AUSTIN, Texas — When meeting with the media before Saturday’s game against Texas, Texas Tech wide receiver Erik Ezukanma proclaimed the Red Raiders would “smack (Texas) in the mouth.” But once the teams took the field, just the opposite happened.
The Longhorns scored at will against the Red Raider defense, beating Texas Tech 70-35.
Through three games, Texas Tech’s tackling and run defense had been the team’s biggest strengths. Against Bijan Robinson and Texas Saturday, that came to a screeching halt. The Longhorns rushed for 303 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns.
“I just thought they dominated with their offensive line,” Matt Wells said. “They owned the line of scrimmage.”
Robinson got started early, catching a pass on fourth down and going 38 yards into the end zone on the game’s opening drive. That was the first of six touchdowns the Longhorns would score in the first half.
One of those touchdowns came on the defensive side of the ball when UT defensive back Josh Thompson stepped in front of a Tyler Shough pass and returned it 27 yards for a score. That was the last pass Shough would throw. He went to the locker room after that play and was replaced by Henry Colombi.
Wells said after the game that Shough injured his shoulder and will be out multiple weeks.
The score was 28-7 by the time Colombi took over and the Longhorns continued to build on their healthy lead. While Robinson and the Texas ground game gashed the Red Raiders, Quarterback Casey Thompson was efficient under center.
Thompson had time in the pocket and rarely missed when one of his receivers came open. He finished the game with 303 yards on 23 passes and six touchdowns, one of which came on a rush.
When Longhorn receivers and running backs had the ball in their hands, the TTU defense had immense trouble bringing them down. The team’s tackling had been a strength through non-conference play, but it was a disaster Saturday. Red Raiders missed tackles left and right, allowing heaps of long gains.
The Longhorns scored touchdowns on nine of their 11 drives. One stop came on a Dadrion Taylor-Demerson interception. The other came on Texas’s last series of the game.
There aren’t many silver linings in an 35-point loss, but Henry Colombi did show off a pretty deep ball after he replaced Shough.
The former Utah State quarterback threw three touchdowns 40 yards or longer — and none of them came to the star wideout Ezukanma. Colombi hit Myles Price, Loic Fouonji and Kaylon Geiger for his touchdowns. The three plays combined to total 184 yards.
Colombi completed 17 of his 23 passes on the day for 324 yards and the three touchdowns.
“I’m proud of Henry,” Wells said. “That was a tough spot for him to come in and he came in and competed. He threw some good balls. He’s a fearless competitor and I know we can win games with him.”
Tahj Brooks, the leading Red Raider rusher on the season, was not available for Saturday’s game. SaRodorick Thompson — in his second game back from a shoulder injury — had a full workload, but gained just 54 yards on his 16 carries.
Texas Tech started the season 3-0 for the first time since 2017, but that start is now squarely in the rearview mirror. The Red Raiders struggled in every facet of the game Saturday. They must bounce back quickly, with nothing but more Big 12 tests ahead of them.