LUBBOCK — Texas Tech will try to avoid being 0-3 in Big 12 Conference play for the first time since the Big 12's inception in 1996.
Tech (2-2, 0-2 Big 12) allowed its most points since the loss to Texas A&M last season in its loss to Iowa State on Saturday and will have to contain Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin if it hopes to get back to winning and on pace to makes another bowl game this season.
Here are three keys to a Red Raiders victory.
3. Limit Mistakes
It feels like there was something more than just a football lost Saturday in Ames when Detron Lewis somehow dropped the football after a reception without so much as being touched on the field, giving Iowa State all the momentum to shift its way in a 24-24 game.
But it was more than just Lewis' fumble that led to Tech's demise. Bad penalties plagued Tech again and Austin Zouzalik even fumbled on a punt return for the first time. How Tech decides to respond in this game will more than likely shift the course of this season and the ideas of its fans.
And the Red Raiders aren't just playing a tough Baylor offense, but even the Bears' defense is on a roll right now. Baylor forced four turnovers in its 55-7 win over Kansas last week and sacked Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb three times while limiting the Jayhawks to just 270 yards.
2. A Quick Start
Nothing has lacked more this season than Tech's ability to score on its opening drive or even one of its first three opening drives this year. The Red Raiders have done so only once, scoring on a quick screen to Austin Zouzalik against New Mexico that wound up going for 55 yards.
Tech's offense needed at least four drives to score in its other three games and were shut out of the first quarter two of the three times (Texas, Iowa State). The biggest change appears to be when the passing game becomes the primary objective, showing somewhat of a selfish want that the coaches are desperate to prove the running game can be M.O. for the Red Raiders.
— Taylor Potts is 12 of 18 for 119 yards and one TD on opening drives this season and has one turnover (Texas).
— Tech ran the ball eight times for 34 yards (4.25 per carry) on opening drives this season.
— When Tech throws the ball at least four times on opening drive, the Red Raiders have gained at least 33 yards each time but have only one TD, a missed field goal and a punt to show for it.
— The only time Tech did not run the ball on its opening drive was when Zouzalik scored the 55-yard TD against New Mexico on the fourth play and pass of the opening drive.
1. Stop RG3
Stopping Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is a lot like trying to stop the Eagles' Michael Vick, according to Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Defensive coordinator James Willis said he might need 13 players on the field to stop him and even Tubs is amazed at not just the running ability by Griffin, but by how much his passing game has improved this season.
Griffin is averaging more than 44 rushing yards and 270 passing yards per game this season and accounted for 444 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Kansas last week.
Defending mobile quarterbacks has been a tough task for Tech defenses in the past but it will be interesting to see how linebackers Sam Fehoko, Bront Bird, Brian Duncan and others are able to contain Griffin and keep Baylor from getting the big plays Iowa State capitalized on against Tech last week.
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