Photo cc: Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE(Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE – US PRESSWIRE)
Football, it’s here. Red and Black gracing the Jones AT&T Stadium seems like forever ago. For the 2020 opener, Houston Baptist University comes into Lubbock as a forty point underdog following last week’s 57-31 loss vs UNT. Matt Wells knows Tech fans want to see what he’s been working on. Come Saturday, this is what you need to know and watch for.
Expect Houston Baptist to test the pass early under Offensive Coordinator Zach Kittley, a former Tech QB Assistant. Kittley’s QB is Bailey Zappe, who passed for 39/62, 480 yards, three touchdowns with zero interceptions vs UNT. While Zappe did show consistency last week, it was clear early on with HBU’s rushing woes that he would have to carry the offense. HBU’s rushing game accounted for only 89 yards on 24 carries and seemed to never be able to catch a break versus a very weak UNT defense. Eli Howard should put on a show early this Saturday – so expect sacks. As Howard gets double-teamed, look for the linemen to open up alongside a heavy rotation. The new LB corps of Schooler, Jeffers, and Merriweather need to show how they are jelling. Don’t look for HBU to test them with tight end-use. This will open up for more Tech linebacker bombardment, giving way for the best show to the night – Tech’s secondary vs HBU’s passing game.
With the HBU rushing attack looking down thus far, Zappe will get his attempts – so look for the secondary to be very busy. HBU spreads the ball around – eleven receivers had at least one reception, with four having 5+. Ben Ratzlaff comes in as Houston Baptist’s leading receiver with 108 yards. But it is Jerreth Sterns with 11 receptions for 93 yards who’ll need just as much attention. If HBU is going to score in this game, it’s going to be through the air. And with the matchups heavily favoring Tech’s DL and LB corp, the secondary has the most to gain. Look for Eric Monroe to come out strong, cementing why he’s the leader in the defensive backfield for 2020.
HBU’s defense ended the game vs UNT in a dismal spiral. Giving up 721 total yards of offense to gives indications that Tech may explode for 1,000+. Alan Bowman is healthy and has the opportunity to regain his once-massive-numbers with his first 500+ yard game in some time. Look for him to be pulled quickly into the third quarter to give McIvor and Columbi reps. Both backups are still competing for the second string.
HBU’s rushing defense gave up 361 yards and was dominated by UNT’s rushing by committee. Look for Tech to also follow UNT’s lead with SaRodorick Thompson, Xavier White, Alabama transfer Chadarius Townsend, and Taji Boyd to getting a fair share of touches, further honing the depth at RB. Don’t be surprised if every back gets significant reps in this game.
Raiders, I am going to be very honest – as is my nature. Anything less than full throttle from everyone on the field is a disappointment. Expect touchdowns and lots of them. Is this running up the score? Some might think so. With key transfers and a healthy Alan Bowman, it’s time to open it up and press the accelerator hard. Texas is next, and a half-hazard showing vs HBU would spell disaster as the Red Raiders open league play. Expect the Red Raiders to press the gas.
Raiders, I am going to be very honest – as is my nature. Anything less than full throttle from everyone on the field could be seen as a disappointment. Is this running up the score here? Some might think so. But with so many transfers on D and with Alan Bowman healthy, it’s time to open it up and press the accelerator – Texas is next as the Red Raiders open league play.