November 19, 2011

'This is a screwed up night'

The ball was in the Red Raiders' offense's hands with 2:18 on the clock, three timeouts and down just 31-27 in the midst of what was unquestionably Texas Tech's hardest fought game of the season considering the three straight losses the team had endured.

Although Tech had coughed up the lead just four seconds earlier, it was exactly where Red Raider fans wanted the ball to be.

But with the sun down and Missouri's Memorial Stadium's light's reflection making a worn-down turf appear shiny and the pocket collapsing around quarterback Seth Doege, Doege threw a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Missouri linebacker Michael Sam at the Tigers' four-yard line.

Game over.

"We're not good enough on defense to stop anybody so we've got to win on our offense," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville told RedRaiderSports.com's Chris Level on the game's broadcast interview. "And poor Seth, he's trying his hardest and we lose our running back and number one receiver early in the game that hurt us. Then we lost one of our best offensive linemen (Lonnie Edwards).

"This is a screwed up night, I'm going to say it. Our guys played their hearts out. Hopefully we can regroup and have a team next week."

Tech (5-6) battled all the way to the end the Missouri (6-5), but the Red Raiders bad luck wasn't just reflected on the scoreboard. Tech lost receiver Alex Torres, a promising running back in DeAndre Washington as well as Edwards for the game and maybe longer.

Strong safety Terrance Bullitt was playing on an injured shoulder already and blasted Missouri's receiver T.J. Moe early in the game which may have knocked some screws loose in his head. Fortunately, he returned shortly after and was a bright spot on the Red Raiders' struggling defense.

Running back Aaron Crawford also played through what appeared to be an ankle injury after having the ankle roll over on him during a routine tackle.

The Red Raiders battled through all the setbacks, but still fell four points short of bowl eligibility.

Saturday's fourth-consecutive loss is a low that hasn't been seen in Lubbock since 1993.

But as frustration understandably boils over after a straight month of losing, Saturday's game wasn't about the loss or a losing streak or who can't do what.
It's a life lesson about gutting it out, and unfortunately there's no instant gratification. There's no conclusive scoreboard in real life.

Tech bounced back from the worst loss in program history with a brilliant effort against Missouri. The Red Raiders endured three serious injuries, at least two players played through pain and a run defense that can't stop anything forced Missouri into major offensive problems until the Tigers wore the Red Raider defense down.

That must effort be commended.

We saw major improvement from the Red Raiders where other teams would have packed it in for the season and accepted a full winter vacation. Losing isn't fun, especially when it's public and people will approach you about it in a condescending way.

We've all suffered defeats at some point in our lives and probably in some place much more difficult than the confinements of a football field during a three-and-a-half hour timeframe.

Even when defeat isn't displayed up on an electronic board or piece of paper, it normally leads to disgruntlement and disgruntlement can spread like a plague. That isn't exclusive to a locker room or a sport, but also in our lives -- around offices and homes.

Saturday it was apparent the Red Raiders hadn't quit. It was probably the second-best performance of the season considering the circumstances that surrounded the game.

No Tech player or coach is satisfied with what happened in Columbia, but somewhere else where there is no final score there is something to be proud of.

They didn't quit when things were at their absolute worst and there's no sense in quitting now.

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