Shape of the Game: Texas

Texas Tech can wrap the regular season with a rare victory over rival Texas. The Red Raiders have not defeated the Longhorns since 2008 and have not won in Austin since 1997.

KEY TEXAS STATS
CATEGORYSTATNATIONAL RANK
Field Goal Percentage94%No. 3
Turnover Margin+ .7No. 22
Sacks Per Game2.6No. 29
Interceptions Per Game.9No. 78
Red Zone TD Percentage52.94No.102
Rush Yards Allowed Per Game184.9No. 84
Pass Yards Allowed Per Game207.2No. 24
Yards Allowed Per Punt15.33No. 117
Yards Allowed Per Kick25.97No. 122
Sacks Allowed Per Game1.2No. 25


The 2013 University of Texas football season has been one of waves. Excluding what was essentially an exhibition game against New Mexico State to open the year, the Longhorns began the season at low ebb. In weeks two and three, Texas was shellacked by BYU and Mississippi State, and there was talk that Mack Brown would not survive the season.

In response, Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, replaced him with Greg Robinson, and the team came to life. The Longhorns reeled off six straight conference wins, a 36-20 bombing of Oklahoma the most impressive among them. Texas was at high tide.

But now the tide seems to be slowly turning against the Longhorns. Texas barely snuck past a weak West Virginia squad, winning 47-40 in overtime. Then Oklahoma State snapped UT's winning streak, pasting the Horns 38-13 before a disconsolate throng in Austin.

Now a Texas Tech team that has been underwater for a solid month arrives to clash with the Horns on Senior Day. If nothing else, we will see two teams desperate for a win.

On the whole, Texas has been a mediocre football team in 2013. Despite a wealth of talent in the backfield and on the line, the Longhorns do not have a devastating ground attack. Then again, Tech's run defense has been so porous that it may not matter. Likewise, the Longhorn passing attack is only average, although Texas has done a good job of protecting quarterback Case McCoy. Additionally, Texas' red zone touchdown offense has been among the nation's worst.

The Texas defense, traditionally one of the elite units in the nation, has taken a bit of a dive this season. Teams have run against the Longhorns to the tune of 185 yards per game, and that's a bad number for UT.

In terms of pass defense, it's a mixed bag. The Horns have not intercepted many passes, but their pass efficiency and total pass defense have been top 25 caliber. Likewise, Texas has done a good job of pressuring quarterbacks. In general, the Longhorns have done a better job against the pass than the run.

Outside of kicker Anthony Fera, who has connected on 17 of 18 field goal attempts, Texas has issues on special teams. Specifically, the Longhorns have done a terrible job of covering punts and kickoffs. In combination, Texas may be the worst coverage team in the nation.

Under Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech has met the school's traditionally high standards on offense. The Red Raiders score a lot, and they pass the ball just about as well as anybody. Still, look for Tech to struggle occasionally against a physical UT defensive front, but also expect the Red Raiders to get in their licks. Tech will score some points in Austin.

But oh that defense. Good play earlier in the season was merely an illusion spun by weak competition. As the opposition improved and the defensive injuries piled up, the Tech defense proved helpless to stop the run, and has been almost as hapless against the pass. In four straight losses, the Red Raider defense has allowed 51 points per contest.

Now Texas' ground game is not as good as its talent, but Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and a blue chip offensive line will be more than adequate to roll up huge ground yardage against the Red Raiders. And that fact precludes a Texas Tech win.

The Final Call: Texas 48 Texas Tech 32

Raider Power Top Stories