Match ups: Tech vs. Northwestern State

Scott Fitzgerald looks at some of the match ups to watch in this weekends season opener for the Red Raiders.

Red Raider run defense vs. Northwestern State Rushing Attack

It's no secret that the Texas Tech run defense needs to improve if the win column is going to improve in 2012.

The non-conference, while not a sure thing is going to be a decent indicator as to how much improvement the defense will improve this season.

While not big, formidable tests from an overall talent or program standpoint, Tech fans saw some things last season's non-conference schedule that should have been a concern moving forward.

Texas State and Nevada had 256 and 302 yards rushing, respectively against the Red Raiders. That was a sign of things to come with the Big 12 Conference opponents taking notice and game-planning against the Red Raiders' biggest weakness.

Northwestern State isn't a force to be reckoned with offensively. They managed 95 total yards in their game against LSU a season ago and only 126 yards of total offense vs. SMU in 2011 as well.

The Demons return 9 starters on offense, but the unit struggled to score points last season, even against its Southland Conference opponents.

But the Red Raiders can use this game as a trial run for some of the offensive attacks they will see in Big 12 play. From what I have seen and found, the offense is predicated on a quarterback option. Iowa State, Kansas State both will run similar offenses and gave the Red Raiders trouble last year. While the talent won't match up to a Big 12 opponent, the opportunity for recognition and opportunities for improvement will be able to be found.

Also look for this to be a building block for Texas State next week. Again, the talent level of the first two opponents as a whole may not be there, but if the numbers trend down and players are attacking the ball on defense and total rushing yards are cut way down, that could do wonders for this defense's confidence.

Biggest mismatch: Northwestern State corners vs. Texas Tech Outside receivers.

Mr. Ward, Mr. Moore, Mr. Bell, Mr. Marquez, meet the NWSt starting cornerbacks, both sophomores.

Welcome to Texas, kids. The safties for the demons are seniors, but seniors that were part of a unit that gave up 536 yards of offense to SMU last season and over 400 of those through the air. It could be a long night for the demons. 

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