Houston will come to Lubbock looking for a little payback after the Red Raiders snapped their 16-game home win streak last September. The Cougars are now in their second season under Major Applewhite’s leadership and they are hoping he can bring them as much success as Tom Herman did.
The Cougars only return 10 starters this year, but one of them is standout defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Oliver is no doubt a force to be reckoned with, so the big guys up front will have their hands full.
Last season the Cougar offense took most of the season to figure out which quarterback was their best option. Three different quarterbacks got significant playing time, but it looks like Major Applewhite finally settled on D’Eriq King. King led the team to a 2-2 finish in their last 4 games after earning the starting job. King is a guy that can be a dual threat for the Cougars. Last season he appeared in 10 games and had 379 rushing yards and 8 rushing TDs. While the yardage won’t jump out at you, the rushing TDs are worrisome for the Red Raiders, especially inside the redzone. King has looked impressive so far this season, and David Gibbs will surely have his hands full.
The Cougars will be replacing their top two receivers from last season in Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner. Even with that production at wide receiver missing, don’t count out a Kendall Briles offense. U of H will be a high-powered offensive team this year with Briles calling plays. Plus, Houston now has former Baylor running back Terence Williams who ran for 1,048 yards in 2016 under Briles.
Did I mention Ed Oliver? This guy is the best defensive player Texas Tech will face all season. He’s sure to disrupt the pocket and stuff the run, but one of the most impressive things about Oliver is his tenacity. Oliver never gives up on play and it isn’t unheard of to see him run sideline to sideline to make a tackle.
In the secondary look out for Deontay Anderson. The safety is a transfer from Ole Miss and was rated the #1 safety in the class of 2016. He was a second team Freshman All-SEC and has recorded 11 tackles and 1 pass break up through 2 games this season.
I expect this game to feature a bit more offense than last season’s game. Texas Tech’s defense has a lot to prove and I don’t know if they can slow down D’Eriq King and company enough to pull this one out. Regardless, this will be a fun game to watch and hopefully Alan Bowman and the Red Raider offense can light up the scoreboard.