Texas Tech football: 2 big things Behren Morton showed against Tarleton State

Texas Tech football: 2 big things Behren Morton showed against Tarleton State
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Texas Tech’s quarterback Behren Morton (2) walks on to the field before the game against Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

Texas Tech finally secured their first win Saturday night at home against Tarleton State. After two tough close losses, the Red Raiders handled their FCS opponent easily with a 41-3 win. The defense came to play and got three turnovers, helping the team pull away early. With a 24-0 halftime lead, backups entered in the third quarter, most notably, QB Behren Morton.

While the defense helped set up the offense with good field position early, Zach Kittley’s group looked stale often in the passing game. Tahj Brooks had a career night with 158 yards, but Tyler Shough once again had an underwhelming performance. He was 10/20 for 123 yards and threw one touchdown while running for another. Despite the large halftime lead, though, it just did not seem like the offense was operating at its best, which has arguably been the case so far this season.

Behren Morton gets a chance to pilot the Texas Tech offense

With many looking for a spark, Joey McGuire decided to not risk injuries and benched Shough after the first offensive drive in the third quarter and turned the reins over to Morton. The three-touchdown lead was the major factor, but seeing Morton was something fans have wanted. That proved true when chants of his name started to rain down from the student section when he hit the field and completed his first pass.

Morton’s second half against the Texans did not produce mind-blowing numbers (he was 8/13 passing for 73 yards with two TDs and a pick), but he looked in control of the offense. It also helped in his evaluation that all the rest of the starters remained in until the later part of the fourth quarter. The Eastland product who saw action in six games last year did some good things Saturday night to fight his way back into the conversation of being the starter.

Morton improved the Texas Tech offensive tempo and timing with receivers

While Morton’s first drive off of a Dadrion Taylor-Demerson interception ended with just a field goal, he took advantage of great field position after a turnover on downs. Morton hit Drae McCray and Jerand Bradley on quick passes before throwing a fade route to Myles Price in the left corner of the endzone. The throw was quintessential of an Air Raid quarterback. He lead Price perfectly and put it in a spot where only he could get it.

The catch by Price was most impressive, but Morton put some touch on the throw that Shough arguably might not have been able to. Shough is bigger and has more of a cannon for an arm. That bodes well for him at times, but always throwing bullets in this offense is not always a good idea.

Later, with a full field to drive towards the end of the third quarter, Morton orchestrated a 14-play, 85-yard drive. Running backs Bryson Donnell and Nehemiah Martinez helped share the load, but Morton seemed to bring some extra energy to help push the tempo. That is what Kittley’s offense strives for. When Morton was in it seemed to operate better.

The drive ended with another dime from Morton to Jordan Brown in the left corner for a touchdown. Once again the touch was there on the throw to put the ball in position for the receiver to get it. It was also the highlight of Brown’s night who led the team in receiving with 73 yards on six catches.

Overall, Morton looks to have timing down with the receivers and the pace Kittley likes to go with on offense. Not only did he show poise on the field, but he also did something one rarely sees a college athlete do in between plays.

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