When a new coach takes over any college program, their first goal is to sell their product like any regular salesperson. Joey McGuire is looking to reinvigorate Texas Tech fans after taking over for Matt Wells and interim coach Sonny Cumbin. Despite a rough second half and a quarterback who seemed to lose confidence, the Red Raiders pulled off a double overtime upset against 25th-ranked Houston.
It looked like Tech was leading 17-3 heading into the second half. However, as fans have become accustomed to, the team broke down and the game was tied at 17 in the fourth quarter. Does this sound familiar? Well, over the last decade head coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells never seemed to finish games when the Red Raiders wanted them to.
Kingsbury’s teams had their share of good starts, but ultimately fell short in games. One of the most famous came in 2017 with West Virginia. The Red Raiders led 35-17 in the third quarter before the offense fizzled and went scoreless the rest of the game in a 46-35 loss.
The same can be said of the Welsh teams. The most notable came against Kansas State last season. The team led the Wildcats 24-10 at halftime. After a safety, Deuce Vaughn scored two touchdowns and went unanswered in the second half as the Wildcats won 25-24. Wells was sacked after that game.
The build-up to Saturday’s fourth quarter was all familiar. A poorly thrown Donovan Smith interception gave Houston a 20-17 lead before a Trey Wolfe field goal forced overtime. After allowing the Cougars to score on their first possession of overtime, Smith and the Red Raiders faced 4th-and-20, but converted and forced a second overtime. McGuire’s squad’s resilience shined as the team forced a field goal and won the game with a Smith touchdown.
Saturday’s thrilling overtime victory was McGuire’s first big step toward returning this program to prominence for a fan base looking for a reason to stay up past halftime and a new coach looking to beat them. McGuire continued to talk about the “brand” and the product was definitely sold to the fans and students who packed the field. McGuire looks to continue his momentum to face NC State next week as the Red Raiders travel to Raleigh.