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How does Texas Tech beat TCU?

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The Red Raiders win if.......

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raider coaches, players and fans are chomping at the bit to exact revenge on the Horned Frogs after the 82-27 beating that took place in Ft. Worth last season. The game looked be an old-fashioned shootout for the first half-dozen possessions, but TCU flexed their muscle (and used stolen signs..cough....cough)  in the middle of the second quarter and the game was out of hand four minutes after halftime. Personally, this is more of revenge game than any other  for only one reason...82 points. When other teams complained about Leach running up the score, I always said "You have a defense, it's your job to stop us." I stand by that, so how they got to 82 doesn't matter, stopping them from scoring was our job not theirs. Having said all that, I want some revenge. Knocking them off their pedestal whether by one point or sixty points would be sweet. The bitterness from the 2014 butt kicking may never fully be gone, but I would feel much better about that loss if we get a win Saturday. The question is, what is it going to take for the Red Raiders to get the win?

Offensively the teams are similar:

  • After watching some of TCU and looking their box scores, the thing that stands out most to me in regards to their offense is their big play ability which is very similar to Tech.
  • Of their 22 offensive scoring drives this season, 12 of them have taken five plays or less, an average of 46%. Tech has scored on 23 offensive drives this season and 9 of those have taken 5 plays or less, an average of 39%.
  • TCU averages 7.51 yards per play offensively while Tech averages 8.12.
  • Both QBs have been intercepted three times.
  • Tech averages 54 points per game, while TCU averages 50.
  • Tech averages 590 yards per game, while TCU averages 598.
  • Tech and TCU are both in the top 10 nationally in third down conversions at 56.8% and 54.8% respectively.

Defensively the teams are not similar:

  • Defensively TCU opponents are averaging 4.84 yards per play, while Tech opponents are averaging 6.17 yards per play.
  • TCU's 3rd down defense is very good holding opponents to a converion rate of 23.9%. Tech's opponents convert 3rd downs at a 50% rate.
  • TCU's defense gives up 338 yards per game versus Tech's 491 yards per game.
  • TCU averages 7 tackles for loss per game, while Tech averages 5 per game.
  • The area defensively where Tech excels more than TCU is turnovers. Tech has 8 takeaways on the season. TCU has 5 takeaways.

Also worth noting is their schedules are similar up to this point in the season. Each has played an FCS opponent, Power 5 opponent on the road and non-Power 5 FBS opponent.

I think the key to the game for Tech is limiting the big play. Even looking at last year's game, TCU used big plays to beat Tech. Of their 13 scoring drives, 8 of the drives took less than 5 plays. TCU averaged 9.1 yards per play. Minnesota held TCU to 5.2 yards per play when they met in week one of the season. Our defensive philosophy isn't built to limit yards per play, but to force opponents into mistakes. However if Tech can't stop the big play I don't see how they win even if they turn TCU over a few times.

The Red Raiders win if the defense holds TCU to 6.0 yards per play.

To revisit last week's article, I said if we hold Arkansas to less than 5.0 yards per rush we would win. We held them to 4.4 yards per carry until the final two drives when we were basically in prevent defense and Alex Collins ripped off a few long runs. I am counting that as a win.