To say the Texas Tech football team’s 38-21 victory over Houston on Saturday night was important would be an understatement. It was as big a one-week victory as this show has had in the “Air Raid” era.
Tech has typically opened the season with games about programs that have made little attempt to threaten discomfort. Sure, sometimes some minor shows like Central Arkansas in 2014 or Houston Baptist in 2020 have come close to impressing the Red Raiders, but for the most part Tech openers have been less than intriguing.
In fact, Tech has only played a Power 5 team twice since 2000 in the first week of the season (2002 at Ohio State and 2018 against Ole Miss in Houston). And while Houston is not yet a Power 5 program, they are one that will soon be and pose one of the biggest challenges technology has faced in an opening program in the last two decades.
Of course, this game gained more importance as the Cougars are expected to join the Big 12 as soon as 2023. So Tech needed to go out and make a statement not only on the U of H show, but even more so. to its own population.
Think about how they would have felt over the next two weeks if Matt Wells ’team hadn’t been able to clear the 14-point deficit from Saturday’s half. Given the recent state of the show, imagine how little the crowd in Lubbock would have been for the Stephen F. Austin and Florida International games if Tech had left Houston this weekend with a 0-1 record.
Also, getting to a Bowl would have required four wins in the conference, something this program has managed to do only three times in the post-Mike Leach era. So yes, beating the cougars was almost a must for the Red Raiders if they hope to have any chance of making 2021 more than another study on futility.
In addition, the way they persevere and fight technology could generate additional strength in this team, strength that will be needed in the Big 12 game. This aspect of the victory that the wells pointed out in their postseason comments.
“… that’s the most important thing about the mindset we’re going to take from this game,” he said, “and being able to improve the second week. This is a long season. It’s a one-week season. It’s a season of. “A game every week. And it all starts again for us tomorrow. And, you know, I think it’s going to be the main indicator for us as we go through September and get into a little bit in the Big 12 …”
Surely the result of the first week of this year feels more satisfying and more productive than any other this program has produced in quite some time. It also feels like something that can be built as you move forward.
To help Tech achieve this critical victory, there were a number of excellent individual performances worthy of game balls. Let’s take a look at who stood out the most and start by recognizing the work of one of the most scrutinized men in all of West Texas.