Texas Tech - New Mexico Preview

Red Raiders look to show more improvement against New Mexico and notch their second win in 2011.

Texas Tech travels to Albuquerque to play the New Mexico Lobos at 2:30 central time Saturday afternoon in a game that will be nationally televised on the Versus network. The Red Raiders enter the game 1-0 after not playing in week two. In the Red Raiders' 50-10 win against Texas State to open the season, Texas Tech played astoundingly differently in the second half than in the first. Trailing 10-9 at halftime, the Red Raiders found their rhythm and crushed Texas State 50-10.

New Mexico continues its unfortunate quest of digging deeper into the cellar. Mike Locksley is 0-2 in this his third season at New Mexico and a paltry 2-24 overall.  Last week, the Lobos played at #14 Arkansas. New Mexico committed no turnovers and allowed zero sacks of QB and lost the game 52-3. Combine that with New Mexico's 14-10 loss at home to Colorado, and this could spell trouble for the Lobos.

The New Mexico offense is led by Taurean Austin, a sophomore from Tampa, Florida. On the season, Austin is 35-59 for 341 yards and one score.  Austin is also the team's 2nd leading rusher with 88 yards on 32 carries. His touchdown pass represents New Mexico's only touchdown of the season.  Behind Austin is junior B.R. Holbrook. He is 7-10 for 40 yards on the season.

The Lobos top RB is James Wright, a senior from Dallas, who has 89 yards on 22 carries. Wright had a long run of 15 yards against Colorado State in their week one loss and long of nine yards in last week's 52-3 loss to Arkansas. Behind Wright in rushing is the aforementioned Austin and after him is junior WR Lamaar Thomas, a transfer from Ohio State. He has four rushes for 26 yards with a long of 16 so far this year. 

New Mexico's leading receiver is Deon Long, a freshman from Washington, D.C. Long has 12 receptions for 126 yards. Behind him is Taylor, who has seven catches for 94 yards and the lone receiving TD. Unfortunately for New Mexico, Taylor suffered a broken bone in his back against Arkansas and will miss the Texas Tech game and possibly a couple more.

Texas Tech is led by junior QB Seth Doege. In week one action, Doege played well. He finished the game against Texas State 23-33 for 326 yards and three scores with no INTs. Doege's backfield mate, Eric Stephens, also had something of a breakout performance. Stephens, a junior from Mansfield, rushed 21 times for 118 yards and two scores. He also eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for his career.  

Aside from Stephens, true freshman DeAndre Washington rushed six times for 38 yards and a score. Of note for the New Mexico game is the status of Ronnie Daniels, a true freshman RB from Albuquerque and last year's New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year. He enrolled early and was a surprise contributor in Tech's spring drills but was held out of Tech's game against Texas State. According to media reports, Daniels is on the travel roster.

Texas Tech's unquestioned leader at WR is junior Darrin Moore.  He finished the Texas State game with 12 receptions for 221 yards and a score.  Outside of Moore, Alex Torres caught four balls for 58 yards, Eric Ward caught two for six yards and a score, RB Deandre Washington caught two for six yards, Cornelius Douglas caught two for 15, Tramain Swindall caught one for 20 yards and a score, Austin Zouzalik caught one for 10 yards and a score, and true freshman Bradley Marquez caught one pass for 10 yards and a score.

Expect Texas Tech's younger players to see plenty of action. Aside from breaking in a new defense, the Red Raiders also shuffled the positions for a number of the receivers. The Lobos always play a tough game against Texas Tech. A score similar to Arkansas' 49 point win is likely out of the question. The loss of junior Leon Mackey on the defensive line and the relative lack of depth on the offensive line will likely give New Mexico more chances to score than its previous two opponents.  However, between Ronnie Daniels' return home and defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow's new scheme, the Red Raiders have plenty of talent to gain some valuable experience in this game and win the contest handily.

Prediction:

Texas Tech 55

New Mexico 17


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