Playing Against a Stacked Deck

Time is running out on the season, the Red Raiders are facing a lot of challenges heading into BU.

There are hundreds of clichés to describe Texas Tech's game with Baylor on November 26 in Cowboy Stadium. It all comes down to this - this one's for all the marbles, and there is no tomorrow are just a few that come to mind.

But there is one cliché that absolutely no one wants to hear: There's always next year.

There is only one connotation that could possibly be tied to that phrase being uttered after the Red Raiders take on the Baylor Bears on Saturday, and no Tech fan wants to even think about that scenario.

Texas Tech puts their 18-year bowl eligibility streak on the line two days after Thanksgiving and Tech Quarterback Seth Doege said no Red Raider wants to be on the team that breaks the streak.

"We're going to do everything we can this next week to make sure we're prepared," he said, "and make sure we're ready to go come Saturday."

Tech will not have it easy in Cowboys Stadium. The Red Raiders are on a four game losing streak, and just to be ironic, the Red Raiders may be without four running backs.

Eric Stephens is out for the year with a dislocated knee, Ronnie Daniels will not play, Deandre Washington went down with an injury on Saturday and Aaron Crawford will at least be hobbled after suffering an ankle injury in Columbia as well.

Texas Tech Head Coach Tommy Tuberville said it is going to be a tough week, not just for preparation, but just for trying to find enough players to fill in for all the injuries they have had.

"We're going to have to rearrange some players and work a lot on kicking game," he said. "We had guys on coverage teams and return teams tonight that hadn't played, so it will be a week of learning, like a spring practice week in trying to get guys to understand what to do in certain situations."

Texas Tech lost Alex Torres Saturday in the first quarter and Austin Zousalik has been ruled out for the season with a concussion putting the return teams in scramble mode to try and find someone just to fill in for the time being.

Nothing seems to be going Tech's way. It all started with the injury to Darrin Moore in the third game of the season against Nevada. Moore went down with a hip and ankle injury in the first drive of the game and he all but disappeared from the stat sheet up until the Missouri game.

Then there was the injury to Eric Stephens in the game October 8th against Texas A&M. Stephens was the first running back to run for over 100 yards on the Aggies, and almost immediately after he crossed the 100 yard mark, he dislocated his knee and was ruled out for the season.

And on down the line it goes for Texas Tech with injuries on the offensive line, in the backfield and the receiving core.

If there were ever a season to where a Tech fan would look back and excuse the Red Raiders from making a bowl game, it would be this year.

With all that being said, the season is not over. Tech has one game left. But they are facing the second ranked offense in the nation and the national leader in yards per game in Robert Griffin.

It would also be necessary to mention the Red Raiders are 115th in the nation in total defense.

Texas Tech has lost their last four games. They have given up 190 points in the process and it seems the only healthy people on or around the team is the coaching staff.

The Red Raiders have a chance. They just have to beat Baylor at 7 p.m. on national television in Cowboys Stadium.

Baylor also just beat Oklahoma.

Tech beat Oklahoma too. Then they lost four games in a row. Baylor cannot get overconfident, because the Red Raiders could do the same thing Iowa State did after Tech beat the Sooners.

Tech's offensive coordinator Neal Brown said the team never lost confidence despite the three previous losses and the one on Saturday.

He said it is time for the Red Raiders to just go out and win one.

"Big game next week, regardless if we won or not, rivalry game, playing in Cowboy Stadium," he said. "Our kids will be up, we'll get people ready to go that aren't injured, and we'll have a good plan, and we'll have a great opportunity to go and win."

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