Tuesday, Dec 29th
Opponent: Texas Tech
Conference: Big 12
Record 7-5 Overall, Conference 4-5
To know Texas Tech football, is to know in one game this year, the football team scored more points than its men’s basketball team in one of its games. The name of the game for Red Raider football is offense, and more offense. Tech averaged 46 points per game on offense, and gave up 42.6 per tilt on defense. The Red Raiders have scored at least 50 points in five of their games this season.
“We don’t use a playbook,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury once said about his team’s offensive strategy.
Kingsbury mentored former collegiate quarterbacks Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel, as a former quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, under Kevin Sumlin at Houston and Texas A&M.
Last summer, at a convention of Texas high school coaches, Arkansas head football coach Brett Bielema, not a big fan of Texas Tech’s spread offense, made these comments about Tech’s style of play before the upcoming fall meeting between the two teams:
“If you don’t throw to the fullback, we’ll kick you’re (expletive). If you throw the ball 70 times a game, we’ll kick your (expletive).”
The Red Raiders threw the ball only 31 times in the game, winning 35-24 at Arkansas.
Texas Tech is second in the land in passing offense, averaging 389.7 yards per contest through the air. They average 12.9 yards per pass reception. They are second in the country in scoring offense, averaging 46 per game.
The Red Raiders average 5.6 yards per rush and 8.3 yards per passing attempt. This may explain why they lead the country with a 52 percent third down conversion percentage. They either do not see many third downs, or do not have far to go when they do see third downs.
Kingsbury’s latest project at quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. The sophomore is in the top seven in the country in five different offensive categories. He is seventh in the country in passing touchdowns with 32, fourth in passing yards with 4,283, third in passing yards per tilt with 356.9, third in points responsible for with 254, and is fifth with 21.2 points responsible for per game. Mahomes is also the second leading rusher on the squad.
Texas Tech can also move the ball on the ground. Senior Deandre Washington rushed for 1455 yards for the season. He was the leading rusher in the league. Washington averaged 121 yards running per game and 6.5 yards per carry during the season. He scored 14 touchdowns.
The Red Raiders do not have a lot of receivers who are stat leaders, probably because the passing attack spreads the ball around. There are 12 receivers who average in double figures per catch.
Senior Jakeem Grant has 1,143 yards in receptions. He averaged 95 yards in receptions per game, and had seven touchdowns. He caught 80 passes during the season. Grant is also third in the nation in all-purpose yards. He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Reginald Davis averaged 13.9 yards per catch with seven touchdowns. Sophomore Ian Sadler averaged 14.1 yards per reception. Sophomore Justin Stockton averaged 15.1 yards per catch for 341 yards. Stockton also rushed for 364 yards.
The left side of the Red Raider offensive line has a large amount of experience. Senior left tackle Le’Raven Clark has made 49 consecutive starts. Senior center Jared Kaster has started 36 straight games. Senior left guard Alfredo Morales has made 17 starts in a row.
Defense is only a formality at Texas Tech. They are second to last in the Big 12 in total defense. Their run defense was at the bottom of the Big 12, allowing 271.8 yards per game, and 5.9 yards per rush.
Senior linebacker Micah Awe is the leading tackler for the Red Raiders. Awe had 109 total tackles, with 39 solos. Freshman linebacker Dakota Allen is the second leading tackler on the squad with 84 stops and 40 solos.
Scoring on Texas Tech is not a problem. The issue is stopping them from scoring. The best way to beat Tech appears to be limiting their offensive possessions, or, in other words, using ball control against them. Running the ball is the Purple and Gold’s strength. If there were a time when running the ball at least 45 times in a game would be useful for the Tigers, it would be in this year’s Texas Bowl.