Three weeks ago, this would have looked quite a bit different. 8-0 and ranked in the Top 10 of the BCS, Texas Tech looked to be a solid opponent for the Bears. However, three straight losses, including two at home, have dampened the hype surrounding this game. Right now, the Baylor Bears are the only one still realistically in the conference championship race while the Red Raiders simply look to right the ship.
|Date||Sat., Nov. 16 | 6:00 p.m. CT|
|Location||Arlington, Texas | AT&T Stadium (80,000)|
|Radio||ESPN Central Texas | Sirius 117 | XM 202|
|Online Audio||Listen Online|
|Gameday Info||Gameday Central|
|Ticket Info|| |
The Red Raiders have plummeted down the rankings the past three weeks after losing to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They are a middle of the pack team now, at 7-3 (4-3). The only ranking that has them above 43 is RealTimeRPI, who has had a higher view of the Big 12 so far this year. The rankings reflect the large point spread set at -27 for the Bears.
While the Bears offense keeps on rolling, the Red Raiders defense has hit a huge speed bump the past few weeks. They are no longer an average defense, having allowed 38, 52, and 49 points in their past three games. Tech has primarily struggled in the running game, having allowed a staggering 849 rushing yards and 5.66 yards per carry over the past three weeks. The Tech run defense is just atrocious right now, and now has to face one of the best running teams in the country in Baylor.
While the Texas Tech defense might have its struggles, this is the best offense the Bears will have seen in 2013. They are 23rd in scoring average per game and lead the nation with 408.2 passing yards per game. They really focus on their aerial attack and do it the same way they did it back under Mike Leach. The Red Raiders will throw early, often and as their primary focus. They do run the ball a bit more under Kingsbury, but still only attempt a run 34% of the time. They average the 106th most rushing yards per game at 122.30.
The Bears defense has not run into a single pass first offense yet this year, strange to consider that in the Big 12 after 5 conference games. This will be the first offense with the strength of attacking the Bears defense through the air. However, they are still not a big play passing offense, averaging just 7.2 yards per pass attempt (68th in the country). Their attack is designed for shorter passes and quick strikes, which helps them allow only 2.10 sacks per game.
Players to Watch
The star of the Red Raider offense is their tight end Jace Amaro. A matchup nightmare, Amaro is 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds with good athleticism and excellent hands. He is averaging 110 yards receiving per game, and has a team leading 88 catches. Their other big threat offensively is wide out Eric Ward, who is the team leader in touchdown receptions with 7.
In the running game, Texas Tech runs out multiple backs led by Kenny Williams and Deandre Washington. Williams is the larger of the two, while Washington is a speed back who can make big plays. Neither run a ton, but is involved in the passing game as well with a combined 51 receptions on the year.
Getting all of their weapons the ball is freshman Davis Webb, who is coming off the worst game of his career against Kansas State. Backup, and former starter Baker Mayfield, came in to replace Webb and threw for over 275 yards. Both freshmen quarterbacks have gone back and forth as the starter, so it will be interesting to see who Coach Kingsbury goes with against the Bears.
The Red Raiders are led defensively by Will Smith, a 220 pound linebacker in his first year starting as a senior. Smith is the starting weak-side middle linebacker along with Terrance Bullitt, Sam Eguavoen and Pete Robinson, none of which are over 225 pounds. Kerry Hyder at defensive end is the more impactful player on the defensive line with a team best 10.5 tackles for loss and is third on the team in sacks with 2.
What do the Red Raiders want to do?
Simply put, they want to throw the ball. They are a passing team again, like back in the old days when Kliff Kingsbury used to throw the pigskin around for Mike Leach. Okay, old days means a decade, but still, this is a return to "roots" for the Red Raiders. They do utilize tight end Jace Amaro quite a bit more than any Red Raider offense has in the past, and they do attack the middle more with vertical routes when they have a chance, but you will see mostly slants, hitches and curl routes from their wide receivers.
Defensively, the Red Raiders are simply lost. They started out the year being simply an average defense, against a rather soft schedule. However, in the past three weeks, they have been dreadful against the run. Their pass defense numbers are propped up by the fact that offenses simply can run the ball at will against Tech, so why risk a bad pass?
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