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Film room: Next opponent, please

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The performance against TCU wasn’t brilliant, so let’s focus on Texas

NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Horned Frogs smashed the Red Raiders on Saturday, as Texas Tech put on one of the worst offensive games in recent times. The last time the Lubbock team didn’t score a touchdown in an entire game was in 2006, as they lost 12-3 to, needless to say, TCU.

There wasn’t enough positive offensively to make a video room, and the part of the defense that shined, so the front six, was analyzed on many occasion during the year. Considering that on Friday there will be the crucial game of the season, the one that will decide if Texas Tech will become Bowl-eligible, this film room will be dedicated to giving the first look to the next opponents, the Longhorns.

After an injury occurred to West Virginia starting quarterback Will Grier (broken finger on the throwing hand), Texas easily won their last game, improved their record to 6-5 overall and 5-3 in Big 12, and became Bowl eligible for the first time in 2014.

The Longhorns run a pass-based offense, led by a combination of two quarterbacks, sophomore Shane Buechele and freshman Sam Ehlinger. They are two different quarterbacks, as the first is more a pocket passer, and the latter is a dual-threat player.

Sam Ehlinger
Shane Buechele

Ehlinger is also the best runner of the team in terms of rushing yards, as running backs Chris Warren III, Daniel Young, Toneil Carter, and Kyle Porter shared carries but none of them are over 314 yards. The Longhorns rushing offense is ranked 91st in the nation with 144.2 yards/game.

The best receiver is sophomore Collin Johnson, a 6-foot-6 player who’s very fast on the deep. He’s almost a copy of our T.J. Vasher, with some more pounds. He already has 695 receiving yards but only scored two touchdowns, as the main end zone threat is senior Armanti Foreman.

Collin Johnson

The running game will benefit from the return of left tackle Connor Williams, who came back against the Mountaineers after losing seven games for an injury. He’s expected by many experts to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and his comeback helped Texas to reach 233 rushing yards in Morgantown, their best result of the season excluding the 406 against San Jose State.

Talking about defense, it’s all about one player, Malik Jefferson. The junior linebacker is another prospect highly considered by NFL scouts, and he absolutely deserves this attention. He’s a fast, big, and hard-hitting player who in 2017 is recording incredible stats. Since now, he’s had 100 tackles, ten tackles for loss, four sacks, and four quarterback hurries.

Malik Jefferson

The Longhorns also have two different faces defensively, as they rank 8th in FBS for rushing yards allowed (109.6) and 104th for passing yards allowed (251.1). So, if Nic Shimonek and his receivers will rise again after the poor TCU outcome, they’ll find fertile ground to grow.

If Texas Tech is struggling with field goals, Texas cannot be much happier, as junior kicker Joshua Rowland is hitting only one-half of his tries, and he’s currently 7/14.

It’s undoubted the Red Raiders have a real chance to win in Austin, but there are some conditions that have to be satisfied. The offense has to rebound after TCU, the defense has to maintain the latest standard, and the play calling needs to be up to expectations, brilliant and brave.

Hope never dies.

This week, on Viva the Matadors:

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