The passing game was a double edged sword for CU (3-4, 0-3) against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-4, 2-3). It is the reason the Buffs were able to build a ten point lead going into the fourth quarter but it ultimately cost them the game because they effectively abandoned the running game which would have been useful when they needed to chew up the clock to secure a much needed victory. But, the Red Raiders used all the extra time CU afforded them to stage a comeback which led to a 27-24 Texas Tech Victory.
The CU quarterback tandem of Tyler Hansen and Cody Hawkins passed for over 334 yards two touchdowns and had no interceptions. Tyler Hanson started the game on fire as he completed 9-10 passes for 62 yards before leaving the game after being crushed on an option play late in the second quarter. Hawkins stepped in off the bench to lead an impressive 18 play, 73 yard drive which resulted in a chip shot field goal, giving CU a 10-7 lead at the half. Hawkins would finish the game with 274 passing and two TD’s.
While the passing game was humming along, the Buffalo’s ran the ball a grand total 32 times, down from 49 times against Baylor, with abysmal results. Rodney “Speedy” Stewart once again led the Buffalos in rushing with s whopping 34 yards on 20 carries and the team averaged a paltry 0.9 yards per carry. That’s bad for teams that aren’t very good at running the ball and inexcusable for a team that averaged 155 rushing YPG this season that was facing a rush defense that has given up an average of 142.5 YPG. Tech was stacking the box to stop the run and basically daring CU to throw the ball but that doesn’t mean they should have abandoned the run all together.
The most telling stat of the game has to be time of possession. The Buffs dominated the time of possession in the first half 20:03-9:57 and held Tech to an unbelievable 28 passing yards. By contrast the combination of Hanson and Hawkins threw for 139 yards but CU was held to only 19 yards on the ground. The Red Raiders flipped the script in the second half as they dominated time of possession 19:10-10:34 and Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts figured out how to attack CU’s defense to the tune of 260 yards in the air.
The banged up Buffalo’s played their hearts out once again before a raucous crowd at Folsom Field but once again came up short. These Buffs are not a bad team and if they could just find a way to close the game they might still make a bowl this year. With road trips to Norman and Lincoln looming they have no margin for error. They needed to beat Texas Tech and they could have beaten the Red Raiders but, in the 4th quarter, they just ran out of steam.
Side Note: Next year CU will be in the newly minted Pac-12 South division along with fellow newcomer Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, and USC. The Buffalos have a combined 44-36-3 record against the teams in their new division.
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Written by Matthew Stiles