With the end of the season approaching too fast, Texas Tech is still looking for its sixth victory of the season. At this point, it would be the most important one as it would the win giving the Red Raiders a Bowl berth.
To be honest, Texas isn’t in its best shape too, as it comes from two Ls against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. These games also affected its chances to play the Championship game: at this moment the Longhorns don’t decide their destiny, a privilege currently reserved to Mountaineers and Sooners.
These two teams meet for the 67th time, and it’s a rivalry that’s particularly heartfelt by Texas Tech fans, despite it rarely offered reasons to celebrate. Indeed, Texas firmly holds the series lead, 49 wins to 17.
The first game was played in 1934 (Texas won 12-6), while the first Red Raiders’ victory came in 1955 (20-14), after six straight losses. The two schools play each other every year since 1960. In this year Texas Tech entered SWC, in which Texas was since 1915, and both teams migrated to Big 12 in 1996.
As we all remember, Texas Tech took the victory in 2017 after an outstanding comeback in the fourth quarter, recovering from a 10-point deficit to win 27-23. In the rivalry history, the Red Raiders have obtained two straight victories only four times, with the last back-to-back dating back to 1997 and 1998.
In this season Texas averages 32.3 points per game, improving its 2017 numbers by 2.8 points. The same happened to the yards per game, that went from 398.5 to 422.1. There are many reasons to explain this growth, and the first one is quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
The sophomore from Austin improved his completion rate from 57% to 62% and is showing a particular propensity not to commit turnovers, as he threw only two interceptions with 16 TDs. His main targets are juniors Lil’Jordan Humprey and Collin Johnson. The latter is a big receiver who’s also one of the best prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft, with high possibilities to hear his name called in the first two rounds.
In addition, Ehlinger is a capable runner (329 yards and 9 TDs), but if in 2017 with nearly the same stats he led the team in running yards, now he’s preceded by freshman Keaontay Ingram and senior Tre Watson.
On the other side of the ball, Texas saw its numbers get worse, conceding 26.8 points per game instead of 2017’s 21.2. In four of their nine games, the Longhorns allowed at least 34 points.
The star of this defense is senior cornerback Kris Boyd, named second-team All-Big 12 in 2017. He was a well-respected prospect for the upcoming draft, but recently his stocks are a bit of a loose, and there’s a lot of discrepancy about the round in which he will be selected.
This won’t be a simple game for Texas Tech if someone still had doubts about it. It wouldn’t have been if the Red Raiders were in full strength, and it’s even worse without Alan Bowman and with Dakota Allen dealing with every kind of injury.
But there’s no easy game to play anymore. So if Texas Tech wants to have a Bowl bid, it has to win a game. So, let’s make it happen as soon as possible.