It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. This Saturday, Texas Tech will return to the field to take on Houston in the Texas Kickoff. While technically a neutral site matchup at NRG Stadium, the game is in Houston, giving the Cougars home-field advantage.
In what’s certainly a make-or-break season for head coach Matt Wells, here’s why he and the Red Raiders will start the season 1-0.
Reason #1: Tyler Shough
Red Raider Nation, welcome to the Tyler Shough experience.
Shough is a quarterback with all the qualities of a first-round pick. He struggled with inconsistencies last year at Oregon, however, an offense like Texas Tech’s can cater to Shough’s ability. He’s a true pocket passer with good running ability and he has an NFL-caliber arm.
There’s much hype around the junior, and if he can execute, he can do some real damage in his Texas Tech debut.
Reason #2: RB Core with experienced OL
Texas Tech’s running back depth is the deepest it’s been in a while. SaRodorick Thompson returns to start (and is hopefully 100% healthy) while Xavier White and Tahj Brooks share co-RB2 status on the depth chart. The three combined for 1,306 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns last season. All three have talent and should see their fair share of reps on Saturday.
On top of that, the offensive line blocking for them is very experienced. Most of the starters return, including three seniors. That, plus the talent at running back, should give the Red Raiders at least an adequate run game against Houston.
Reason #3: Schooler-Merriweather LB duo
Texas Tech returns two key defensive starters in Colin Schooler and Krishon Merriweather. The pair were the team’s two leading tacklers last season and are some of the better linebackers in the conference. It’ll also be interesting to see how Riko Jeffers is used. Currently, he’s listed as a “Mike” or middle linebacker behind Merriweather, which is a different role than what he’s used to. Add Jacob Morgenstern to the fold and it makes linebacker the deepest position group on the team. The trio of Schooler, Merriweather, and Jeffers should cause problems for a turnover-prone quarterback like Clayton Tune.
Reason #4: Past success against the Cougars
We shouldn’t live in the past, but the Red Raiders have had Houston’s number for a while. Despite their series lead over Tech, the Cougars have lost eight of their past nine against the Red Raiders dating back to 1991. Houston also hasn’t beaten Texas Tech since they squeaked out a 29-28 win at home in 2009. Recent history dictates the Red Raiders should win, so it should be the same this Saturday right?