Notebook: Tech Weekly Media Luncheon

The Red Raiders (7-4, 4-4 in the Big 12) will look to snap not only a four-game losing streak this season, but a four-year drought against rival Texas (7-3, 6-1) 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Also, Tech tight end Jace Amaro gets snubbed and defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt defends his players.

If it seems like a long time ago since Texas Tech was able to celebrate a victory, it has been even longer since the Red Raiders have triumphed over Texas.

After opening the season 7-0, capped by a terrific 37-27 comeback victory over West Virginia in Morgantown, Tech has dropped four consecutive decisions by an average of 19.5 points per game.

The Red Raiders (7-4, 4-4 in the Big 12) will look to snap not only a four-game losing streak this season, but a four-year drought against rival Texas (7-3, 6-1) 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Bragging rights, recruiting positioning and the momentum of both programs will be on the line.

"I think as many eyes as you're going to have on you in the state especially after watching that game Thanksgiving, I think it's big for our university.," said Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday during his weekly press conference. "There are a lot of games that could have changed the way people viewed this season. When you lose four in a row, that's how it goes. But to us, it's an opportunity to play our best game, and we've been waiting to do that."

The Red Raiders' last victory over the Longhorns came in 2008 on the infamous last-second Michael Crabtree touchdown reception from Graham Harrell.

Tech hasn't beaten UT in Austin since 1997 and is 0-7 over that span, losing by an average of 26 points.

"The psyche of trying to break the culture around here is a work in progress and is not going to flip overnight," Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said. "But certainly a game like this, against UT on a national stage, to come out with a W would be a huge shot in the arm for this program and send our seniors out of the regular season on a high note."

Senior defensive lineman Kerry Hyder is returning to his hometown looking to defeat Texas for the first time in his career. Hyder, who will be making his 41st start in a Tech uniform on Thursday, said Monday the team is ready.

"The stage is set up for us. You can't pick a better stage. Thanksgiving night in Austin. Definitely for me growing up five minutes from the stadium, it will definitely be a moment to remember."

Amaro snubbed
The list of finalists for the John Mackey Award was released Monday and to many observers' surprise junior tight end Jace Amaro wasn't on it. Despite leading all tight ends in the nation in both receptions (92) and yards (1,157) this season, Amaro was omitted from the final group. The list includes Eric Ebron (North Carolina), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington) and Nick O'Leary (Florida State), who have 108 receptions combined this season.

Coach Wally defends players
Texas Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt opened up his turn at the podium Monday by defending his players.

"The last four weeks we certainly have been kicked in the teeth. We've played good at times and have spiraled out of control at times. But I would not trade Tre' Porter, Terrance Bullitt, Kerry Hyder, Dartwan Bush or any of our seniors for anybody else in this league or country. I'm proud of my guys. They have set the standard early for what we expect in those first seven ballgames.
"We went back to fundamentals this week to address tackling, to address pursuit angles and to address doing your job and having trust with the guys around you. And we're really looking forward to the opportunity here on Thanksgiving night against Texas."

Quick hits
- Texas Tech has never played Texas in a regular-season finale.

- Tech has defeated Texas in Austin five times: 1997, 1993, 1989, 1967 and 1955.

- The last time Tech played an unranked Texas team was in 1997.

- A win by Tech on Thursday would mark just the second season since 1998 Texas has lost three or more games at DKR. The Longhorns lost five home games in 2010.

- Tech is the No.1 team in the country in passing yards per game with 400.2.

- Texas in No. 25 in the nation in passing yards allowed per game at 207.2.

- Texas averages 192.7 rushing yards per game.

- Tech allows 186.5 rushing yards per game.

- Texas is tied for No. 23 in the nation with 23 turnovers gained this season.

- Tech is tied for No. 115 in the nation with 28 turnovers lost this season.

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