Texas Tech is back in action as the Red Raiders travel to Austin to play rival (yes, rival) Texas is what could possibly be their last Big 12 matchup.
Tech comes into this game sitting at 3-0 with a 54-21 win over FIU. Tech is looking for their first true road victory of the season. Tech has a neutral site victory over Houston, but hasn’t had a true road game yet.
As for the Longhorns, they come in with a 2-1 record and a very convincing win over Rice 58-0. Prior to that, Texas had a tough time on the road with Arkansas, losing that game 40-21.
Tech took some major steps forward in their recent game against FIU. The passing game was finally able to get going and spread the ball to more receivers not named Ezukanma. Sarodorick Thompson made his return and while there wasn’t a ton of highlights, he was able to punch in a score.
Tyler Shough was phenomenal in the win for Tech and really showed the potential everyone has been raving about. Shough went 26/35 with 399 yards and 4 touchdowns. In what was possibly a breakout game for the junior QB, Tech will be looking for more of that in the upcoming game against the Longhorns.
Texas decided to make a QB change prior to their last game against Rice. Casey Thompson made his first start of the season, and while his numbers weren’t insane, Thompson was very efficient with only 3 incompletions.
The QB problems are there, but what makes up for it is having possibly the best running back in the nation in Bijan Robinson. The sophomore running back is enjoying a breakout season, already having 6 total touchdowns and eclipsing his rushing touchdown total from last season.
Robinson right now is gaining 5.8 yards per carry and last game had 13 rushes for 127 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bijan is the show for the Longhorns and to beat them you’ll need to do that, which Arkansas was able to.
The biggest advantage Tech is going to have is their run game. In the Longhorns loss to Arkansas, the Razorbacks backfield of Trelon Smith and KJ Jefferson ran all over Texas. Rushing for a combined 47 times for 333 yards, the Razorbacks offensive line had their way with the Longhorns front 7. Tech has some of the better backs in the Big 12 and they need to exploit this weakness to have a shot on the road.
Last week Tech was able to see Travis Koontz and Kaylon Geiger step up for the Red Raider offense and show they have other weapons outside of Erik Ezukanma. Ezukanma is one of, if not the best wide receiver in the Big 12 but if there are no other weapons, Tech won’t be able to get him the ball. A solid run game and developing the play action will be huge for Techs offense against the Longhorns.
The offensive line still needs to be better in pass blocking situations, especially now that we’re in conference play. Shough has shown that when given time he can be make elite throws, so give him that time.
For Tech to win this game, shutting down Bijan Robinson early is key. The front 7, especially the defensive line, need to be getting in the backfield and plugging up holes for Tech to have a shot.
I do think the offense found some identity last week, and I expect them to improve even more this week. I think the defense stays solid and Tech is looking at a possible road win in Austin.
Final Score Prediction: Tech 34 – Texas 31