Offense vs. Defense
When Baylor has the ball
The Bears should be able to run all over the Red Raiders with or without Lache Seastrunk or Glasco Martin. Over the last three games, Tech is allowing 283 rushing yards per game, which is the 7th worst in the nation over any team's last three games. Baylor has a significant size and experience advantage in the box, where their offensive line should be able to push around any of the Tech front line players. Texas Tech is really struggling with injuries to their linebacker and safety group, which has put some less talented and experienced players into the lineup. Expect the Bears to attack the middle of the field in the run and pass game and take advantage of the weak spots.
When Texas Tech has the ball
This is the first truly good passing offense the Bears have played, so the back end of the defense will have to step up and play a larger role this week. Every game so far this year has seen the Bears defense load the box to take away the opposition's strength and make them pass the ball into single coverage. Against Tech, they will need to do the opposite as the Red Raiders receivers are very good isolated in man-to-man coverage, especially Jace Amaro and Eric Ward. This is a passing team that runs to make it even remotely possible for them to sink a safety into the box every once in a while or get a linebacker taking a wrong step toward the line of scrimmage, but they don't have to do that. The Red Raiders trust their wide receivers to simply beat the guys opposite of them on a quick move and then make something happen after the fact. Baylor will have to play tremendous coverage on the back end, and tackle solidly or watch the yards after the catch pile up.
The big question though will be who is under center for the Red Raiders. Right now Davis Webb and Michael Brewer are listed as co-starters, with Baker Mayfield behind them. It should not surprise anyone to see any of those three under center at any point of the game.
Fun Stats to Ponder
-Baylor outrushes Texas Tech by 172.08 yards per game (122.30 versus 294.38)
-Baylor averages 3 sacks per game and allows just 1.38 (Margin of 1.62), while Tech has a negative margin of .6 (2.1 allowed, 1.5 per game)
-Texas Tech has a -10 turnover margin (5th worst in the nation) while Baylor 17th best at +7
-Texas Tech is 2nd in the country in 10+ yard plays from scrimmage with 215 while Baylor has the 9th most with 181. However, Baylor has 26 more 20+ yard plays, 19 more 30+ yard plays, 21 more 40+ yard plays, and 14 more 50+ yard plays which the Bears lead the nation in all of those types of plays
-Baylor has also allowed the second fewest 10+ yard plays in the country at 77, while Texas Tech has allowed 132 (65th in the nation)
-Baylor has allowed the lowest TD conversion rate in the red-zone in the country (39.13%) while Texas Tech has scored touchdowns just 52.54% of their chances in the red-zone (102nd)
Keys to the Game
1. Disrupt the Wide Receivers – More than anything, the Tech passing game is predicated on timing. They are a well-oiled machine when the quarterback has the time and the pocket to make his quick reads, and when the wide receivers have an open release at the line of scrimmage. Baylor has not had to use a lot of nickel corner sets so far this year with all three of their top cornerbacks out there at a time, but you can expect that look against Tech. Demetri Goodson, K. J. Morton and Joe Williams will have to be at their best to shut down the Red Raider passing attack
2. Pressure the Quarterback – The other half of ruining a timing offense is with the pass rush and making the pocket as uncomfortable as possible. Baylor's pass rush has not been as effective the past two weeks, getting only 2 sacks against Kansas and 1 against Oklahoma. At times, Baylor has had to send extra blitzers to generate any pressure. With the Bears having to not worry about the rushing game of Tech as much, expect the four defensive look of Lloyd/Oakman/McCallister/Palmer to make an appearance in the game in key downs.
3. Corral Amaro – By far their best offensive weapon, Jace Amaro is having a spectacular season from his tight end position. He is an incredible matchup problem for any defense at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. He catches almost 9 passes per game, and is averaging 12.52 yard per catch. He gains over 110 yards per game, and is a key figure in everything they do. Who will be able to cover Amaro will be key for the Bears. Luckily they have Eddie Lackey and Ahmad Dixon who have the foot-speed and decent size to at least challenge Amaro.
4. Spread it around – The Bears offense is at its finest when it is getting the entire field involved, meaning spreading it around to the multitude of wide receivers Baylor puts on the field. Against Oklahoma, only three receivers caught a pass. This was the same against Kansa State, but the Bears responded against Iowa State. With Tevin Reese out for the remainder of the regular season, it becomes even more important to get the ball to several players to take the load off of Antwan Goodley. Look for Clay Fuller, Levi Norwood, Corey Coleman and Robbie Rhodes to be more involved in the game plan against Texas Tech.
5. Live in the moment – It is corny, it is cheesy, but it is essential. Baylor has to live in the moment, by the play, drive, quarter, half and game. They cannot get looking ahead to Oklahoma State next weekend. There is too much riding on every game this year to get caught looking past anyone. Tech is a dangerous offense, and they have given the Bears fits the last two season, but this isn't the same Baylor defense.