for fourth down twice in the fourth quarter in his own territory in the Red Raiders’ 34-24 loss to No. 7 TCU on Saturday. If so, the loss is more McGuire than his players, especially his defense.

As the fourth quarter began, the Red Raiders held a 17-13 lead over the undefeated Horned Frogs. Texas Tech had just gone late in the third quarter and TCU was driving into Red Raider territory. Tech still had momentum as the Red Raider defense was playing an excellent game, especially tight end Tyree Wilson, who was in the TCU backfield all game.

That momentum fizzled under the weight of TCU’s offensive surge and was sped up by McGuire’s decision-making on fourth down.

The Horned Frogs continued to use running back Kendre Miller, who finished with 158 rushing yards, as a batter. The technical defense had played well, but it was also wearing down a bit.

Then three big defensive penalties on a single drive hurt the Red Raiders’ efforts, extending TCU’s possession each time, resulting in a two-yard touchdown run by Miller that gave the Horned Frogs their first offensive touchdown of the game and a 20-17 lead.

Still, the game was far from over. Almost the entire fourth quarter remained and even with backup quarterback Tyler Shough running the show, Texas Tech had a chance to win.

That opportunity evaporated under the weight of questionable decision-making and lack of execution

The Red Raiders went on fourth down on the next two possessions. Both times the Red Raiders were in their own territory when they did it. Both times they did not convert. Both times, the Horned Frogs turned those mistakes into touchdowns.

The first came right after TCU’s score. Tech faced 4th-and-2 at the Tech 36. McGuire inserted third-string quarterback Donovan Smith, who failed to convert the first down after rushing for just two yards. He lost an open running back, Tahj Brooks, to the floor.

Three plays later, TCU quarterback Max Duggan hit wide receiver Derius Davis for a 23-yard touchdown pass and a 10-point lead for the Horned Frogs. The play, against Tech’s zone defense, saw Davis split through four Red Raiders defenders to catch the pass on a long slant.

Davis also scored the game’s first touchdown, which came on an 82-yard punt return on Tech’s first possession.

The technical offense failed again on the next drive. The Red Raiders started at their own 26 and drove to their own 45 before Shough failed to connect with wide receiver Myles Price on 4th-and-4.

TCU got the football again and scored again, this time with Duggan connecting with Emari Demercado on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 5:46 remaining.

With TCU up 34-17, the game was basically over.

The fourth quarter nullified the first three quarters, which were filled with Texas Tech playing quality defense while its offense overcame the loss of starting quarterback Behren Morton in the first half.

To win matches, a team must finish. The Red Raiders didn’t. And McGuire’s penchant for gambling cost Texas Tech on Saturday.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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