Who Dey? — Texas Tech

Inside, a look at Colorado's next opponent, the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

at Folsom Field • Oct. 14 • 1:30 p.m. (MT) • (no TV)
Head Coach: Mike Leach (7th season)
2006 Record: 4-2, 1-1

Texas Tech ranks third in NCAA passing — behind only New Mexico State and Hawaii — and averages 352 yards per game through the air. Running Mike Leach's spread offense, Red Raider quarterbacks have completed 68 percent of their passes. Most of those have been by sophomore Graham Harrell, who's thrown for over 1,900 yards in six games.

The TTU offensive line — which uses freakishly wide splits between its five players in the offensive scheme — is led by seniors, center Brandon Jones and guard Manuel Ramirez.

Robert Johnson and Joel Filani both have over 40 catches at wideout, but TTU will also throw to its running backs, and starting tailback Shannon Woods has 36 catches. Last week against Baylor, Colorado gave up more yards than expected to a Bears trap play. Woods, meanwhile, averages 6.4 yards per carry in 11 carries a game.

Also of note, Johnson, the 6-1 senior who leads TTU with 46 catches this season, is reportedly not making the trip to Boulder due to disciplinary reasons.

Player to Watch: While most of the prolific Texas Tech quarterbacks under Leach have been seniors, Harrell is the exception. He ran the spread offense in high school, and was named starter this fall camp as a third-year sophomore. The 6-3, 197-pounder has already thrown 18 touchdown passes this fall.

Tech plays a 4-3 base defense. Starting safeties Joe Garcia (47 tackles) and Darcel McBath (38) lead the Red Raiders in tackles and have caught the eyes of CU coaches.

The fact that its safeties are the team's leading tacklers gives a clue to the fact that opponents have found their way into the Tech third line of defense often in 2006. The Red Raiders are giving up 143 yards per game on the ground, 11th in the Big 12. Tech's pass defense, however, has fared much better, allowing just 147.3 yards per game, best in the conference and 8th in the country.

Overall, this is a better Tech defense than the ones under Leach in his first few seasons in Lubbock. And one of the reasons a Tech defense will always give up lots of yards over the course of a season is that the Tech offense is a quick-strike outfit. They're on and off the field quicker than most offenses. Opponents are averaging more than three minutes per game in time of possession than TTU is this season, but Tech outscores opponents by an average of 12 points, nonetheless.

Player to Watch: Sophomore defensive end Jake Ratliff is 6-feet-8 inches tall and has batted down three passes this season, including one that helped preserve a win at UTEP.

Senior punter Alex Reyes is second in the Big 12 with a 46.9-yard punting average.

Texas Tech 2006 Statistical Leaders
PASSING: Graham Harrell 188-277-1,901, 18 TD, 4 INT
RUSHING: Shannon Woods 67-426/6.4, 3 TD
RECEIVING: Robert Johnson 46/8.8, 6 TD
TACKLES: Joe Garcia 47
SACKS: Keyunta Dawson 2.5
INT: Two tied with 2
PUNTING: Alex Reyes 19/46.9
PR: Danny Amendola 24-10.8
KOR: Woods 10/19.9

NOTES: Folsom Stadium is one of only two stadiums in the Big 12 where Texas Tech has never won – the other being Missouri's Faurot Field.

Prediction: The Buffs should be able to run the ball vs. the Red Raiders, but will struggle defending Tech's well-oiled spread offense.

Texas Tech 35, Colorado 24

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