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Preview: Texas Tech v. UTEP

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The Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0, 0-0) v. The UTEP Miners(1-0, 0-0)
September 8, 2007 @ 6:00 p.m.
Television: None

The Numbers:

Statistic Texas Tech UTEP
Rushing Offense 80.00 114.00
Passing Offense 473.00 81.00
Total Offense 553.00 195.00
Scoring Offense 49.00 10.00
Rushing Defense 115.00 189.00
Passing Efficiency Defense Unavailable 102.40
Total Defense 270.00 379.00
Scoring Defense 9.00 6.00

The Players:

Statistical Leaders Texas Tech UTEP
Passing Graham Harrell: 44 Comp., 59 Att., 419 Yds., 4 TD, 0 Int. Trevor Vittatoe: 6 Comp., 21 Att., 58 Yds., 0 TD, 0 Int.
Rushing Shannon Woods: 10 Att., 45 Yds., 2 TD Terrell Jackson: 11 Att., 70 Yds., 1 TD
Receiving Danny Amendola: 10 Rec., 149 Yds., 1 TD Jeff Moturi: 3 Rec., 22 Yds., 0 TD
Tackles Joe Garcia: 6 Quintin Demps: 7
Sacks Three players tied with 1: Colby Whitlock, Chad Hill and Jake Ratliff None
Interceptions Two players tied with 1: Anthony Hines and Daniel Charbonnet None

WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL:

  • Texas Tech Passing Offense v. UTEP Passing Defense: New Mexico was fairly effective against the Miners passing the ball, the problem was that the Lobos couldn't make a field goal or put the ball in the endzone. Texas Tech should certainly be able to capitalize here as the Miners didn't show a propensity to stop the pass for the most part. Once again, it becomes vital that the offensive line protect Harrell and allow him to pick apart the Miners.

    As Red Raider fans have become knowledgable about the Air Raid offense, most of us are able to discern that getting the ball down the field creates more opportunities in the middle of the field. Considering the relatively weak competition, this game might be the perfect game to take some chances. Personally, it would be nice to get Ed Britton on track before conference play.

    The offensive line should be able to duplicate their performance from last week as they completely dominated SMU's line. Other than the few penalties, I thought these guys played outstanding.

    The Miners do have a talented free safety in Quintin Demps and he's certainly a guy that you should watch during the game. More than likely, he'll be playing on Sundays and this will be a pretty good judge of talent from both a receiver perspective and from a quarterback perspective. Let's see Harrell get through this game unscathed as well.

  • Texas Tech Rushing Offense v. UTEP Rushing Defense: UTEP gave up 189 yards rushing last week against New Mexico and once again, it would be just fine with me to see Shannon Woods and Kobey Lewis get a bigger chunk of the carries than against SMU. Let's not forget that the line did an admirable job as well, creating lanes and holes for both of these guys.

    UTEP also has a talented linebacker in Jeremy Jones, but other than Demps there's not much else. Jones is incredibly active so expect to see him in on a number of plays.

    Overall, the UTEP defense is certainly lacking and they were probably more lucky than not that New Mexico didn't score more against the Miners. Of course you may want to chalk some of the lack of scoring to the Lobo's inability to score and not so much to the supposed stout Miner defense.

WHEN UTEP HAS THE BALL:

  • UTEP Passing Offense v. Texas Tech Passing Defense: UTEP was putrid against the Lobos last week. Lorne Sam was supposed to be the quarterback to lead this team heading into the season, but looking at the stats last week, he was benched in favor of Vittatoe, who was equally as awful. Sam did get into the receiving act as he had 1 catch for 22 yards, but for the most part the Miners' passing offense was pathetic. That's not to say that things won't change this week, but I can't imagine that big of an improvement by Vittatoe.

    The receivers however, are talented. Lorne Sam is an incredible talent and Daniel Robinson isn't bad either. Also keep an eye on Fred Rouse who is ridiculously talented.

    The Red Raiders have a great opportunity to dominate this team. I thought that UTEP would struggle with the pass this year, but not quite like this. I thought Same would at the very least be serviceable, but he's not.

    Once again, an opportunity has presented itself to this secondary and defensive line to dominate an inferior opponent. It's time to take advantage of a team that could only manage 81 yards passing last week, and that includes taking advantage of their offensive line and receivers. Seeing how the cornerbacks match-up against Rouse and Sam should be a good battle to watch.

  • UTEP Rushing Offense v. Texas Tech Rushing Defense: Terrell Jackson, the Oregon transfer, actually was better than what they had last year, but perhaps after the passing attack struggled so much last week, the Miners will look to run the ball a little more. Not to mention, last year's leading rusher, Marcus Thomas, sat out last week for breaking an NCAA rule so there will be options.

    The Texas Tech defensive line needs to step up it's play because it has the opportunity to dominate this game. It will hopefully be a great opportunity for some young guys to get some playing time and become accustomed to playing Division I talent.

    I'd love to see Whitlock and Agoucha get a little more time this week. Not to mention, the starting linebackers need to step up their play because their reserves certainly did against SMU. At some point during the season, these guys are going to force Lyle's hand, like he did last year benching Tillman late in the season.

PREDICTION: Considering this is the home opener and the type of performance the Red Raiders had against SMU, I'm going to go ahead and demand another dominating performance this week. I expect Texas Tech to roll this week. Final score: 42-13.