One of the more under-discussed aspects of Saturday night’s Texas Tech football game against Houston was the fact that a trio of former Red Raiders was suited up for the Cougars. But though there was some considerable chirping from those players prior to and during the game, once the action began, neither KeSean Carter, Ta’Zhawn Henry, nor Alex Hogan had any impact in Tech’s 38-21 win.
For instance, inside receiver KeSean Carter proved to be no threat to the Texas Tech defense. He caught just one pass for nine yards early in the game and then was never heard from again.
That had to be a disappointment for The Woodlands product who had a decent Texas Tech career from 2018-20. Catching 83 total passes, he amassed 840 yards and 7 TDs at Tech but he never broke out the way most expected him to.
Particularly, 2020 was a disappointment for the speedster who also ran track while at Tech. In the 2019 season finale at Texas, Carter hauled in a career-high 11 passes for a career-best 150 yards and a TD. It was his first game as a starter at inside receiver and that performance precipitated a permanent move to the slot where it was expected that he would have a massive 2020 season.
That didn’t happen. Playing in just six games because of nagging injuries, Carter caught only 30 passes for 290 yards and 4 TDs last season. Then, in the offseason, he hit the transfer portal and wound up becoming a Cougar.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most vocal of the former Red Raiders on the Houston roster, Ta’Zhawn Henry, also did not do anything to make his former team miss him. The running back from Houston carried the ball twice for -2 yards and caught four passes for a mere 24 yards.
During his two-year Red Raider career, Henry carried the ball 161 times for 681 yards and 11 TDs while catching 44 passes for 283 yards and one more score. And interestingly, his best game was the one he played against his future school.
In 2018, when Henry was a freshman, he ran the ball 24 times for 111 yards and four TDs to help the Red Raiders to a 63-49 win. But he was far from that effective Saturday night.
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The third Tech ex to take the field for the Cougars on Saturday was defensive back, Alex Hogan. Also from the Houston area, Hogan joined Houston via the transfer portal this past offseason after amassing 16 tackles, six pass defenses, and an interception for Tech in 2019-20.
But on Saturday, he was heard from only twice as he made just a pair of stops and was not credited with a pass defense. Granted, one of his tackles was a huge thump near the line of scrimmage on a Texas Tech receiver but still, his impact was negligible.
In all, these three former Red Raiders who sought greener pastures closer to home proved to be non-factors against their former team. But several of Tech’s new transfers paid huge dividends.
Safety Reggie Pearson Jr. amassed eight total tackles, second-most on the team behind linebacker Colin Schooler, who had 10. In addition, he came up with a second-quarter interception of Clayton Tune to help quell some of Houston’s early momemtum. Also noticeable in his Red Raider debut was linebacker Jesiah Pierre, a Florida transfer who had five total tackles including 0.5 for loss.
Of course, QB Tyler Shough was also solid in his Red Raider debut. The transfer from Oregon completed 70.8% of his passes (17-24) while running for one TD and passing for another.
He played a controlled and poised game despite being under heavy pressure at times. It was the opposite of how his counterpart, Clayton Tune, played. Also under heavy pressure for much of the evening, the Houston QB was not nearly as composed as Shough was as he threw four interceptions.
For both Texas Tech and Houston, transfers are going to play a huge role in the 2021 season. However, on Saturday night, only one team received significant contributions from its newcomers. And the three former Red Raiders who desperately wanted to stick it to their old team certainly missed out on that opportunity.