Against one of the worst defenses in the Big 12, the Texas offense could only muster 23 points. The numbers do not tell the full story though, as Texas was aided by good field position off of turnovers multiple times. Tom Herman and the offensive staff have a lot to clean up before the bowl game. Let’s take a look at the offensive grades:
Following the first drive of the game, I wondered to myself if everything was beginning to come together for offense with the true freshman Sam Ehlinger behind center. He led Texas to a huge road victory over West Virginia and looked well on his way to carving up Texas Tech. Unfortunately, the first drive of the game ended up being the best one. Ehlinger finished 26 for 47 for 239 yards and one touchdown. His longest pass of the game was his lone touchdown to Armanti Foreman. #11 also added 10 rushes for 35 yards.
Despite all the struggles and inconsistent offensive play, Texas still had an opportunity to run out the clock and escape with a victory. On 3rd and 2 late in the 4th quarter, Ehlinger committed the cardinal sin of a QB and threw across his body while rolling right. The resulting interception set up the Texas Tech go ahead touchdown. His second interception was just as bad, throwing to a receiver standing still bracketed by 2 defenders.
There is still little doubt in my mind that Ehlinger is the best QB on the roster, but the back breaking mistakes have cost Texas several games this year. Whether it’s playing more under control or reigning in the gun-slinger mentality that Ehlinger seems to have, the coaches have to find a way to minimize the mistakes. The loss is not all on the QB, but Texas needs more from the position.
Daniel Young paced the backfield with 13 carries for 55 yards and a TD. Young had several chunk plays in the run game and always seems to be creating something out of nothing. If Texas hands the ball to #32 on 3rd and 2 in the 4th quarter then they are probably 7-5 right now. Young is far and away the best back on the roster and should benefit greatly from the bowl practices.
Toneil Carter added 3 carries for 10 yards, but rode the bench after fumbling on his 3rd carry. What little trust he had from the coaches is basically gone after putting the ball on the ground for the 2nd time in 3 games. Kyle Porter had 4 carries for 9 yards and has basically been relegated to a blocking back.
It was slightly discouraging that Texas was not able to get more production from the running back position against a defense like Tech’s.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
It is ironic that after the rollercoaster season he had, Armanti Foreman led the way for the receivers unit with 5 catches for 78 yards. Foreman showed great effort and grit on his touchdown and contributed several more big plays in the passing game. Foreman and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey are the only receivers who show even a remote idea of how to get open when the quarterback is scrambling. Lorenzo Joe, Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay and John Burt were all culprits of standing in the exact same spot as their quarterback ran for his life and was eventually forced to throw the ball away. I do not know if it is the coaching or players, but it is something that has been going on all year.
Also, is there any other way to get Jerrod Heard the ball aside from Jet Sweeps?
Kendall Moore contributed a big 16-yard reception on the opening drive of the game, but it was otherwise a quiet game from the senior. Chris Warren had a huge 19-yard reception and played adequately as a blocker.
It was not the worst performance by the offensive line, but their play left a lot to be desired. I thought the pass blocking was respectable for most of the game, but respectable for this offensive line is still a failing grade. Jake McMillon and Terrell Cuney still struggle in passing off blockers. Often times it was Sam Ehlinger bailing from the pocket and self pressuring himself.
Texas did not have the success running between the tackles that I thought they would. The interior of the line is just unable to create the running lanes that we saw last year. McMillon had a noticeable whiff on a downfield block on a reverse play, and Derek Kerstetter had his freshman moments trying to seal the edge on several stretch runs to the right side.
Run Block Grade: D
Pass Block Grade: D+
Offensive Play Calling
Everyone is thinking the same things so I am not going to harp on the play calling too much. After having success running counter to the left side of the line against West Virginia, Texas chose to abandon the play yesterday. The QB sweep play had its weekly negative result in a key spot. I was pleasantly surprised with the creativity that was shown on several trick plays, but Texas is unable to run their base offense successfully right now. Trick plays are great, but they are used to supplement tendencies. Right now, trick plays are having to be used because Texas is struggling to find other ways to move the ball. That is not good.
The personnel use at WR and TE continue to be a head scratcher, but it has been that way all year.