Texas Tech and Texas square off to open Big 12 play in Austin. This game should provide for an entertaining Big 12 football game. Texas Tech has a great opportunity for a statement win against the rival Texas Longhorns in week 4 of the college football season.
When Texas Tech Is On Offense
The passing attack had its breakout performance last week against FIU. Tyler Shough went over the 300-yard mark (399) with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. More importantly, the passing attack was spread out all over the field. There is no doubt that stand-out wide receiver Erik Ezukanma is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. However, 11 different players were involved in the passing attack against FIU. With the ball spread out like that, the defense has no idea where the ball will be going and can’t play as fast. When Texas Tech vs. Texas kicks off, it will be interesting to see how this passing attack fairs against a defensive unit that ranks 36th in the country allowing only 182.7 yards per game.
Untraditional Emerging Offensive Strength
The Texas defense, for as strong as they rank in passing defense, only ranks 75th in the country in total defense as they surrender an average of 371 yards per game. That is because they rank 104th in rushing yards allowed per game at 188.3 yards per game. The number certainly is slightly skewed with Arkansas rushing for 333 yards in one game, but even Rice was able to finish with 156 yards on the ground. Rice scored zero points and still averaged 4.9 yards per carry.
Texas Tech has a legitimate three-headed attack at the running back positions. This is the strongest the running back room has been to date in the 2021 season. SaRdorick Thompson was worked into game action last week. Thompson averaged 5.6 yards per carrying on 109 carries during the 2020 season. He was the projected starter coming into the season. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the first two games of the season, which provided Tahj Brooks an opportunity to break out that he has capitalized on. Xavier White has also capitalized on his additional touches this season. Brooks is averaging 8.1 yards per carry on 35 carries while White is averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 18 attempts. Keeping fresh legs in the backfield, that are all capable of a big play at any moment, could be a defining factor in this game.
When Texas Tech Is On Defense
Texas Tech vs. Texas provides a strength-on-strength match-up. The Texas Tech rushing defense against one of the best running backs in all of college football. Texas Tech is only allowing an average of 58.5 yards on the ground per game, which currently ranks 13th in the country. When it comes to yards allowed per rushing attempt, the Red Raiders only surrender 1.8 yards per attempt. That paltry number is good enough for the eighth-best in the country. Bijan Robinson is the driver of the Longhorn offense. Robinson is averaging just under 20 total touches a game. Robinson is averaging 130 yards of total offense a game.
Texas has yet to find stability at the quarterback position. Head Coach Steve Sarkisian surprised many by starting the season with Hudson Card in week 1. But after the uninspiring play in week 1, and horrible play in week 2, Sarkisian made the change to Casey Thompson during the Arkansas game and hasn’t turned back. Sarkisian made it clear that there will not be a two-quarterback attack this week against the Red Raiders.
I’d imagine that Casey will kind of lead the charge next week against Tech…and I don’t see any difference where Hudson (card) is probably going to get his opportunity to get in the game as well.
Texas Tech vs. Texas Prediction
The Red Raiders have demonstrated that when it is playing at its best on offense and defense, this is a fast team that can play with anyone in the conference. However, Texas Tech has also shown how disjointed the offense can be. It also has shown how “sleepy” the defense can appear early on in games. Texas has a decided talent advantage, with its last three recruiting classes ranking in the top 10 in the country.
But Texas has demonstrated, both past and present, that the talent hasn’t played to its potential at all times. Head Coach Matt Wells has the Red Raiders trending in the right direction. If last year’s game told us anything, this should be competitive from start to finish. A 4-0 start would instantly change the narrative of this season for Texas Tech. However, the rival Longhorns will do enough down the stretch to pull away with a victory.
Texas 38, Texas Tech 28