On paper, it appears unlikely that the Red Raiders will have difficulty getting the offense going against the Golden Panthers. However, this is college football, where anything can happen. Just ask Oklahoma. Keep in mind that this is Tech's first game, and that it is entirely possible that preseason All-American wide receiver Jarrett Hicks will sit out the game for disciplinary reasons. Although Texas Tech has loads of talent to back him up in the receiving corps, Hicks' in-game experience and composure will be missed if he does not play.
Fortunately, the Red Raiders have a capable leader at the quarterback position in fifth-year Senior Cody Hodges. His performance in a few games last season was nothing short of brilliant, as were most of his practices this year. Thus far, he has shown much more composure and poise than would be expected from someone who hasn't started a game since his high school days. Hodges has the potential to dissect the FIU defense and turn this game into a blowout in a hurry. Still, as with any season opener, the team may not all be on the same page on every snap, which can lead to costly turnovers.
Turnovers are what kept the game closer than expected in Florida International's opener against Big 12 opponent Kansas State, with the final score ending up KSU 35, FIU 21. The Golden Panther defense forced the Wildcats to lose possession on three fumbles and an interception. They still had trouble stopping KSU from moving the ball, as the Wildcats put up over 400 yards of offense. K-State embarrassed FIU's run defense by gaining 246 yards on the ground, with the other 161 yards coming from the passing game.
Florida International's performance last Saturday proves that they can be beaten even if a few mistakes are made, which should further lessen Texas Tech's concern towards this game. Perhaps this complacency is the Red Raiders' weakness, as Florida International would love nothing more than to pull off a surprise upset over a ranked opponent. If Tech takes this game seriously, they should easily put up 50+ points with their superior talent and depth. Expect Cody Hodges, Taurean Henderson, Danny Amendola, or Robert Johnson to have a big game. Then again, maybe they all will.