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 :: Baylor Bears Edition.
Reason #1 :: Clicking Offense: It's tough to say that 1 game is a trend, but perhaps you can take a look at the last 3 games. Against Kansas, the Texas Tech offense rushed for 105 yards (usually an indicator of a win) and passed for 253. Against Oklahoma St. the offense sputtered, mostly in part because the rushing offense only managed 50 yards for the entire game. Last but not least, last week against Oklahoma, the offense simply busted out offensively as the rushing offense accounted for 161 yards and 388 through the air. I use these 3 games as a indicator of what worked (Kansas); what this team didn't do right (Oklahoma St.); and what worked to perfection (Oklahoma). We need to see more of what happened against Oklahoma this week.
Reason #2 :: Quarterback Stability: There's something to be said for the stability of the team when there's stability at quarterback. Leach mentioned the week before the Oklahoma game that he regretted the pulling of QB Taylor "Nick" Potts against Oklahoma St., and wanted to simply stick with a guy. Perhaps its that sort of confidence that Potts needed. Just a pat on the back and telling Potts that through thick or thin, he's the guy unless there's an injury. Potts has taken the right attitude and perhaps this is a sign of his maturity (I'd also like to add that I'm in the camp that a player should never have to deal with booing fans at his home stadium) and willingness to also be a team player:
"If I’m not starting," he said, "coach pulls me or whatever — It’s my responsibility to this team to stay focused and to stay with it and keep my head in the game and not just lose it."
Reason #3 :: Defensive Line Pressure: We're going to keep talking about the pressure that the defense brings until it stops becoming a factor. The Bears have a passing oriented offense and again there's no doubt that defensive ends Brandon Sharpe, Daniel Howard and Rajon Henley will need to have a big impact on Saturday's outcome. The Bears are 85th in the country in sacks allowed, at 2.45 per game. The Texas Tech defense is registering 3.27 sacks a game, sitting atop the Big 12 and when Texas Tech wins, the Red Raiders get to the quarterback 4.14 times and in losses, it's only 1.75 per game.
Reason #4 :: Renewed Running Game: I mentioned above that it's tough to call one game a trend, but I hope like heck it is. It's not just about RB Baron Batch, but I think it's also about consistency on the offensive line. The Baylor game will mark the 4th game that the current configuration of the offensive line will be playing together. There's something to be said for the offensive line having the opportunity to play together for these 4 games and develop a little chemistry. If there's a reason for the return of the running game, this is a pretty good place to start. The line-play certainly isn't perfect, but it's not a coincidence that the running game has looked better recently.
Reason #5 :: Harassing Secondary: I also do not think it's a coincidence that when S Will Ford and S Brett Dewhurst got healthy, so did the pass defense again. The TAMU game was not the pass defense's best performance, but since Ford's and Dewhurst's returns, the pass defense has improved fairly dramatically. Against TAMU, the pass defense had a passer-rating of 151.04, the worst of the season (and keep in mind that Sharpe was sick for most of this game) but against Kansas: 108.13; Oklahoma St.: 94.57; and Oklahoma: 109.20. That's the best 3-game stretch for any part of the season. There's talent in the defensive backfield, and it's finally healthy.