As good as the Texas Tech Red Raiders offense was last season, the defense was equally bad. And it ended with a five-win season and no bowl appearance for the second time in three seasons. The Air Raid attack is fun to watch and the numbers are impressive, but they haven’t gotten the Red Raiders any closer to the top of the Big 12. And this year there is no Patrick Mahomes running the show, which means TTU could take a step back after leading the nation in passing offense. If the Red Raiders could stop someone, it may not make a difference.
2016 Record: 5-7 SU, 8-4 ATS, 7-5 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 5.5
National Championship Odds: +100000
Odds To Win Big 12: +11500
The season was all about Mahomes and the Red Raiders’ passing game because, well, there was nothing else. Mahomes led the nation by a wide margin in passing, throwing for 5,052 yards and averaging 421 per game. Add in a rushing attack that was near the bottom of the rankings with just over 103 yards per game and the Red Raiders still led the nation in total offense with 566 yards per outing.
They were also able to pile up the points with Mahomes throwing 41 scoring passes and rushing for another 12 touchdowns, Tech averaged nearly 44 points a game to finish fifth nationally. So how does a team with so much offensive firepower manage to win just five games? Simple, the defense was horrible. Texas Tech was last in the FBS in total yards allowed (554.3), and points allowed (43.5) per game.
The Red Raiders scored at least 54 points in a game six times and went just 4-2. They surrendered 68 in a loss to Arizona State and 66 in a loss to Oklahoma. They also allowed 66 to Iowa State in a game that eliminated them from bowl eligibility. TTU ended the season on a positive note and avoided matching its fewest wins in the Kliff Kingsbury era by defeating Baylor in the finale. Fittingly, Mahomes threw for 586 yards and six touchdowns, giving the coach another year to contend for a Big 12 title.
We can expect the Texas Tech offense to take dip in 2017 with Mahomes off to the NFL. Also gone are leading receiver Jonathan Giles and two starters on the offensive line. But don’t expect TTU to change its approach. The Red Raiders will continue to throw the ball because that’s who they are and what they do. Kingsbury is on the hot seat entering the season after missing out on a bowl in two of the last three seasons, but that won’t alter his approach.
Nic Shimonek is in line to take over for Mahomes and direct the Air Raid attack. He did well in his limited opportunities last season throwing for 464 yards and six touchdowns in 58 attempts. With Mahomes throwing 60 passes a game, running the football became an afterthought. Tech won’t have that luxury this year and will look to Da’Leon Ward to supply some pop on the ground.
The offense will move the ball and score, but the numbers won’t compare to last season. The improvements need to come on defense, where the Red Raiders were abysmal. Sure, the fast-paced offense led to more opponent possessions and more time on the field, but the unit struggled mightily. They allowed too many yards and too many big plays, failed to create turnovers, and were lousy on third down. It all begins up front. The Red Raiders amassed just 14 sacks last season and a better push will help all levels, just not enough to compete for a Big 12 title.
Week 1: Texas Tech vs. Eastern Washington, Saturday, September 2
Week 2: OFF
Week 3: Texas Tech vs. Arizona State Saturday, September 16
Week 4: Texas Tech at Houston, Saturday, September 23
Week 5: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday, September 30
Week 6: Texas Tech at Kansas, Saturday, October 7
Week 7: Texas Tech at West Virginia, Saturday, October 14
Week 8: Texas Tech vs. Iowa State, Saturday, October 21
Week 9: Texas Tech at Oklahoma, Saturday, October 28
Week 10: Texas Tech vs. Kansas State, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Texas Tech at Baylor, Saturday, November 11
Week 12: Texas Tech vs. TCU, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Texas Tech at Texas, Friday, November 24
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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