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Backs against the Wall: Can the Red Raiders build on momentum this weekend?

In the first home game in over a month we have to ask ourselves: which Texas Tech team shows up Saturday?

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I called on my preacher

But there was no one was there

So I drank a pint of whiskey

And fell down the stairs

Ain’t it the same?

Ain’t it the same?

They cut my hair last winter

Ain’t it the same?

Since this is the first time I’m going to Lubbock since 2016, I’m throwing it back to Uncle Lucius’ 2009 hit “Aint It The Same”. This song was the first song they would play at The Blue Light on Friday and Saturday nights when I was at Tech. I truly hope this is still the case, because with its incredibly simple butcatchy lyrics paired and the slight tambourine in the background, it makes it an easy tune to get up to.

It’s here. It’s hate week. My personal nemesis, Gary Patterson, brings his too-tight belt, his shoes that can never stay tied, and his purple horned lizards to Lubbock. For those of you watching at home, a fun drinking game would be take a drink every time Gary P. ties his shoes. Take two drinks every time he yells at Sonny Cumbie for no apparent reason. Down your drink every time he wipes away sweat with that nasty towel and hands it to the trainer.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First Down - The Enemy:

Gary Patterson enters his 19th season as the head coach at TCU, which makes him the second-longest tenured head coach in college football. My thoughts on Gary are well documented, but I think what he has done at TCU gets grossly overlooked. Since the NCAA began tracking statistics in 1937, TCU trails only Alabama for the most times leading the nation in total defense.

NCAA Football: SMU at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In a conference known for their prolific offenses and scoring, TCU and Patterson have made themselves known for their defense. Often imitated but never replicated, Gary Patterson’svaunted 4-2-5 scheme makes some of the best offensive coordinators and quarterbacks in the nation pull their hair out.

An advantage of the 4-2-5 is that it splits the field in half twiceand simplifies the responsibilities of the defenders, which allows defense to easily account for motions in the offense. While the defense is faster to react in this scheme, it also leaves holes in the middle of the defense for decent running attacks and a short passing game.

Texas Tech in no way has a power running game they can lean on, especially if Sarodrick Thompson misses this game, so it’s going to be imperative that Matt Wells and David Yost come up with some RPO schemes and find ways to utilize both TE’sDonta Thompson and Travis Koontz in the passing game to attack the very middle of the defense.

Second Down - Key Players:

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

TCU’s offense is led by freshman Max Duggan at quarterback. It’s been a bit rough going for the former Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year with a 1-4 record, but that win is against Texas in Fort Worth, so he has that going for him. He is completing less than 60% of his passes for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt with 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions. It should be noted, he is dealing with an injury to his throwing hand he suffered against Oklahoma State, and his backup is a walk-on.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

While the TCU offense has two really good running backs in Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua the offense mainly revolves around All-Big 12 caliber wide receiver Jalen Reagor. Jalen is an incredible talent, and he has the ability to burn a defense deep consistently. Due to inconsistent quarterback play, Reagor hasn’t had that great of a season stat wise (462 yards on 33 catches with 14.0 average yards per reception), but Texas Tech ranks last in the FBS in pass plays allowed of 30 yards-plus, 40 yards-plus, 60 yards-plus and 70 yards-plus. If you want a chance to beat TCU, you have bring pressure on Duggan in order to limit the big plays.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively, you know what you’re getting with Gary Patterson. Another year, another great linebacker. Linebacker Garrett Wallow is having a fantastic season in Patterson’s system, with 94 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. While he is great at flying over the field making tackles, he isn’t the soundest linebacker in coverage. Cornerback Jeff Gladney is a NFL caliber talented corner and should be treated as such. It should be noted that TCU is also playing several freshman on defense, including four starters (Ochaun Mathis, Colt Ellison, Ar’Darius Washington and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson), and they are still ranked first in the Big 12 in overall defense. This is a really young TCU defense, and the fact they are as good as they are is a big hat tip to Gary Patterson and his defensive staff. You can say a lot of things about Gary P., but the dude has a tremendous ability to draw up a defense with a bunch of no-name guys and beat the best offenses in the country.

Third Down - By the Numbers:

• File this under “Things I Just Learned”: TCU and Texas Tech play for the Saddle Trophy, which was renewed in 2017. The Saddle Trophy sits on a stand and includes logos for both schools with the scores for 60-plus games of the rivalry on the stand. Get me this Saddle, Coach Wells.

• Jett Duffey hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 131 pass attempts, dating back to the 4th quarter of the Baylor loss.Duffey has clearly won over the trust of David Yost, and it’ll be fun to watch down the stretch.

Fourth Down - Prediction:

Both teams have a lot to play for with bowl eligibility on the line. It’s a rivalry game. This team knows their backs are against the wall. Despite the 11AM kickoff time, I really hope the fan base comes out and helps support this team in their fight for bowl eligibility, and to get a win over that cowardly, talk-trash-to-the-media-but-not-to-your-face, McDonald’s Grimace head coach.

Watch out for those “frozen” water bottles disguised as tortillas, Gary P.

TCU Horned Frogs, 17

Texas Tech Red Raiders, 28