We caught up with raiderpower.com's Jarret Johnson, to talk Texas Tech vs Baylor. The game will be televised Nationally on ABC, at 2:30 pm, from AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, TX.
1. Kingsbury said Mahomes would be D2D. If he does play, how do you think this affects their game plan, if at all?
First off, Kingsbury says every player with so much as a cramp is day-to-day so don't read anything into that either way. Mahomes is going to play, but the question is how close to 100 percent he'll be. Mahomes' health changes EVERYTHING. His dual threat ability keeps defenses honest which opens up things for all of Tech's playmakers. He would prefer to scramble around and find a receiver down the field for big plays, but he is equally adept at ripping off 10-20 yard runs to keep drives alive. If he's mobile Tech can hang with anybody in the country, if not the offense is a lot less potent, but it still put up 52 points on a top five team last week.
2. Texas Tech has been on fire, on offense, early. What do you attribute the early success to?
As is the case with all the powerful offenses in the Big 12 it starts with the quarterback, but it really is the whole group. Yes, Mahomes has been fantastic, but Tech's backfield is as loaded as it's been since before the Air Raid era hit Lubbock with senior DeAndre Washington, home run hitter Justin Stockton and some younger guys coming up in the system. The receiving corps has become a much more physical group in terms of blocking for one another and in the run game plus boasts a lot of speed with Devin Lauderdale, Jakeem Grant and Reggie Davis, though it suffered a big blow with the leg injury to slot receiver Ian Sadler (who of course is day-to-day). Then up front Tech returns four starters from a season ago, including two-time All-Big 12 left tackle Le'Raven Clark. The big uglies have given up just one sack and overall been fantastic this season.
3. Outside of Mahomes, who is someone Baylor fans should look out for for Tech on offense?
I'm tempted to go with Washington who is coming off a career day against TCU, but I would say Jakeem Grant. He has been Tech's biggest playmaker in the receiving corps this season and is one of the most dangerous kick returners in the Big 12. He has already caught two passes for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown, returned a kick for a touchdown and thrown a pass for a touchdown in four games. He also leads the team in catches (29) and yards (413). After not dropping a pass in the first three games, Grant dropped three last week. I expect the senior to bounce back in a big way as he has been known to do for most of his career.
4. Tech had a better day slowing down the run Sunday, but it seems it is still a troublesome area for them. With Baylor leading the Country in rushing, what will the game plan be to slow down the explosive Baylor attack?
This defense has actually done better against power running teams such as Arkansas and UTEP than against spread attacks such as TCU and Sam Houston State. Baylor presents a different challenge because of the creative ways it spreads out defenses with its formations and then will ground and pound. Tech has made a big leap forward defensively this season, but there was never any question whether the Red Raiders were going to give a lot of yards and points and they have. All defensive coordinator David Gibbs has wanted to do is give Kliff Kingsbury's offense the ball back late in the fourth with a chance to win and he has done that every game this season, including last week against TCU. Actually almost twice against the Horned Frogs. Baylor's going to do some damage on the ground, but I think Tech's more concerned about contending with that receiving corps than anything else.
5. This game is consistently a shootout each year. With the close loss last week, how do you see Tech handling this game emotionally and how do you see this game playing out?
This team is made up a strong core of seniors who have been apart of some major upset wins and historically demoralizing losses plus a talented 2014 class which was forced into the fire last season. This is a tough, veteran squad who truly believes they can hang with anybody. TCU was the team emotionally they wanted to beat for sure, but the sense around the facility is there will be no problem getting up to play another top five in-state rival, especially at Jerry World, a venue the players all love to play in. If anything the players seem really angry.