Game Preview: Texas vs. Texas Tech

This week the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-4, 4-2) host the visiting Texas Longhorns (9-1, 5-1). Texas Tech is currently on a 2 game winning streak. Their latest victory was over Oklahoma State by a score of 49-24. Texas is coming off a 41-0 victory over Baylor last weekend. This game is not only important for these two teams. It will also have conference and national implications

Texas Tech Keys to Victory
Protect the BallTexas' defense does a great job capitalizing on mistakes. The Red Raiders cannot afford to turn the ball over on Saturday. If Texas Tech can protect the ball they will be in position to win this game.
Stop the Run – Texas prefers to run the football. If the Red Raiders can stop the Texas running backs from moving the chains, the Texas offense will be vulnerable.
Special Teams – After a game in which the special teams contributed to 14 of Oklahoma State's 24 points, the special teams need to step up. Mistake free football is what Texas Tech needs to win. A big return or two would be a nice bonus.

When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Texas Tech's senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has yet to beat the Longhorns in 3 tries, but he is confident coming into the game. Kingsbury is the nation's leader in passing yards with 3,982 this season. The Red Raider offense will spread the ball around to a variety of different players. Wes Welker leads the receivers with 66 catches for 827 yards. Receivers Anton Paige, who may not play on Saturday, and Nehemiah Glover lead the team with 7 touchdown receptions each. Another receiver to watch is Carlos Francis, who is averaging 10.9 yards per catch. Running back Taurean Henderson continues to be on of the most consistent players on the team. Henderson leads the team with 81 receptions. Henderson is also averaging 65.3 yards per carry, and has scored 6 rushing touchdowns this season.

Texas will follow the same strategy that they have used against the spread offense in recent seasons. That means 5 or 6 defensive backs for most of the day. The Texas defensive line will have the tough task of try to contain Taurean Henderson. The player to watch on the line is defensive end Cory Redding. The Texas linebackers are led my Sophomore Derrick Johnson. Johnson is one of the most athletic linebackers in the conference. The Red Raiders will have to make sure they know where he is. The secondary is the greatest strength of this Texas team. Led by the cornerbacks Nathan Vasher and Rod Babers, the Texas secondary has been tough to pass on all season. The Red Raiders will try to neutralize this unit by sending as many receivers as possible at them.

When Texas has the Ball
Quarterback Chris Simms runs Oklahoma State's offense. The Longhorns prefer to run, but they are capable of passing if they need to. The Texas passing offense features three talented receivers in Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson, and Sloan Thomas. All three of these receivers are capable of big plays. Williams leads the way with 16 yards per catch. The Texas ground game features the dual threat of Cedric Benson and Selvin Young. Benson has broken the 1,000 yard mark this season, and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

Texas Tech will probably run their typical base defense. Defensive end Aaron Hunt. The Big 12's career sack leader, is the leader of a defensive line that will be charged with stopping Cedric Benson. The linebackers will also have the primary responsibility of stopping the run, but don't be surprised if a linebacker or two drops into coverage from time to time. Linebacker John Saldi has been playing some outstanding football in recent weeks. Look for him to be used on the blitz in certain situations. Saldi does a great job getting into the offensive backfield, and wreaking Havok. The defensive backs must stop the Texas trio of receivers. Look for the Red Raiders to try and use a safety to double team Williams in certain situations. The defensive backs will also have to make clean tackles when the Longhorn receivers do catch the ball.

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