Texas Tech comes back to beat Baylor 24-23 on game-winning field goal

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech fans finally got the Alan Bowman they’d waited nearly two years to see on Saturday.

Bowman entered the game in the third quarter with Texas Tech down 20-6, and led the team to a 24-23 win over Baylor. The win gave Texas Tech a 3-5 overall record and a 2-5 mark in Big 12 play.

Bowman threw a pick-six in the first half, but Matt Wells went back to him in the third and he delivered, leading the Red Raiders on four second half scoring drives. 

The most impressive drive was the final one. With just one timeout left, Bowman led the team from its own 14-yard line to Baylor’s seven, and new kicker Jonathan Garibay nailed the game winning field goal, one of four made field goals for him on the day. 

Matt Wells opted to switch from 2019 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Trey Wolff to Garibay before the game, and the move paid off.

“Story of the weekend,” Wells said of Garibay’s clutch performance. “Just so proud of the young man. Just another guy on our team that answered the bell.”

Several Red Raiders made key plays on the game-winning drive. Notably, SaRodorick Thompson weaved past defenders to get Texas Tech into Baylor territory, and a Ja’Lynn Polk catch put TTU in field goal range.

The finish was sweet, but it was not always smooth for Bowman. He came in for one drive in the first quarter, and after two handoffs Baylor’s Jalen Pitre stepped in front of his pass and returned it for an easy touchdown.

Wells went back to Henry Colombi after Bowman’s interception, but Texas Tech did not move the ball effectively with him under center. Colombi threw for just 76 yards on 15 attempts. By comparison, Bowman finished the night going 14-23 for 181 yards and an interception.

The lethargic first half offense under Colombi negated an overall solid effort by the Red Raider defense. On Baylor’s first drive, Tony Bradford stuffed Baylor’s Trestan Ebner on fourth down. Texas Tech forced two punts after that, and the Bears’ offense did not produce points until the second quarter. 

Zech McPhearson and Colin Schooler were the stars for the Red Raiders on that side of the ball.

With Texas Tech down 20-6 in the third quarter, McPhearson caught an interception, leading to Texas Tech’s first touchdown of the game. Late in the fourth quarter with Baylor up 23-21, McPhearson knocked away a third down pass, forcing a punt that would lead to the game winning drive.

In his last five games, McPhearson has two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a blocked field goal recovery and two touchdowns.

Schooler made his biggest play in the third quarter, dumping Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer inches short of the goal line. After a fourth down penalty, Baylor was forced to settle for a field goal. The four points saved by that play came back to haunt Baylor in a one-point loss.

“It fired me up,” Wells said. “I think it fired the crowd up. It fired our whole team up. That’s a four-point tackle, a huge play in the game.”

The tackle was one of 11 on the day for Schooler. Two of those were for a loss, including a sack.

Before halftime, Texas Tech gave up points on a questionable decision by Matt Wells. Wells opted to squib a kickoff instead of kicking it deep with 1:12 left in the half. Baylor’s drive started on its own 37-yard line, and the Bears finished it by squeezing a field goal through the uprights. It’s easy to wonder whether Baylor would’ve gotten into field goal range with a normal kickoff.

The second half didn’t start any better for the Red Raiders. On a wide receiver reverse, SaRodorick Thompson’s pitch to Myles Price was fumbled and Baylor’s Dillon Doyle fell on the fumble, giving Baylor a short field that it would convert into seven points. 

That’s when the momentum changed in Texas Tech’s favor.

McPhearson’s interception led to Tahj Brooks’ first touchdown of his two on the day. Schooler’s tackle held Baylor to a field goal minutes later, and the Red Raiders would score the game’s final 12 points.

“Tremendous fourth quarter performance,” Wells said. “I think it’s a reflection of the resiliency of these players. Where we have failed, we’ve learned.”

Texas Tech got massive performances from players on all three sides of the ball Saturday. Bowman battled back from his early interception to lead a game-winning drive, McPhearson and Schooler changed the game with huge plays and Garibay came up big with four field goals.

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