Kliff Kingsbury still looking for more after 77-0 blowout of Lamar

Red Raiders running back Ta'Zhawn Henry (26) rushes against the Lamar Cardinals in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium.Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raiders looked sharp, but they're clearly setting the bar higher

The Red Raiders dismantled Lamar on Saturday, never letting the Cardinals into the game. After a rough start against Ole Miss, this Texas Tech team needed a football game that went exactly according to script in its favor.

But the most interesting thing to come out of postgame interviews was that neither Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury nor the Red Raider players were whooping it up over the lopsided 77-0 victory.

In fact, Kingsbury seemed frustrated about the offense’s performance.

“It wasn’t the cleanest game,” Kingsbury said. “Offense, there were way too many penalties. That’s something we talked about, doing the little things and not hurting ourselves. We didn’t get that accomplished. I thought we did some decent things, but that was disappointing offensively.”

With that in mind, here are three takeaways:

-- Freshman quarterback Alan Bowman was close to perfect as he completed 22 of 25 passes for 282 yards and 2 TDs in a half of play. Wide receiver T.J. Vasher sat out the first quarter as part of a lineup shakeup but, once he entered, Bowman seemed to use him as a safety valve – as in, when in doubt, throw it up for T.J.

After a dud of an opening series, the Red Raiders scored on six of seven possessions in the first half. However, the third series was stumped by an offensive pass interference call on a pass to Ta’Zhawn Henry that was designed to be completed behind the line of scrimmage. A review of the play showed Henry was across the line of scrimmage when he caught it, triggering the offensive pass interference penalty.

Is that what irked Kingsbury?

The Red Raiders finished with 14 penalties for 139 yards, but only 4 for 40 in the first half when the first team was in the game. And there’s no doubt that the offensive pass interference hurt the worst of the first-half infractions.

-- Texas Tech rushed for 264 yards on 51 carries, 5.2 yards per attempt. The running game really came alive with Jett Duffey at quarterback in the second half.

In the first half, the Red Raiders had their moments running the ball. But they definitely missed Da’Leon Ward and Tre King. Kingsbury said after the game that Ward could have played, but King couldn’t. Kingsbury said he expects them both back quickly. I’m assuming that means Ward will be full-go for the Houston game next week.

-- The Red Raiders defense was impenetrable.

Sure, Lamar was overmatched, but the Red Raiders showed absolute superiority and definitely took a step forward.

It’s intriguing that a couple of the best performances were by players who didn’t necessarily get the most attention in the run up to the season. Linebacker Riko Jeffers led the Red Raiders with 9 tackles with 2 TFLs and a forced fumble and Tony Jones was second with 7 tackles, a sack, a TFL and a pass breakup.

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