Red Raider Offense vs. Longhorn Defense
It was awfully quiet last Saturday in Jones SBC Stadium when Kansas State held the lead late in the second quarter. For a while, it appeared that the game was going to come down to the wire, as Tech and KSU matched each other's scoring drives. The Red Raiders only led 17-13 at halftime, and Texas Tech fans were worried. However, Tech once again played two completely different halves of football. The Red Raiders came out on a mission and scored a Playstation-esque 28 points in the third quarter. The entire second half was nearly flawless for Texas Tech, with the only miscue coming on a KSU kickoff return for touchdown. The offense was magnificent, with Cody Hodges accruing 643 yards and five touchdowns. Additionally, four receivers had over a hundred yards on the day, and Joel Filani had another huge performance, setting the conference single-game receiving record with 255 yards on the afternoon. Still, the Red Raiders will need to play like that for BOTH halves of football in this weekend's huge game against the Texas Longhorns.
There are still some issues with the Red Raider offense that need to be addressed by this weekend if the Red Raiders are going to have a chance at the win in Austin. First of all, the offensive line must play their best game all year, and keep Texas' talented D-Line from pressuring Hodges. Also, turnovers are especially unacceptable against a team like Texas, because they will nearly always turn them into points. Finally, Hodges must not take the deep sacks that he has so far this year. The Longhorn defense will attack relentlessly if they smell blood in the water.
Still, keep in mind that the Red Raider offense is as prolific as ever, having scored at least thirty points in each of their first six games with a nation-leading average of nearly 54 points per game. However, Texas is only giving up 14.5 points per game, so it will be interesting to see which end succumbs on Saturday. This is arguably the most important game for Texas Tech in many years, so the Red Raiders should be as motivated as ever. The Longhorns are also on a high after coming off a blowout win over Colorado. The difference between the two is that many have already counted Texas Tech out in this one, which might create some overconfidence on the UT sideline. If Texas refuses to take the Red Raiders seriously, they could be in for a rude awakening with another blown shot at the national title. However, if they realize the importance of this game, they have the capability of ruining the Red Raiders' BCS hopes.
Other than last year's rout, the past few matchups between TTU and UT have been close, hard-fought wins. The Red Raiders won by four in Lubbock in 2002, and UT won the last meeting in Austin by three in 2003. This year, both UT and TTU are fielding their strongest teams in years, and this game should decide the winner of the Big 12 South, perhaps the Big 12. College Gameday will be at this one, so there isn't much more publicity that this game could get. This Saturday, we find out if Texas has what it takes to be a national championship team, or if Texas Tech can finally prove to the nation that they are rapidly becoming a powerhouse program.