Revisiting Texas Tech's QB Situation: Who Should Start?

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterNovember 11, 2013

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 2: Davis Webb #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders passes the ball against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during game action on November 2, 2013 at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma State won the game 52-34. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
John Weast/Getty Images

There's no quarterback controversy at Texas Tech, but for the first time in a month, the Red Raiders played two QBs in a game. 

It happened last Saturday in a 49-26 loss to Kansas State, when Baker Mayfield replaced a struggling Davis Webb. Mayfield, who had missed the previous four games with a knee injury, finished the game with 276 yards passing and a pair of interceptions. 

But ineffective quarterback play isn't even close to the biggest problem for Texas Tech these days. On the contrary, the fact that Tech has won seven games with two freshmen quarterbacks is remarkable. Both Mayfield and Webb have played well while taking turns starting. 

Baker Mayfield
Baker MayfieldJohn Weast/Getty Images

What's hurting the Red Raiders the most, and why a three-game losing streak could turn into a five-game losing streak by the end of the regular season, is run defense and mistakes. Tech has been a sloppy team all year and has been progressively worse in run defense over the past month—injuries haven't helped.

Unfortunately for Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas, the final opponents on the schedule, run the ball better than any other team in the Big 12. 

That means the Red Raiders could be playing from behind a lot.

Other than total passing yards and touchdowns, which is a reflection of game appearances, there are few differences between Webb's numbers and Mayfield's numbers. Both have good completion percentages (61.9 percent and 67.8 percent, respectively) and essentially the same number of yards per attempt and quarterback rating. Put another way, this is literally a scenario where the offense has been plug-and-go. 

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 26:   Tight end Jace Amaro #22 and quarterback Davis Webb #7 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders take the field during warmup before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners October 26, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norma
Brett Deering/Getty Images

But if we're splitting hairs, Davis has had bigger passing numbers and Mayfield gives the offense another dimension with his running ability. And technically, Mayfield hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since Week 3 when Tech beat TCU 20-10. 

It's certainly possible that head coach Kliff Kingsbury will play both quarterbacks if one isn't playing well, but typically he likes to stick with one or the other. And it feels like a stretch that we'll see sophomore Michael Brewer, the preseason favorite to start who is still recovering from a back injury. 

Tech's offense is based on the passing game, and Webb is the better passer of the two. If there's a lot of catching up to do on the scoreboard over the next two weeks, Webb is the way to go.