One of my more faithful readers asked me for a breakdown of how Texas Tech blew the Houston game. Well, let’s look at the stats, without team names.
Stat / team A / team B
Yards per pass / 6.8 / 7.5
Yards passing / 321 / 435
Pass completion % / 64 / 66
Yards per rush / 5.1 / 4.0
Yards rushing / 163 / 144
Time of possession / 27 / 33
Turnovers / 2 / 1
3rd down efficiency % / 50 / 55
4th down efficiency % / 0 / 100
Which team do you think wins the game? Of course, Team B wins the game. Team B, the Cougars, out-passed the Dust Pirates, were marginally beat in rushing, won the turnover battle, controlled the clock and converted more 3rd and 4th down opportunities. Also, remember that on the final play of the 3rd quarter, Potts throws a horrible interception, which is negated by an illegal hands to the face call on a Cougar lineman. Personally, I thought the call was bogus.
We can throw stones at the Great Pirate for going for it on 4th down when he could have kicked a FG to go up 31-23 with 11 minutes to go. However, Leach has always been a gambler. I went back and looked at 2008 and 2009 season to date for the Red Raiders. Leach goes for it on 4th down at least once almost every game, with the exception of last year’s Texas game and the Nebraska game. The last time Leach attempted a 4th down in a game and had no conversions in that game was the 2008 opener against Eastern Washington. I think Leach knows if he converts on that 4th and goal, he puts the game away. Plus with the PF call to negate the interception earlier in the drive, he was gambling with house money anyway.
In hindsight, it's easy to say that he should've kicked the field goal. However, the Red Raiders were running the ball effectively. The question, in my mind, is why go with the quarterback sneak there, not so much that he went for it, but how he went for it.