Texas Tech vs. Florida Intl.

RaiderPower.com previews the Red Raider defense for their upcoming matchup with Florida International

Texas Tech has not been known in recent years for having a tough defense, but that may not be the case for much longer. The defense has shown improvement year after year and appears poised for a breakout year in 2005. This Red Raider defense could very well be the quickest, strongest, and most talented group in the Mike Leach era. Also, the emergence of leaders at nearly every key position has helped form one of the most close-knit units in years. Needless to say, this does not bode well for opposing offenses. This Saturday, the Red Raider defense has a chance to make a statement against the FIU Golden Panthers.

Florida International's offense struggled against Kansas State, only netting 236 total yards on the afternoon. The Red Raiders have the ability to better K-State's number if they play to their potential, and could even keep FIU's score in the single digits. However, question marks still remain in the Texas Tech lineup for this weekend. It is unclear at this point whether Vincent Meeks will play because of some off-the-field issues. Also, several players are nursing injuries which might not be worth risking reaggravation this early in the season. Even considering all of this, FIU still should not have any threat that the Tech defense cannot neutralize.

The Golden Panther offense is led by Josh Padrick, who put up mediocre numbers against the Wildcats last weekend. He threw for 154 yards with one interception and one touchdown on the afternoon. FIU's biggest weapon is in Chandler Williams, who leads the receiving corps. Still, FIU should have greater difficulty passing against Texas Tech's talented secondary than they did against the Wildcats. Thus, if they can't get the ground game going, it might be a long afternoon for the Golden Panthers.

In order to stay in the game, Florida International must keep their offense on the field and the Mike Leach machine off of it. The FIU offense will have done their duty if they win the time of possession battle. However, if they cannot find a way to slow down the tempo of the game, this one could get ugly. Nevertheless, the winner of this game will be college football. FIU gets some time in the spotlight by playing against a nationally ranked opponent, and Texas Tech gets an opportunity to work out the kinks before facing some tough Big 12 opponents. And there's still nothing like a college football home opener on a beautiful Saturday.

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