The Texas Tech football team was defeated in Stillwater on Saturday by No. 23 Oklahoma State with a final score of 50-44.
After a back and forth for much of the game, the Cowboys pulled away in the fourth quarter by way of their potent rushing attack.
Alan Bowman lined up under center for the Red Raiders with recent starter Henry Colombi inactive. Likewise, Cowboy star Chuba Hubbard was ruled out early Saturday morning with a leg injury.
After punting on their opening drive of the game, the Red Raiders’ SaRodorick Thompson bolted for a 59-yard touchdown on fourth and one for the first points of the game. The run represented the second fourth down conversion of the drive for Tech, who had already converted a fourth and inches from their own 30-yard line on another Thompson run.
The Cowboy offense, however, was quick to respond. On the back of three defensive penalties by the Red Raiders, including two defensive holdings and a defensive pass interference call, the Cowboys’ Dezmon Jackson was able to punch the ball into the endzone from the Raiders' one-yard line for his first touchdown of the day. It was a much-needed spark for the Cowboys, who had missed a 32-yard field goal on their first drive.
Following a couple of three and outs for Tech, the Cowboys first drive of the second quarter would give them their first lead of the day after a 40-yard completion from quarterback Spencer Sanders to receiver Tylan Wallace set them up at the Red Raider seven-yard line. Jackson scored from seven yards out for his second score of the game.
Tech answered with a similar drive. After receiver Erik Ezukanma caught a 43-yard pass from Alan Bowman, Tech was set up on the Cowboy 27-yard line. Three plays later, Thompson punched it in from 24 yards out for his second score of the day.
The Cowboys only needed eleven plays to reclaim their lead from there. Jackson walked into the endzone from the Red Raider seven-yard line for his first-half hat trick.
With the Cowboys driving soon again, in desperate need of a momentum shift, a familiar face came up big for Tech. Colin Schooler, two weeks removed from his heroics at the goalline against Baylor, forced a big fumble from Cowboy running back Dominic Richardson which set up the Red Raiders deep in Cowboy territory.
Tech took advantage with a field goal and a defensive stop before the end of the half.
The Cowboys lead the Red Raiders 21-17 at the half.
Each team traded turnovers to start the half. Zech McPhearson first intercepted his fourth pass of the year off an arid throw from Sanders; then, on the very next play, Ezukanma fumbled the ball right back to Oklahoma State.
Following a defensive struggle for most of the start of the second half, the Tech offense finally broke through with a 48-yard touchdown strike from Bowman to Ezukanma for the first score of the half.
At this point, the third-quarter scoring barrage began.
The Red Raider momentum was short-lived. Following the Ezukanma touchdown, the Red Raiders surprisingly attempted an onside kick immediately after. The worst case scenario then ensued as the Cowboys picked it up and ran it in for a kick return touchdown with no one there to defend.
Driving on the Cowboys side of the field, Bowman threw a 65-yard pick-six to Cowboy defensive back Tre Sterling. The only solace at that point for Tech was that the Cowboys would miss the extra point, keeping their lead at 10.
On only the second play of the Red Raiders next drive, Xavier White bounced away from tacklers and wound up speeding his way down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown. The long score shrunk the Cowboy lead back down to three for a brief moment.
The Cowboys, like they had all game, answered quickly with a three-play touchdown drive. Following back to back 23-yard Jackson runs, Tylan Wallace made a spectacular catch in the back of the endzone that extended their lead back to ten.
A few possessions into the fourth quarter, and a few Tech turnovers later, the Cowboys finally found the endzone again by way of a Sanders nine yard touchdown scramble. At this point, all momentum was on the Cowboys side of the field.
Following an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone resulting in a safety, the game seemed all but over.
The Red Raiders were able to mount a comeback attempt with a pair of spectacular touchdown grabs from Ezukanma and Loic Fouonji late in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too great and the Red Raiders were defeated by a final score of 50-44.
The Red Raider offense shined at times, but was ultimately unable to find consistency until it was too late. Regardless, Ezukanma had seven catches for 183 yards and two scores in the game, while Thompson rushed 17 times for 133 yards and two scores of his own. Bowman put up efficient numbers as well in his start in relief of Colombi, putting up 384 yards and three scores while completing 31/46 passes.
However, the most outstanding player of the game would go to Oklahoma State’s Dezmon Jackson. Jackson did his best Chuba Hubbard impression on Saturday, rushing 36 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
After the game, Coach Wells gave credit to the locker room for not giving up.
“That locker room continues to fight, and that's what we got to have as we continue to try to change this culture and turn this program around and so far, I’m proud of (our guys),” Wells said. “We thought we were out of it, (but) we continued to play to win and coach to win. Obviously (we) came up short, so credit Oklahoma State. We came here to win the game, we came to play aggressive, and we came here to call an aggressive game plan to win.”
The Red Raiders will return home next Saturday to the Jones AT&T Stadium where they will take on the Kansas Jayhawks in their season finale.