Outside of West Virginia, defense is almost non-existent in the Big 12 this season. Look no further than Saturday night’s game between No. 16 Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
If you love numbers, the Sooners and Red Raiders gave you an early Valentine’s Day gift.
The two teams broke the NCAA record for combined offensive yards with 1,708. Both finished with 854 total yards each. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 545 yards and broke the school game touchdown mark with seven. Running back Joe Mixon had 263 yards rushing and 114 yards receiving with a total of five touchdowns. He’s the first Sooner to ever reach 200 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook also had 202 yards receiving and two touchdowns for Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 734 yards and five touchdowns on 88 pass attempts. His passing yards total tied the NCAA record and his 819 total yards broke another. Mahomes had more passing yards in one game than Army, Navy and Tulane have thrown for all season. It’s a good thing that Mahomes is a former pitcher, because otherwise there might not have been enough ice in West Texas for his arm afterwards.
The Red Raiders are accustomed to putting points on the board. The problem is they can’t stop the other team from doing the same thing. Defense at Texas Tech is like that one department that nobody within the company really cares about.
So does the lack of defense in Lubbock put head coach Kliff Kingsbury on the potential hot seat? Texas Tech now sits at 3-4 overall (1-3 in the Big 12) and always seems to be the team that falls short of expectations over the last couple of years. Kingsbury is 22-23 during his fourth year in Lubbock, which includes a record of 11-20 in the Big 12. The final stretch of the 2016 season could be a make it or break it scenario for Kingsbury.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs can’t be feeling too comfortable either as his unit has given up over 40 points in five of the seven games this season. The Red Raiders still have Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas coming up on the schedule.
Questions surround the Texas Tech program with the second half of the season underway. One has to wonder if the patience is starting to run out in Lubbock with almost every game turning into a shoot-out, and the Red Raiders having the tendency to come up short in a majority of them.
Written by C. James