Game Preview: Texas Tech vs. Colorado

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3, 2-1) take their aerial attack on the road against the Colorado Buffaloes (5-2, 3-0). Texas Tech is coming of a 52-38 victory over the Missouri Tigers. Colorado is currently on a 4 game winning streak. Their last game was a 34-0 victory over the Baylor Bears.

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Slow Down the Run – The defense needs to do a better job against the run this week. They don't need to shut down Colorado's ground game, but they do need to get some stops so the offense has more chances to score.
Protect the Ball – If Colorado's ball control offense is successful, the Red Raiders will have to make the most of every possession. Any turnovers by Texas Tech will probably cost them the game.
Special Teams – Texas Tech needs to avoid giving up any long returns in this game. Colorado is too good to allow them good field position. The Red Raiders also need to cut down on mental errors on returns. Texas Tech cannot afford to lose field position because of bad returns.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Texas Tech's spread offense revolves around senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, the nations leading passer. Kingsbury is coming off a game in which he threw for a Big 12 record 510 yards against Missouri. This season Kingsbury has passed for 364.5 yards a game, and 28 touchdowns. Kingsbury does a good job spreading the ball to his various receivers in this offense. His favorite target has been running back Taurean Henderson, who has caught 53 passes this season. Wes Welker leads the receivers in yardage with 84.1 yards per game. Receiver Anton Paige leads the team with 7 touchdown receptions on the season. Running back Taurean Henderson is also the leader of the Red Raider ground game. He does great work on a limited number of carries, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Henderson could be important if Colorado decides to drop extra players into coverage.

Colorado will probably adopt a soft zone against the Red Raiders' spread attack. The Buffaloes primary defensive set is a 4-2-5. The extra safety is often used in run support, but expect him to be in coverage most of the game against Texas Tech. Free Safety Medford Moorer leads the team with 55 tackles. Colorado uses blitzes from the linebacker and safeties to apply pressure to the quarterback. It will be interesting to see how much the Buffaloes are willing to blitz against the spread offense. The defensive line will try to stop the Texas Tech ground game. They are at a size disadvantage against the Texas Tech offensive line.

When Colorado Has the Ball
Colorado's offense is all about the run. Led by Running Back Chris Brown the Buffaloes will look to use their ball control offense to not only score points, but also keep the Texas Tech offense on the sidelines. Chris Brown is averaging 164.9 yards per game, and 7 yards per carry. Brown's ability to find the holes that Colorado's offensive line creates will be the key to their offense. The Buffaloes' quarterback is Robert Hodge. Hodge won't throw very much in this offense. When he does throw he does a good job avoiding turnovers.

Run defense has been a problem for the Red Raiders all season. It will be crucial for the defensive tackles to hold their ground against the Colorado offensive line. Defensive ends Aaron Hunt and Adell Duckett will try to keep the Colorado running backs from turning the corner and heading up field. The linebackers also face a daunting task this week. Middle linebacker Lawrence Flugence, who leads the conference in tackles, will have to avoid getting caught up in the offensive line as he tries to tackle Colorado backs. John Saldi has been playing well at the outside linebacker position ever since he took over the starting spot two games ago. The defensive backs will be the last line of run defense. They need to make the open field tackles when they have the chance. One change worth noting is that running back Vincent Meeks has been moved to the free safety position. He won't be starting, but he will probably see some playing time. Meeks' speed could be an asset to the Texas Tech defense.

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