5 Thoughts - 2008 Gator Bowl
Texas Tech WR Danny Amendola
Texas Tech WR Danny Amendola
Posted Jan 1, 2008

The Texas Tech offense got rolling and the Gator Bowl turned into a classic.

5 Thoughts - Gator Bowl

Texas Tech 31 ... Virginia 28

Texas Tech 31 ...Virginia 28
- 2007 CFN Gator Bowl Preview
- 2008 Gator Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More

By Pete Fiutak   

1. Texas Tech’s offense is all about momentum. When it has a defense on its heels, it can be a breathtaking attack to watch. It gets into a rhythm, the receivers are crisp and decisive in their routes, and the decision making from the quarterback is spot on. Virginia was able to disrupt things by generating good pressure, swarming around the first and second options, and not allowing Graham Harrell to hit his targets on the move. There were few big plays for the Red Raider offense and no deep balls, allowing the Cavalier safeties and linebackers to hang around for the short to midrange throws to keep the short passes from turning into long gains. Once the Tech offense started to get moving late, the entire team appeared to feed off it as the defense came up with the big forced fumble in the final few minutes that helped tie things up, and then it was over. Virginia didn’t have a chance once the big final run started.

2. For about 50 minutes, Texas Tech’s offense didn’t have “it.” The receivers were dropping passes, star WR Michael Crabtree didn’t get the ball nearly enough early on, and the offense didn’t have its usual energy. However, there’s a reason this offense is so dangerous. Even when things aren’t working quite right, and even when it appears like it’s just not going to happen against a good defense and an effective offense that’s playing well, Tech is able to bomb its way back into a game. This might not be the ideal offense to hold a lead, but it’s the one you want when down 14 with ten minutes to play.

3. Where’s the Virginia long ball? Missing all season long, the lack of any form of a vertical passing game was exposed from the start. It was the equivalent of a basketball team playing in a half court offense as opposed to being able to fast break. The Cavaliers were limited in what they could do, but they were able to keep the big errors to a minimum and did what it needed to do on defense to stay in the game, but more of a passing attack has to be found going into next year.

4. It’s a simple formula against Texas Tech; run the ball well, win the game … usually. Getting over 200 yards on the Red Raider defense means the clock and the game is being controlled and the Tech offense is kept off the field and unable to get into a groove, but in this case, stats are misleading as 96 yards came on one Mikell Simpson touchdown run. Texas Tech is at its best when it’s dictating the tempo, but the game was played at Virginia’s level with a slower pace with nothing in the way of frenetic action to get the Cavaliers out of their gameplan. The offensive line was dominant, DE Chris Long was showing why he’ll be a top five draft pick, and things were looking good. And then Texas Tech became Texas Tech again.

5. No one has played better bowl games over the last three years than Texas Tech. The win over the Cavaliers might have been a thriller, but it was nothing compared to 44-41 overtime win over Minnesota in last year’s Insight Bowl. The 13-10 loss in the 2006 Cotton Bowl wasn’t exactly thrilling, but it was a close battle until the end. Virginia’s bowls have been just as good with an overtime collapse in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl to Fresno State and a 34-31 win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl. Bowl games are all about making money and putting butts in the seats, but they also want compelling games. At this point, Texas Tech has become an extremely attractive bowl draw.