Texas Tech had every possible opportunity against the Longhorns, but the Big 12’s most penalized team in 2011 showed its face again in the largest-attended game in Jones AT&T Stadium history.
60,879 fans crowded inside the stadium with high hopes, only to watch the Red Raiders deal with penalties, particularly in the red zone, the entire evening. Tech was flagged for penalties nine times for 85 yards.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege said for the majority of the times the Red Raiders did not get points when inside the red zone, penalties were to blame.
“It’s hard for me to remember every time we were in the red zone,” Doege said. “But I know when we were in the red zone, every time that we didn’t get points, the majority of the time it was penalties that kept us from it.”
Tech was the most penalized team in the Big 12 last season and the Red Raiders are on track to repeat as the most penalized team in the conference.
Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said the inopportune penalties were unfortunate, especially for the seniors.
“Seniors don’t have an opportunity again to play against their in-state rival — that was it,” Tuberville said. “Hopefully we can play better for them the next three games and get into a good bowl game. It’s just hard to play so well at times and then play so poorly at times and have inopportune penalties. It absolutely took us out of it.”
Tech’s senior class will leave 0-4 against the Longhorns.
Doege said it hurts to know that the goals Tech set for itself going into the season have gone out the door with this loss.
“It (was) our last chance to really try to do something special here that nobody has done before and give us an opportunity to do that,” Doege said. “It hurts, but we should let it hurt — we should know how it feels.”
Tech converted four of their 14 third-down attempts the entire game — Tech’s worst third down conversion percentage of the entire season. Although Tech successfully converted two fourth-down attempts, the Red Raiders failed to convert their long, establishing drives into touchdowns — largely because of penalties in the red zone.
Texas coach Mack Brown said stopping the run forced Tech into third-and-long situations, which favored well for the Longhorns.
“The game plan was to stop the run, stop the screen,” Brown said. “I think their running game was 112 yards. We had 163 yards rushing, and it worked. I thought Manny (Diaz) and the guys did a great job. They’ve hung in there and gotten better on defense.”
The Red Raiders were forced to kick three field goals because of their inability to convert on third downs and in the red zone.
Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said it is really hard to win football games in the Big 12 kicking field goals rather than scoring touchdowns.
“That’s Big 12 defense,” he said. “If you don’t have the big plays, the worst thing that happens is the ball gets in the red zone, and that’s where the battle and the fight and the will that (Alex Okafor) and (Kenny Vaccaro) lead us with comes through and finding a way to make plays when the yards get tough to make.”