Result: Texas Tech 30 at UTEP 26
UTEP 2014 Record: 7-6
Where: Lubbock, TX
UTEP Key Returners: #29 RB Aaron Jones (1,321 yards, 11 TDs), #43 DE Roy Robertson-Harris (34 tackles, 3.5 Sacks)
Key Matchup: Texas Tech's new defensive look against UTEP's solid run game
Last year Texas Tech rolled into El Paso and nearly left with a lost to the Miners. This year UTEP comes to Lubbock for the second game of the year. Many may expect to see Tech vs SHSU at #10, but I believe the Sam Houston State game is more important than this game because it is the first game of the year and might provide us with a good preview of the season to come. Texas Tech is 15-6-1 all-time against UTEP and hasn't lost to the Miners since 1957. Tech stumbled in 2006 winning in OT 38-35 and then struggled again last year only winning by 4. Texas Tech faced a heavy dose of UTEP's run game last year. Aaron Jones ran for 144 yards on 23 carries for 2 TDs and UTEP as a whole rushed for 268 yards. This game opened our eyes of things to come when it came to how our run defense was going to look for the year. This year Aaron Jones returns for the Miners and looks to keep his momentum going after a very solid 2014 campaign. This game will provide David Gibbs' new-look defense with it's first real test against the run. Roy Robertson-Harris will be the anchor on the defensive line for UTEP and looks to have a lasting impact this year as he caps off his college career. Hopefully Tech's stellar offensive line can keep Robertson-Harris and the rest of UTEP's defense at bay. Tech didn't surrender a sack last year to UTEP. I think Texas Tech's offense will be up to par this game and can score in the 30s-40s. The main question in this game will be our defense versus their run game.
Why I worry
Last year UTEP pretty much ran all over us and it took a late stop by Texas Tech's defense to closeout the win. UTEP returns its leading rusher which could spell trouble for Texas Tech's new defensive scheme.
Why I don't worry
Even though UTEP relies on a solid run game, someone does have to play quarterback. UTEP will be looking to replace recent graduate, Jameill Showers, who started two years for the Miners. Texas Tech should be able to quiet the Miners' passing game and focus on UTEP's rushing attack.