Reason #1: Another Outstanding Big 12 QB, Colt McCoy
I'm really tired of talking about how great each team in the Big 12 have it in terms of quarterbacking (excluding Colorado of course . . . sorry Dan). It's getting a little ridiculous, but in this case, we may be talking about the best player in the country. Thus far, no team has found an answer to stop McCoy. I've only watched McCoy on a limited basis, but the thing that jumps out at me is what we've been saying at Texas Tech for a long time. McCoy is winning without the best talent at running back or receiver (Shipley and Cosby are no slouches, but I think Texas has had much more talented receivers), and perhaps McCoy's greatest attribute is his patience and his ability to strike if opportunity knocks. If you haven't looked, McCoy is averaging 9.4 yards for every passing attempt, and as better than Harrell's 8.5 yards per passing attempt. That's just outstanding and one of the indicators that McCoy is having a great season. I haven't even mentioned the fact that McCoy is a quarterback who doesn't mind tucking the ball and running, although he's been less successful as of late, that doesn't mean that he can't have a big night on Saturday.
Reason #2: Can Pressure the QB
Nothing would make me happier on Saturday than to go an entire game with Harrell Texas not laying a finger on Harrell, but that ain't going to happen. Texas is ranked 2nd in the nation in sacks per game with 3.63 and Brian Okakpo already has with 8.5 sacks and 12 TFL's. And I haven't forgotten about Roy Miller (27 tackles; 4 TFL), Henry Melton (15 tackles; 3.5 sacks; 4 TFL) and Lamarr Houston (18 tackles; 1 sack; 5.5 TFL) who have done an outstanding job at stuffing the run and making plays. The thing that bothers me the most about Orakpu is his speed and I think Rylan Reed is recovered from his ankle injury last year, I'm not sold that he's 100%, or he has the full flexability to block rushers like Orakpo, who have a good combination of size and speed.
Reason #3: Shipley and Cosby Are To Be Respected
I really didn't think that Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby (who coincidentally I met right after he signed his baseball contract -- good guy) had this in them. I never thought they they were 1A and 1B receivers, but they sure as hell are. Shipley and Cosby have combined for 54% of UT's passes thus far and are far and away the two most dangerous receiving threats for Texas. Both are averaging over 12 yards a reception, which means that they aren't just catching short passes, they are getting vertical, which has been one of Texas Tech's problems, allowing receivers to split the safeties and get behind them. We saw this last week against Kansas, and since I think Shipley and Cosby are more talented that Briscoe and Meier, this could be a dangerous combination for the Longhorns.
Reason #4: If It's Close
Rather than talk about the struggles that Texas Tech has had in the kicking game (we've done that quite a bit here at DTN) I thought that if this game gets close, then Texas has the decided edge in field goal kickers. Hunter Lawrence has made 43 of 43 of his extra points and connected on all 7 of his field goals. Of course Lawrence hasn't been needed against Missouri and Oklahoma State, but was 3 for 3 against Oklahoma. The only slight caveat is that this is Lawrences first year kicking field goals and perhaps a hostile crowd intimidates him a bit. If this game gets down to a field goal, I'd feel much better (no, I'd feel much, much, much better) with Lawrence kicking field goals over anything Texas Tech has had to run out to date.
Reason #5: Linebackers That Can Fill Gaps
Last week against Kansas on one of the goal line dives by Shannon Woods, he was absolutely blasted by a linebacker coming in and filling the gap left by a couple of Texas Tech offensive linemen. This is one of Texas Tech's biggest problem on offense which is the ability of the Texas linebackers to fill those gaps quickly and snuff out the vaunted Texas Tech running game. Not to mention, Sergio Kindle (30 tackles; 6 sacks; 7 TFL) is a playmaker and that bothers me to no end.