TTU Red Raiders vs Houston Cougars Football Season Opener
TTU Football kicked off their season Saturday, September 4th vs the Houston Cougars who came to play at the Texas Kickoff in Houston, Texas, at NRG Stadium. On one of the biggest stages in all of college football.
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The game began with Texas Tech winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half, so Houston would first receive the ball. After receiving, Houston quarterback Clayton Tune would lead the charge in the opening drive and go 75 yards in 16 plays. While using a lot of clock while in possession of the ball, the Cougars would cap off the drive with a one-yard rush by Tune to put it in the end zone.
After scoring in the following kickoff, Houston would decide to onside the ball where they would recover. Now with good field position, the Cougars again would go down and score to go up 14-0 early. With Texas Tech not having an offensive possession until late in the first. And Houston converting on three of four fourth downs in the first quarter, the team would then head into the second.
Now in the second quarter, Texas Tech would respond. The drive would be highlighted with a sidearm throw by Tyler Shough to Erik Ezukanma. Who would then shed defenders to get the Red Raiders into the red zone and points on the board. The play would then be called back for holding, then enter running back Tahj Brooks. Brooks would then shoot into the gap for a 41-yard rushing touchdown and be able to reach the endzone to make the score 7-14.
Now back in the fight, a deep ball from Houston, Reggie Pearson Jr., would make an incredible interception to get the ball back to the Red Raiders. Then, after getting the ball back and not converting, the Red Raiders would turn over the ball. In doing so, the Cougars would go down and score once more. To bring the score to 21-7, with Texas Tech trailing at the half.
With the first half of play in the books and Texas Tech set to receive, the Red Raiders would not look back. While the Red Raiders could not convert their first drive, the team’s defense would step up. With a massive hit from Jaylon Hutchins to start the Cougars drive. The team would not look back by not letting Houston into the endzone in the third.
Fast forward to the nine-minute mark into the third. Ezukanma would be at it again and shed several defenders to move the Red Raiders down the field. Again, only minutes later in the red zone, Tyler Shough would cap off the drive with a quarterback draw to take the score to 14-21.
To start Houston’s next drive on the kickoff, Derrick Lewis II would make a massive tackle. Pinning the Cougars inside their own 15. On the next play, Tony Bradford Jr. would apply the pressure by sacking Tune in the backfield. Now, 2nd & 17 for the Cougars and pinned in their endzone, Tune would attempt a throw into the middle of the field. Where Riko Jeffers would pick it off for a pick-six to tie the score up 21-21.
With a solid defensive stand thus far, Texas Tech was not yet done in the third. Eric Monroe would record another interception for the Red Raiders in another pass from Tune that would be tipped in an acrobatic catch. Texas Tech would convert the interception into a field goal to take their first lead of the game 24-21.
After an absolutely dominant third quarter on both sides of the ball, Texas Tech would keep rolling. In a defensive fourth quarter, the Red Raiders would create a cushion on their lead. With a pass from Shough to running back Xavier White in the endzone with 2:08 left in the contest. Now up 31-21, the Red Raiders were not yet done.
Now leading by 10 with less than two minutes to go, the Red Raiders would make a massive defensive stand. To get the ball back with only 1:20 left in the contest. A play later, Brooks would put the game away with another huge run to get into the endzone to extend their lead 38-21.
With a rough first half through all three phases of the ball. The team would make up in the second with 31 unanswered points. With four interceptions for the Red Raiders (most since 2008) and several quarterback rushes and sacks, the defense would account for 17 of the 38 Red Raider points.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tyler Shough’s first career start as a Red Raider would go 17-24 for 231 yards. With one passing and rushing touchdown. Tahj Brooks would also contribute to the run game with 15 rushes for 134 yards with a 44 yard long. The last big name for the Red Raiders that performed exceptionally is Erik Ezukanma. With seven catches for 179 and a 50-yard long, Ezukanma was absolutely nothing short of dominant against the Cougars.
The entire team would contribute on both sides of the ball. A factor that cannot be forgotten was how well offensive and defensive lines would take control of the game. With a fast start by Houston, both lines would then take over the game and set the tempo en route to a Texas Tech win.
Overall, after a slow first start by the Red Raiders and trailing 21-7 at the half. Texas Tech would score 31 unanswered points. Now 1-0 on the season after the TTU vs Houston game and now grabbing national attention, the Texas Tech Red Raiders Football team will look towards their next game. The team will head home to play their home opener against Stephen F. Austin Saturday, September 11th at 6 p.m. in Lubbock, Texas, at Jones AT&T Stadium in the Celebrate America Game. Look for the game to dominate performance by the Red Raiders as they will look to improve their record to 2-0 on the season. You can watch the game at Big 12 Now, ESPN+ and tickets are still available for purchase at TexasTech.com.
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Story by Campus Live Employee Trinity Porter