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November 2, 2013

Notebook: Costly mistakes

Early mistakes cost Tech in the end

It's hard to win a game when you essentially spot a team 21 points in the first quarter off of turnovers, and the Red Raiders weren't able to do enough to get back in the game, losing 34-52 to Oklahoma State on Saturday night.

Tech was able to close the gap to 24-28 going into the second half, but Tech just couldn't overcome those early errors in the third or fourth quarters. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was proud of the way his team battled back, but there were too many mistakes to come out with a victory."

"That's tough. You lose the turnover battle and get outplayed on special teams by a really good team like that, and you're going to have a hard time winning the game. I thought in the first half, it was a good effort to battle back, but come out, go three and out to start the second half two drives in a row, and then we were just chasing the rest of the half."

Quarterback Davis Webb had a hot and cold evening, too, finishing with a stat line of 45-71 for 425 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Kingsbury felt that his quarterback was erratic at times, but he also noted that the rest of the offense didn't have a great night, either.

"Up and down. Had some plays that he made. I didn't think that the supporting cast played as well, either. I thought we had plays to be made and didn't make them, and to keep up when teams are scoring that much, you've got to make all the plays."

In the end, Tech just couldn't catch up to Oklahoma State's offense. Turnovers and early points sunk Tech early on, and the head coach said the offense and defense had to change a lot of their game plans on the fly as a result.

"Yea, you can't do that to a team with a senior quarterback, a top tier team. We were behind and got out of our game plan, both offensively and defensively because of that. We were just chasing the rest of the night."

Grant believes offensive mistakes cost Tech

Inside receiver Jakeem Grant had a fairly good outing, finishing the night with six catches for 69 yards. While some may blame the loss squarely on quarterback Davis Webb, Grant believes the whole offense is to blame for the loss.

"I feel like he (Webb) did (play well enough to win). It's just that, as an offense, we didn't all come to play together as one. Some of our players, even me, we had busted plays and missed assignments and stuff, but I feel like he did well, did enough to win the game. I feel like as an offense, we need to come together and pull it out."

This is the second loss in a row for Tech after starting off the season at 7-0, and the Red Raiders are reeling a bit with three games left on the regular season schedule. Grant said the team is hurting right now, but he feels like they'll bounce back and play better down the stretch.

"I feel like our team is very upset. This is our second straight loss, but I feel like we can come back and overcome this, because we have lost games in the past, and we've won games, too. I feel like as a team, we can overcome this."

Backups played well, according to Smith

Senior linebacker Will Smith did as much as he could to make up for the absences of Tre Porter and Terrance Bullitt on defense due to injury, racking up a team-high eight tackles in Texas Tech's loss Saturday night.

Although the Red Raiders struggled without their top defensive players in action, Smith said he felt like the younger guys stepped up and played as well as they could.

"I feel like we did a good job coming together as a team on defense, trying to talk the young guys up," he said. "It's just a matter of getting over things and overcoming adversity. We're going to be alright on defense, though."

Amaro disappointed in loss, despite big stats

Jace Amaro lit up the Oklahoma State secondary for 15 catches and 174 yards with a touchdown, but the junior tight end was disappointed with two things: his lack of ball security and losing the game.

"I didn't play my best game," he said. "I dropped the ball, I fumbled. I could care less about how many yards I had. I would rather have zero catches and win the game. I've always felt like that. I'd trade anything just for a W."

Webb's quarterback play was shaky, but Amaro said he felt like the true freshman put his team in a position to win.

"I felt like he played well enough to win the game, you know he threw a couple interceptions but that's just going to come with the lack of experience he truly has," he said. "He's going to get better with each and every game. I think he played well, he never crumbled, he kept our hopes up on the sideline. We had a great chance to take the lead, we just need to execute better."

Robertson's pick six a highlight in loss

Down 28-10, Tech seemed lifeless until linebacker Pete Robertson snatched a Clint Chelf pass out of the air and took it back for the pick-six. After the score, Robertson was in no celebratory mood. The sophomore said he was eager to get back on defense and try and reduce the gap further before halftime.

"After the pick-six, as you can see, I just ran to the end zone and put the ball down 'cause I was ready to get back out there," he said. "We was down, we needed more big plays, so I was just ready to go and get back out there."

The Red Raiders gave up 52 points against Oklahoma State, 14 more than they've allowed to any other opponent this season. Robertson said there were two key factors that contributed to the defensive breakdown.

"We had some big players go down like Tre Porter and Terrance Bullitt," he said. "If you don't do your job on defense, one person could mess up and the ball could go right over your head or right down the middle. With the busted assignments and the injuries, we need to step it up and get everybody right."

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