This weekly feature considers five reasons why Texas Tech will win and five reasons Texas Tech will lose to each opponent. Related: Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Lose :: New Mexico Lobos Edition.
Reason #1 :: The Proverbial Chip on Shoulder: Jeez, what a week and although I'm not anyone connected with anyone, I'm thinking that this team just might be a little ticked. You guys mentioned it yesterday and I think we all get the feeling that if the team doesn't come out and simply dominate, then if you thought last week was fun on DTN . . . just wait. With that being said, I don't think that happens and I think the Red Raiders will have somewhat of an attitude on Saturday afternoon. And I think we'll know a lot about our Red Raiders and whether or not they have the stomach for the fight.
Reason #2 :: Dominate Statistically: I'll just lump each and every one of the statistical categories into this one reason, rather than spread them out over a few reasons. Long story short, the Lobos are struggling mightily and although the Red Raiders aren't necessarily world-beaters in almost every statistical category. Perhaps the biggest statistical categories that might be germane to handling the Lobos is quite simply the total offense of Texas Tech which is 13th in the nation vs. the New Mexico defense which is 107th in nation. I just don't see how New Mexico scores enough points to keep pace.
Reason #3 :: Find Batch Early, Often and Late: One of the best stories that came out of last week's loss to Houston was the fact that the running game got back on track. Perhaps the biggest part of that was that Terry McDaniel got the start at left tackle, Chris Olson moved to guard, who looked really good pulling and making blocks down the field. I thought the other advantage that the running game had was that Leach reunited RG Brandon Carter and RT Marlon Winn that looked really good. Unfortunately, the Carter-Winn reunion will take a one week hiatus, but the key will be for Texas Tech to continue what they started. And I don't just mean running the ball early, like last week, but the team needs to continue to run the ball all game long. I'm very excited about seeing round 2 of Baron Batch, Eric Stephens and Harrison Jeffers.
Reason #4 :: Maturation of the Run Defense: It's strange to think that this time last year, the Red Raiders were 32nd in the nation in rush defense, after playing Eastern Washington, Nevada, SMU and Massachusetts. This year, this defenseis 29th in the nation in rush defense after playing two highly explosive offensive teams and there's a lot of credit that should go to the play of MLB Brian Duncan, SLB Bront Bird and WLB Marlon Williams. I think that for a game like Saturday's, where New Mexico has a large back in James Wright, I think you'll see the tremendous value of having a guy like Bird be able to stop the run. New Mexico has struggled to really so much as complete a pass and I could see Ruffin McNeill selling out to stop the run this week.
Reason #5 :: Pushing the Long Ball: I think Taylor Potts is statistically doing just fine in his 4th game of his young career. Potts is currently sitting around 7.56 yards per attempt, which is plenty good, especially for playing 2 top 20 teams, but on Saturday, I'd love to see Potts air it out a bit down the field. Of course, the first part of this is that the Red Raiders will need to give Potts plenty of time in the pocket, which shouldn't be a huge issue, but I'd love to see guys like Lyle Leong, Tramain Swindall and Edward Britton get deep on the New Mexico secondary. These guys are due for huge days.