Reason #1: Third Downs
I mentioned third downs yesterday in the introductory post, but I think it bears repeating here, that Baylor has struggled mightily on third downs, converting only 34.85% of their third downs. As you would imagine, Baylor is much better when they do convert third downs, converted 56.25% against Texas A&M, but converted 9.09% against Texas. I'm pretty sure that I don't have to tell you how those two scores worked out for both teams. The same goes for the defense, the Bears only allowed 22.22% of the Aggies' third down conversions, while Texas converted at a 50.00% rate. In fact Texas, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas all converted at 50% or above and the Baylor defense magically became better against TAMU. Texas Tech on the other hand is converting 53.19% of their third downs, the season low obviously being last week, where Texas Tech converted only 7.69%. Other than OU, Texas Tech only feel below the 50% rate against Massachusetts and Eastern Washington. In other words, they've been pretty consistent. Meanwhile, on defense, Texas Tech has also been better than okay at stopping third downs at 35.77%, good for 4th in the league.
Reason #2: Struggling Baylor Pass Defense
The Bears are 98th in the nation in stopping the pass and despite what we all saw last week, Texas Tech has been pretty good throwing the ball around a bit. The key here is that Baylor is pretty good at creating turnovers (more on that tomorrow), but are awful at getting any pressure on the quarterback, 85th in the nation, and 109th in the country in tackles for a loss. There's almost no pressure coming from the Baylor defensive line and that could spell some serious trouble for Baylor as Graham Harrell looks to get back at doing what he does best, which is spread the ball around and get it down the field to his receivers (see below). You can expect a heavy dose of Baylor trying to throw Harrell and his receivers off of their routes, but knowing Harrell and Leach, they'll make sure that the team is ready for whatever Baylor throws their way.
Reason #3: Finding Rhythm Again
You could sort of see it during the first series, that there appeared to be very little rhythm to the Texas Tech offense. Typically, there's a definite flow to the offense and it was noticably absent on Saturday. So how does Harrell and the offense gain that rhythm back? Harrell has got to go deep, whether that be over the middle or along the sidelines, but if one's covered then the other is open. I'd also love to see Leach get back to the screen game, despite the fact that it was sniffed out so well by OU last week. The screen is still effective. I think Leach needs to get a little more creative this last game. I know, there's a lot riding on this game so there's some real incentive to play it close to the vest . . . not to lose. I say forget that and let's let Crabtree run more than 1 play, maybe 10, from the Wilcat formation?
Reason #4: Much Motivation
Style points. That's right, Texas Tech can't control what any other team does, but Texas Tech does control what they do, and if I'm Leach, I'm trying to figure out how to complete dominate Baylor, and not just by a little, but by a lot. At this point in the season, if everyone else is going to politic about where they believe they should be ranked, I'm going to at the very least politic that Texas Tech should wipe the floor with Baylor and then pray to the diety of your choice that UT and OU both lose. You never thought you'd cheer for TAMU, but you get a pass this week.
Reason #5: Thank You To The Seniors
Marcus Bunton ** Daniel Charbonnet ** Cory Fowler ** Lance Fuller ** J.J. Griffin ** Graham Harrell ** Anthony Hines ** Jake Johnson ** Darcel McBath ** Eric Morris ** Jake Ratliff ** L.A. Reed ** Rylan Reed ** Jordy Rowland ** Louis Vasquez ** Shannon Woods
Check back tomorrow for "5 Reasons Why Texas Tech Will Lose: Baylor Edition".