The Texas Tech defense is bleeding from the mouth.
Its eyes are swollen shut.
And that was only the second game of the season.
“We got hit in the mouth Saturday. I come out and say that, we’re not giving any excuses and anything like that,” Texas Tech linebacker Luke Stice said at Monday’s press conference.
And the blows were hard.
Texas Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs said before the season started that head coach Kliff Kingsbury gave the go-ahead for more work on tackling to get ready for the season.
Asked Monday to estimate how much more, Kingsbury said “probably three times as much as we had done previously in the spring and fall camp.”
That’s not during the season — college teams typically don’t full-out tackle much in practice once the season starts.
Jakeem Grant overcame.
He was shot at during a turbulent childhood in Dallas, stabbed in a random incident at a night club in Lubbock and eventually became Texas Tech’s all-time leading receiver.
He is also a father of three. At no point in Grant’s life did it ever come easy.
Then in April he defied the odds one more time — he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
But, that, too, came as a surprise.
Mahomes named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Patrick Mahomes II was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after accounting for 584 yards of total offense and six total touchdowns at Arizona State.
The junior quarterback currently leads the FBS in total offense with 1,124 yards.
Mahomes is also the FBS leader in passing with 1,023 yards and is tied for the top in passing scores with nine.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Texas Tech inside receiver Cameron Batson had a career night in the Red Raiders’ 68-55 loss Saturday at Arizona State.
The sophomore from Oklahoma City Millwood caught nine passes for 148 yards — both career highs — and a touchdown. The TD was a 66-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that cut Tech’s deficit to 65-55.
“I saw the blitz,” Batson said. “Me and Pat (Mahomes) connected with each other, and it was on from there.”
TEMPE, Ariz. — Lacking evidence in the moment to support the claim, Kliff Kingsbury stuck to his position anyway: The Texas Tech program’s getting better.
The Red Raiders didn’t show it Saturday night in a 68-55 loss to Arizona State. Kingsbury readily acknowledged as much. He didn’t expect this four-hour horror show from the guys he watched this spring and summer, a collection he’s called his best team yet.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Kalen Ballage tied an NCAA record by scoring eight touchdowns and had 185 all-purpose yards, helping Arizona State outlast Texas Tech 68-55 in a wild game Saturday night.
“I happened a lot (in Pop Warner), but this is college football,” Ballage said. “That’s big.”
Two teams known for scoring points in bunches put on an offensive show in the desert, trading big plays and touchdowns on seemingly every snap.
Arizona State (2-0) opened up its playbook in an attempt to keep up with the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton matched his career-long play on a dazzling 75-yard touchdown in the first half of his team's 68-55 loss Saturday against Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium. Stockton turned a short dump-off pass into a long run.
After securing the catch, Stockton put a spin move on the first defender, dodged a second, faked out a third and then outran the pursuit to the end zone.
TEMPE, Ariz. — After an especially disastrous Saturday 13 years ago at Missouri, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach spluttered for 40 seconds — somebody timed it – in his post-game analysis and retreated in a huff into the locker room.
I don’t know if Leach sent him out or a publicist fetched him, but defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich emerged a while later to do the explaining for a 62-31 loss. On that gray afternoon, Missouri’s Brad Smith rushed for 291 yards, 17 short of the NCAA record for a quarterback, and a school-record five touchdowns.
Texas Tech’s was quizzed last week by Stephen F. Austin. Now comes its first true test — so early in the semester, too. Texas Tech visits Tempe, Arizona on Saturday at 9 p.m. (CST). The Red Raiders passed a similar test last season against Arkansas, but only wound up with a 7-6 record — barely passing. If Texas Tech is going to do more this season, it has to start doing it Saturday.
When Texas Tech passes
What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
“I like really like country music like Jason Aldean and Brett Eldridge, Luke Bryan.”
What is your favorite country songs?
“Dustin Lynch, ‘Hurricane’ is one of my favorites.”
Do you listen to it to get ready for a game?
“No, it is usually in the morning.”
What is the most played song on your iPod that is not country?
A season ago, no Pac-12 team gave up more passing yards and touchdowns than Arizona State.
Last week alone, Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus completed 23 of 33 passes for 369 yards and a touchdown.
This weekend, the Sun Devils will have their hands full with Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
Despite playing for a little more than a half, Mahomes is second in the country with 483 passing yards.
The junior quarterback also added 57 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Reginald Davis extended one arm, grabbed an imaginary water bottle and took a drink.
He can do that this season — go to the sideline, that is — and the Texas Tech offense not miss a beat.
With Davis and Dylan Cantrell playing the same wide receiver position, the Red Raiders can wear down a cornerback.
“It’s pretty deadly,” Davis this week, “because both of us know what to do, know how to execute plays. You’ve got two people like that coming in back to back, it’s just hard to stop.”
In the summer of 2015, we selected an all-time Texas Tech football team in conjunction with A-J Media’s 20 Greatest Games special section. The team ran three-deep at each position, and the quarterbacks were a tough call.
Choosing the three-deep, cases could be made for at least eight men who’d played that position for the Red Raiders.
Have things changed in just a year’s time?
Q: If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing with your life?
A: I would definitely be playing soccer and going to school somewhere. That’s something that I played for 18 years of my life. But yeah I would just be playing soccer somewhere or get a job to help out my family.
Q: So who is your favorite soccer team?
A: Chelsea, for sure.