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Instanalysis – Texas Tech 27, Texas 23

Photo: John Gutierrez, USA TODAY Sports

1st Half

The Longhorns took a 20-10 lead into the locker room at halftime but the score wasn’t indicative of promising play from the offense. After starting with a bang on its first offensive possession, Texas had trouble converting in the red zone on several occasions. Todd Orlando’s defense had their share of issues in the first quarter but settled down in the second quarter, giving up just 46 yards of offense.

*On the first play of the game, LJ Humphrey found Sam Ehlinger for 27 yards. 3 plays later Ehlinger would hit Armanti Foreman for another 27 yards and a touchdown. Looked like the offense was in rhythm and ready to play early on.

*Michael Dickson showed again why he is a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. Dickson’s 5 punts averaged 52 yards and were all placed deep in Tech territory. Dickson is my MVP of the season for Texas.

*Sam Ehlinger started at quarterback and ended the half at quarterback, but Shane Buechele was inserted for the 3rd series of the game. After an opening TD drive and a punt on the next drive, I’m left scratching my head why Ehlinger was replaced for a drive with Buechele?

*The Texas running game went for 1-yard in the first quarter and 32 yards in the second quarter. Even with Connor Williams playing again this week the line struggled again to provide holes and protection. 33 yards rushing in a half of play won’t win you many ballgames. Couple this with the fact that Sam Ehlinger couldn’t get settled in the pocket on many throws and was instead forced to roll right and look for receivers that weren’t open. Offensive line woes continued again this half and didn’t provide the necessary time the offense needed to operate efficiently.

*While it may be a little late in the season, Josh Rowland went 2-2 in FG’s, something he sorely needed to boost his confidence. The downside is that Texas squandered two opportunities that could have easily been converted into touchdowns. #RedZoneWoes

*Big 12 officials take entirely too much time to review the simplest of plays. I’ll leave it at that, but some of the delays are downright excruciating and unnecessary.

*Texas Tech had 189 yards of offense in the first quarter. Credit the Texas defense for a nice job of relinquishing just 46 yards in the second quarter.

*2- 2Q picks: by Kris Boyd and Davante Davis. Boyd read Carter McClane perfectly and returned his pick 44 yards. Davis struggled in coverage in the first quarter but redeemed himself with a timely interception.

*Chris Warren may have moved to Tight End, but he is still a beast. After Davis’ interception, Ehlinger found Warren over the middle for 19 yards to the Texas Tech 1-yard line, punishing defenders in the process. While it is nice to see Warren utilized more in the offense, Texas settled for a Josh Rowland FG on what should have easily been a touchdown. Have to be able to score from a yard out on 4 downs, plain and simple.

2nd Half

The Texas offense struggled to put up points in the second half, with Josh Rowland’s field goal serving as the only score for the Longhorns.  Sam Ehlinger’s two interceptions proved to be costly, with the last sealing the Longhorns’ fate tonight.

*Michael Dickson yet again.  Dickson’s first punt of the second half was booted and downed at the Texas Tech 1-yard line.  He had a long of 67-yards which was kicked into the end zone. Again, M.V.P.

*Toneil Carter fumbled early on in the third quarter.  Sure it happens, but when your running backs aren’t getting consistent carries in real games….

*At the 4:32 mark in the third quarter, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps muffed a punt return which was recovered by Tech at the Texas 32-yard line. Luckily for Hemphill-Mapps and Texas the result was a missed Clayton Hatfield FG. Hands, Reggie, Hands!

*Nic Shimonek replaced McLane at quarterback for the Red Raiders early in the 4th quarter and it paid dividends for Kliff Kingsbury. DeShon Elliott was burned on a 52-yard pass early on from Shimonek, who followed it up with a 13 yard TD to TJ Vasher.  Elliott doesn’t give up many big plays, but this was the first of two tonight. Shimonek’s second TD of the night to Cameron Batson as DeShon Elliott slipped in the end zone (with 1:47 left in the game) leaving the Longhorn offense with the task of scoring a touchdown to come from behind and win.  Texas could only muster up a field goal thus far in the entire second half and a touchdown wasn’t happening.

*Sam Ehlinger’s interception at the 2:06 mark which was returned for 55 yards is problematic because it shows that the true freshman’s decision making is still a work-in-progress. As much as Texas fans want him to be the guy right now, he still has a ways to go.

*Ehlinger’s second interception of the night sealed the victory for the Red Raiders. Texas had a shot to try and make things happen on their last drive, but Tech’s Douglas Coleman picked the true freshman off. Tech took a knee and became bowl eligible.

*The loss hurts for the Longhorns, who are still going bowling, but opens a door for the Red Raiders who became bowl eligible with the win tonight.

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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