Wolf Diamonds Wrap: Nevada

Texas Tech
escaped with a 35-34 win over Nevada on Saturday. The Red Raiders trailed for
most of the game, as Seth Doege threw a four-yard go-ahead touchdown
pass to Eric Ward with 36 seconds remaining.
1. Doege can be really good (Part II). Last week, I wrote
that while Seth Doege had "made a record-setting performance (against New
Mexico) look effortless," questions remained because "he hasn't faced a whole
lot of adversity" this season.
That changed last night.
First, let's get this out of the way, Nevada is at best probably the eighth or
ninth-best team on Texas Tech's schedule. They'll likely challenge for the WAC
title but the Wolf Pack isn't nearly as good as they were a year ago.
That being said, when talking about what Doege showed last night, the opponent
doesn't matter as much as the situation. The Red Raiders trailed by 14 at one
point in the third quarter, and entered the fourth facing a 10-point deficit.
Tech's No. 1 receiver, Darrin Moore, was sidelined with an injury early in the
first quarter.
Doege never panicked, nor did his teammates. His 48-yard run in the third
quarter was originally supposed to be a handoff to Eric Stephens or a pass, but
Doege quickly saw how much space he had and did his best Cody Fajardo
"He was supposed to throw the ball if he didn't give it to me," Stephens said.
"I look up and he's running down the middle of the defense. He got the job
Three plays later, Doege hit Jace Amaro for an eight-yard touchdown pass to cut
the Wolf Pack's lead to seven, and the comeback was on.
We'll find out a little more about Doege next week in Lawrence, and a whole lot
more the following weekend against Texas A&M. So far, though, Doege has
performed very well -- 89-of-115 passes (77 percent) for 949 yards and 11
touchdowns -- considering he entered the season not having been a full-time starter since
his sophomore year of high school.
2. Tech's defense can't afford many injuries. The Red Raiders
didn't give up 562 yards and 34 points because of injuries. Injuries didn't
cause missed tackles or various other mistakes. But they certainly didn't help
Tech's cause.
"Nobody cares who's injured in this whole deal," defensive coordinator
Chad Glasgow said after the game. "There were however many people sitting out
there in the stands tonight and they care if we won or if we lost the football
game. Whoever steps out there has to go play."
Glasgow wasn't interested in dwelling on injuries during last night's post-game
press conference. And for good reason, the Red Raiders' defense is a walking
M.A.S.H. unit. Cody Davis, Leon Mackey and
Tre' Porter did not play due to injury. Pete Robertson sustained a
shoulder injury. Terrance Bullitt briefly went to the locker room with
a hip injury, but returned and played through the pain.
3. Eric Ward performance against New Mexico was no fluke.
Both of Ward's touchdowns last week against the Lobos came after Tech was up
14-0. The Red Raiders' offense was rolling, Doege was completing everything he
threw and Darrin Moore was making UNM defenders look silly.
The situation was much different on Saturday. Tech needed one of its receivers
to step up, and Ward answered the bell. His go-ahead touchdown catch with less
than a minute left puts him in elite company in program history -- company that
includes Michael Crabtree, Robert Johnson and Joel Filani.
"It feels like a dream," Ward said after the game. "That's all I have to say. It
feels like it didn't even happen, to be honest with you. When something like
that happens, you've just got to dwell with the moment because things like this
don't last forever. It feels great, to be honest with you."
Texas State and New Mexico were able to move the ball, but turnovers killed any
momentum they may have had and allowed Tech's offense to put them in an even
deeper hole.
Nevada held onto the ball and stuck to their identity. Tech, meanwhile, couldn't
buy a stop until the fourth quarter -- where they buckled up in the redzone and
held the Wolf Pack to field goals. Nevada put together drives of more than 50
yards in seven of their 10 offensive possessions.
Yikes. The Red Raiders won't win many (any?) games the rest of the way if their
opponents are able to duplicate Nevada's success.
Player Whose Last Name Will Soon Be Treated Like A Verb - Nevada
quarterback Cody Fajardo sliced up Tech's defense, rushing for 139 yards on 10
carries, completing 4-of-6 for 59 yards and accounting for three touchdowns.
Overlooked Most Valuable Player - Ben McRoy set a school record with
203 yards on seven kick returns. He, and the kickoff return unit, were the
unsung heroes of Tech's win as they gave Doege and the offense great starting
field position in the second half. The Red Raiders' average second half drive
started at their own 45-yard line.
Most Inopportune Play Calls - Chris Ault is a Hall of Fame coach for a
reason, but he called some head-scratchers against Tech. The Wolf Pack gouged
the Red Raiders on the ground from the get-go, but Ault called a pass on 3rd and
4 on Nevada's opening drive. Incomplete. Later in the first quarter, with the
Pack facing 3rd and 2 on the Tech 14, Ault calls another pass. Incomplete.
Nevada settled for a missed field goal attempt. In the fourth quarter, Nevada
had a chance to put the game away -- set up on Tech's three-yard line, Ault
called two consecutive passes that both fell incomplete. The Pack settled for a
field goal.
• The Big 12 is now 26-2 overall in non-conference play -- the best of any FBS
conference -- and 20-8 against the spread. League teams have now notched wins
over counterparts from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12.
• Texas A&M managed to choke away a 20-3 halftime lead Saturday against Oklahoma
State. The Aggies were in control at the break, and fell apart in the second
half. Sure, the play-calling was questionable -- run the ball, Sherm -- but the
loss proves that the A&M 'Senior Quarterback Curse' is absolutely real. What
started with Mark Farris, continued with Reggie McNeal, Stephen McGee and Jerrod
Johnson now too appears to be impacting Ryan Tannehill.
• Baylor's Robert Griffin may have been feasting on cupcakes since the Bears'
opening win against TCU, but the stats that he is putting together are still
amazing. In three games, Griffin has completed 70-of-82 passes for 962 yards and
13 touchdowns -- just to be clear, he has thrown more touchdowns than
• Speaking of Griffin, he will face off against Kansas State and its Big
12-leading defense next Saturday. The Wildcats rank in the top 10 in yards
allowed (246) and points (10.33) per game and is No. 1 nationally in redzone
defense. Not bad for a team that was one of the 15 worst defenses in the country
a year ago.