ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Tech’s season flatlined in a loss to Baylor.
The Red Raiders season-ending losing streak extended to five games, knocking them out of bowl eligibility as they watched Baylor make more plays and claim a 35-24 victory on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
Bears quarterback Charlie Brewer outdueled Texas Tech and led Baylor to a 35-24 victory on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said he had three quarterbacks he felt comfortable playing when this season began. Injuries caused the Red Raiders to use all three and only one, freshman Alan Bowman, moved the offense consistently.
With Jett Duffey and McLane Carter playing most of the snaps from the Oklahoma game on, the Red Raiders lost five straight and went from 5-2 and hopeful to 5-7 and season over.
“We had a quarterback playing at an elite level, really, when you look at Bowman,” Kingsbury said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a true freshman play better and the run that he had. We got to our third guy. I thought Jett (Duffey) did some good things and battled, but we lost the turnover battle in several games. Just weren’t able to recapture kind of how we were rolling.”
As much as Kingsbury focused on offensive struggles, the Red Raiders’ defense couldn’t win the line of scrimmage against Baylor and couldn’t get the ball back from the Bears.
Brewer passed for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading the Bears as they came roaring back from a 17-14 halftime deficit. The Bears scored on their first two drives of the second half to take a 28-17 lead and shifted the game’s momentum to their sideline. Brewer ran one yard for a touchdown to cap a 75-yard drive and gave Baylor a 21-17 lead. Then John Lovett ran three yards to cap a 67-yard march to boost the margin to 11-points.
Texas Tech failed to score in the third quarter. And, though the Red Raiders punched back a little in the fourth, it wasn’t enough to steal the good vibes from the Bears.
Brewer drilled a pass to Denzel Mims for a 16-yard touchdown for Baylor final score, putting the Bears up 35-24 with 12:41 left.
The Red Raiders couldn’t rally behind quarterback McLane Carter, who completed just 21 of 37 passes for 247 yards. Carter threw a pair of touchdown passes, but also gave up two interception in the fourth quarter.
Baylor successfully clamped down on the Red Raiders’ top offensive weapon, holding wide receiver Antoine Wesley to 4 catches for 35 yards.
Kingsbury said he and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt will talk soon about the Texas Tech coach’s future at the school. Kingsbury has one season left on his contract, but he failed to make progress on a 6-7 campaign in 2017.
Kingsbury said he failed in having the second and third quarterbacks ready to play at a high level.
“That’s on the coach to make sure whoever’s playing quarterback can maintain that,” Kingsbury said. “But, that’s hard if you lose a guy that’s playing at that kind of elite level.”
Texas Tech marched 75 yards for a touchdown on its game-opening possession. Carter hit wide receiver Ja’Deion High for a 54-yard touchdown. But that was the Red Raiders longest play of the day by more than 20 yards.
Carter and the offense could never make the game-breaking play they needed against a Baylor defense that has struggled in giving up a ton of big plays this season.
Baylor didn’t have a huge number of big chunk play either. Brewer hit wide receiver Tyquan Thornton for a 41-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. But the Bears thrived on controlling the ball and won time of possession by more than 12 minutes.
Bears running back John Lovett was the workhorse, gaining 125 yards on 28 carries. Trestan Ebner pitched in 64 yards on 10 carries.
Chris Platt led 10 Baylor receivers who caught passes as he grabbed 6 receptions for 114 yards.