Texas will wrap up the regular season at DKR on Friday morning against Texas Tech. The Longhorns are attempting to stop the bleeding from a 2-game losing streak, while the Red Raiders will use this matchup as their de-facto bowl game with an actual bowl game out of sight. Texas Tech is led by first year coach Matt Wells, and while the record hasn’t been pretty in year 1, he does have some solid pieces to work with. Let’s take a look at what to expect from Texas Tech.
Texas Tech suffered a big loss earlier in the season when starting QB Alan Bowman went down with an injury. Luckily for Wells and offensive coordinator David Yost, backup Jett Duffey had a good amount of experience and has played well in his place. Fans may member Duffey having a career day against Texas in Lubbock last season, throwing for 4 touchdowns and over 400 yards. Duffey is also a very capable runner, which is something to keep in mind when considering how Texas has performed against dual-threat quarterbacks this season.
SaRodorick Thompson has carried the majority of the load at running back for all the Red Raiders all season. Thompson has 680 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns. Ta’Zhawn Henry is a speedy back who is utilized heavily in the passing game, but he is currently banged up and it is not known if he will play Friday.
The Texas secondary will have their hands full with several extremely talented Texas Tech receivers. 6’6 TJ Vasher leads the team in receiving touchdowns with 6 and is a nightmare in the red zone. Duffey’s favorite target out of the slot is Dalton Rigdon, but he is also battling an injury and is questionable. Regardless of his status, expect to also see Erik Ezukanma and RJ Turner be involved in the passing attack.
The primary downfall for Kliff Kingsbury was his inability to field a defense that could complement his high powered offense. The Red Raiders have continued to struggle defensively throughout Matt Well’s first season and it centers around their pass defense. The Red Raiders have been shredded through the air at times this season, which is not a recipe for success in the Big 12.
Eli Howard is the primary pass rusher to pay attention to, and he has a team-high 4.5 sacks. Linebacker Jordyn Brooks is another really good player who is having an All-Big 12 type of season with 20 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. If Texas is able to slow down those two guys, it should really allow for the offense to open up and the Longhorns should have their way with the Texas Tech defense.
As mentioned above, the Red Raiders have not been good against the pass. Zech McPhearson is a transfer from Penn State who occupies one of the starting corner spots. Demon Smith holds down the other spot. Both players are decent but have a tendency to give up big plays when facing good receivers.
This has the makings of a game that could turn into a shootout. Texas has seemingly shown significant improvement defensively the past few weeks, but the Red Raiders have a lot of weapons offensively and Todd Orlando’s history against mobile quarterbacks should be concerning for Longhorn fans. If Texas corrects whatever has been plaguing the offense the past two weeks, they should win this game, but it is impossible to know how the Longhorns will respond with the way this season wrapped up.
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