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What's The Difference?

I mentioned yesterday morning that this should be dubbed the "Stage Is Set" Week. We have all of the ingredients to make this an incredibly memorable Saturday afternoon: in-state opponent, said opponent is ranked, and matchup is on the road. Winning this game silences potentially quite a few critics and "solves" quite a few problems that detractors from Coach Leach have (i.e. he can't beat the big boys).

I have tried to write and re-write this post 7 or 8 times without really being able to convey the the idea that this is a game that could change some opinions and change some thoughts on the state of the program. Of course, you always hate to think of a game to be more than just a game, but that's exactly what this is. It's an opportunity. It's an opportunity to show the rest of the Big 12 that Texas Tech is not just a fun team that's an afterthought.

It's not just me though, without digging too deep into how's and why's, UT and Texas Tech have had similar success against common opponents. Blowouts by both teams included Rice, Iowa State and Baylor. While close games included Oklahoma State, where Texas was able to manage the win while Texas Tech got the loss. Texas has their bad loss to Kansas State (at home) and one expected loss to Oklahoma, while Texas Tech has it's bad loss to Colorado (at home) and an expected loss to Missouri. There's a lot of similarity between these two teams and despite most Texas Tech fans who think that this season that hasn't turned out quite like they would like, I don't think there's much separation between these two teams other than a win and a loss in Stillwater. If Texas loses on Saturday then we're talking about almost two identical teams in terms of on-the-field-results.

I usually reserve this graphic for the preview, but what the hell.

Big 12 Rank Texas Tech Statistic Texas Big 12 Rank
12 67.40 Rushing Offense 198.70 4
1 481.22 Passing Offense 264.90 7
1 549.50 Total Offense 463.60 5
3 42.40 Scoring Offense 34.30 7
10 166.30 Rushing Defense 101.10 3
1 178.30 Pass Defense 247.80 8
2 162.54 Passing Efficiency Defense 134.85 7
3 344.60 Total Defense 348.90 5
5 22.30 Scoring Defense 21.40 3

What's the real difference here? Running the ball and stopping the run. Other than that, Texas has good to fair statistics, but there's nothing there to write home about, right?

Texas is susceptible to giving up quite a few passing yards, but their rush defense is quite good, which has been a bad omen for Texas Tech. Texas runs the ball well, but McCoy hasn't been as good this year passing the ball. I want you to mull over those stats for a day or two and let's talk about what Texas Tech needs to do on both sides of the ball (hint: stop the run and run the ball).