AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Tech’s defense had no answer for Texas Friday, as the Red Raiders closed their season with a 49-24 loss.
The defeat put Matt Wells’ record at 4-8 in his inaugural season in Lubbock. The Red Raiders went 2-7 in Big 12 play.
At the beginning of the game, it seemed that it would be Texas’ defense costing the Longhorns the contest. Texas Tech got two straight stops and opened the scoring with touchdowns on its first two drives.
Different receivers have emerged for Texas Tech throughout the season. Friday, it was KeSean Carter’s turn. The sophomore caught the first touchdown of the day and tallied a career high 10 catches for 149 yards.
The Longhorns immediately answered with a pair of their own touchdowns. An Erik Ezukanma touchdown put the Red Raiders ahead, but Texas tied it up on the next play as Devin Duvernay scored a 75-yard touchdown.
The long score was just one example of the poor play put forth by Texas Tech’s secondary. Adrian Frye dove to break up a post route, came up empty and Duvernay ran in untouched. The Longhorn offense did what it wanted all day as Sam Ehlinger finished with 348 passing yards, 83 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
One reason for Texas Tech’s defense’s shoddy play was that Jordyn Brooks was not able to suit up. Adam Beck, who filled in admirably for the Butkus Award finalist against TCU, also went out in the second quarter.
Ehlinger sliced the secondary one more time before halftime and Jett Duffey lost a fumble. Texas led 28-21 after two quarters.
Before the turnover, Duffey kept the Red Raiders in the game in the first half as the defense siphoned points. Duffey threw the ball 57 times on the day, totaling 398 yards.
While Texas Tech moved the ball easily, it struggled to score once it got to the red zone. After a leaping grab by Carter got the Red Raiders to the 2-yard line in the second quarter, Texas Tech couldn’t get the ball in the end zone in four plays. In the third quarter, Ezukanma couldn’t corral a potential touchdown on third down and Matt Wells settled for a field goal.
That field goal cut Texas’ lead from 14 to 11, and would be the Red Raiders last points of the day. Texas pulled away from there, scoring its sixth touchdown of the day. A Travis Steele holding call took away a fourth down conversion for Texas Tech. Wells went for it on fourth-and-11 and didn’t get it.
Texas closed the game out with two more touchdowns, while Texas Tech’s offense sputtered.
Wells’ squad showed some flashes in his first season, beating Oklahoma State and almost taking down the potential Big 12 champions in Baylor. But ultimately it proved to be a bottom-tier Big 12 squad. There is lots of room for improvement before year two.