For the second time this season, Texas Tech fell behind in the first quarter and couldn’t climb out of the hole, especially after its starting quarterback left the game with an injury. This time, the Red Raiders lost at home to No. 12 West Virginia, 42-34, on Saturday.
Here are three takeaways:
-- Freshman quarterback Alan Bowman was knocked out of the game late in the second quarter after taking a shot to the ribs. The extent of Bowman’s injury is unclear, but his exit made way for Jett Duffey to play meaningful minutes for the first time.
Duffey showed the totality of his profile. He made electric plays with his feet and also threw the ball effectively at times, which made him a highly regarded QB prospect out of high school. But Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury has said Duffey struggled in the spring with ball security and, sure enough, he gave up a pair of interceptions.
West Virginia cornerback Keith Washington intercepted a Duffey pass in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown. That stunted Texas Tech’s comeback attempt — from 35-10 behind at halftime to 35-27 midway through the fourth quarter — and probably made the difference in the game.
It will be interesting to see, if Duffey continues as the Red Raiders’ QB, will he learn from his mistakes on the interceptions? Because eliminating those mistakes might be all it takes for him to be a fantastic offensive weapon.
-- Speaking of the QB position, we’ve now seen all three Texas Tech quarterbacks that were battling for the starting job in preseason. A month into the season, we’re right back where we started in terms of wondering who’s going to be running out to lead the offense when the Red Raiders kick off against TCU on Oct. 11 in Fort Worth.
McLane Carter originally won the starting job. Does that mean he still has the chance to be the guy that makes the offense run the most efficiently? Alan Bowman looked really good in wins over Houston and Oklahoma State. If he’s healthy, are those two games enough to make him the starter no matter who else is available? Jett Duffey, as stated above, showed off what he can do. Would the Red Raiders consider using him in spot duty to bring another dimension to the offense even if Carter and Bowman are ready to go?
-- The Texas Tech defense struggled early on against a really good West Virginia offense. As of Sunday, Red Raider opponents Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are ranked second, 11th and eighth respectively in the nation in total offense. The big question is, are they ranked so high because they played the Red Raiders? Or has the Texas Tech’s defense just had one of the toughest slates in college football through five games? We’re going to get a pretty good answer because the Red Raiders have zero opponents with a current top-20 offense left on the schedule.