Game Preview: Baylor vs. Texas Tech

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-4, 2-2) host the visiting Baylor Bears (3-5, 1-3). Texas Tech is coming off a disappointing 37-13 loss to Colorado. Baylor is on a three game losing streak. Their last game was a 44-10 loss to Kansas State.

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Protect the BallTexas Tech needs to improve in this department quickly. Last week the Red Raiders turned the ball over 5 times against Colorado.
Special Teams – Big returns were a problem last week. The Red Raiders need to tackle better when covering kicks. It would also be nice to see the return teams have some nice returns.
Intensity – Texas Tech needs to make sure they don't overlook Baylor. This is a crucial game for the Red Raiders. A loss on Saturday could keep them out of a bowl.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Texas Tech's senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury is coming off a bad game against Colorado. Kingsbury will have a much easier task this week as he faces Baylor in Lubbock. Kingsbury is the nation's leader in passing yards with 3,184 this season. He will have a wide assortment of receivers to throw the ball to this week. Wes Welker is the leads the receivers with 54 catches for 693 yards. Receiver Anton Paige leads the team with 7 touchdown receptions. Other receivers to watch include Carlos Francis and Nehemiah Glover. Running back Taurean Henderson continues to be on of the most consistent players on the team. Henderson leads the team with 64 receptions. Henderson is also averaging 5.1 yards per carry, and has scored 5 rushing touchdowns this season.

The Baylor defense has not been very good this season. Nose Tackle Ethan Kelley leads the Baylor defense with 51 tackles. He will face a tough matchup with the large Texas Tech offensive line. The Baylor linebackers will have the task of covering the numerous short passes that Texas Tech likes to throw. I'm not sure that they have the speed, so look for Kingsbury to have those passes available most of the game. The Baylor defensive backs will face on of the toughest jobs in this conference, covering the Texas Tech receivers. I expect Baylor to try to bring in an extra defensive back or two whenever possible.

When Baylor has the Ball
Baylor runs a version of the spread offense that is somewhat similar to Texas Tech. Baylor quarterback Aaron Karas is currently listed as questionable for this game. If he doesn't start, quarterback Greg Cicero will get the start. Receiver Reggie Newhouse is one of the top receivers in the Big 12. Newhouse has caught 49 passes this season for 15.8 yards a catch. The rushing duties are split between running backs Johnathon Golden and Rashad Armstrong. Golden leads the team with 8 touchdowns. He has 7 of those 8 touchdowns on the ground.

The Texas Tech defense is coming off one of it's best performances of the season. Look for defensive ends Aaron Hunt and Adell Duckett to apply pressure to the Baylor quarterback. The linebackers will get a test as they are forced into pass coverage by the Baylor spread attack. The defensive backs will play a key role this week as they defense the Baylor wide receivers. This will be the first opportunity for new safety Vincent Meeks to see significant playing time. Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has said that Meeks and Raymond Pierce will get equal playing time against Baylor.

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